The Onion Predicted The Rise Of The Islamic State In 2003

The satirical news site warned the Iraq War would fuel "a million bin Ladens."
The Onion warned that the Iraq War, launched by President George W. Bush, would "fan the flames of hatred even higher."
The Onion warned that the Iraq War, launched by President George W. Bush, would "fan the flames of hatred even higher."

WASHINGTON -- In March 2003, soon after the U.S. invaded Iraq, a news outlet predicted the war would be a colossal disaster that would ultimately destabilize the Middle East and fuel the rise of anti-Western forces willing to die for a fundamentalist cause.

That outlet was The Onion. And the satirical news site nailed it.

In a point-counterpoint op-ed titled "This War Will Destabilize The Entire Mideast Region And Set Off A Global Shockwave Of Anti-Americanism vs. No It Won't," the fictional Nathan Eckert eerily described a world in which newly radicalized militants fueled by hate, much like the Islamic State, rise up after the war and obtain weapons of mass destruction to try to drive out Western influence.

"If you thought Osama bin Laden was bad, just wait until the countless children who become orphaned by U.S. bombs in the coming weeks are all grown up. Do you think they will forget what country dropped the bombs that killed their parents?" said Eckert. "In 10 or 15 years, we will look back fondly on the days when there were only a few thousand Middle Easterners dedicated to destroying the U.S. and willing to die for the fundamentalist cause."

He added, "From this war, a million bin Ladens will bloom."

The counterpoint, from another made-up guy named Bob Sheffer, wasn't as compelling.

"No it won't," he said.

"Trust me, it's all going to work out perfect. Nothing bad is going to happen. It's all under control," Sheffer explained. "Why do you keep saying these things? I can tell when there's trouble looming, and I really don't sense that right now. We're in control of this situation, and we know what we're doing. So stop being so pessimistic."

Satire aside, it wasn't impossible to see that the Iraq war risked an Islamic State-level expansion of militants. The Huffington Post reported in May on how President George W. Bush's mismanagement of Iraq encouraged thousands of skilled Iraqis to take their expertise to the anti-American insurgency that eventually became the Islamic State.

Read the full Onion article here.

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