MSNBC host Chris Matthews questioned Monday why ISIS is not grateful to the United States instead of threatening this country, noting “we did their work for them” by removing secular dictators like Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.
Matthews spoke with NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” about the possible expansion of U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic terror group. After last week’s beheading of American journalist James Foley and threats against the U.S. homeland, politicians on both sides of the aisle have called for air attacks in Syria as well as Iraq.
“What did we do against ISIS except allow them to exist by breaking up the Iraqi government under George W. Bush?” Matthews asked. “We created their opportunity. How are we their enemy? I don’t get it. What did we do to them, to ISIS?”
Mohyledin tried to explain the broader regional context, noting the long-standing support of many secular Arab governments by the United States. But he was quickly cut off.
“Wait a minute, we helped knock off Gaddafi, we took a pretty strong stand against Syria, we knocked off Saddam Hussein,” Matthews interjected. “We knocked off all the secular leaders. Why aren’t the Islamists happy with us?”
“Factually, we did their work for them,” the MSNBC host asserted. “We pulled the rug out from under all these people who were secularists so that these Islamists could grab those countries. What’s the knock, what’s the knock on us?”
Mohyledin said Matthews was only looking at it from a short perspective. “Keep in mind ISIS’ grievances don’t just start with the formation of the group. They go back decades,” he asserted. “Not like they have legitimate grievances, these guys are extreme, draconian, very brutal in their tactics.”