Did I say that I thought I was a hero? I feel terrible about participating in the occupation of another country. The United States never should have invaded Iraq. It was a huge mistake on every level. I speak out against what I’ll generally refer to as American foreign policy all the time and I’m very frank about the things I regret about my time in the military.
And yes Isis was in existence in 2005. If my memory serves me and I believe it does Isis was actually formed in 1999 in Jordan by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (not sure if that spelling is correct I copied and paste did that from Wikipedia) Maybe by a different name but it was still a movement that existed.
Just as an FYI most of the Iraqis that were killed in my units area of operation while I was there were killed by “insurgent” suicide bombers, IED’s meant for American and Iraqi soldiers and in religiously motivated killings. My unit killed very few people and only ever armed combatants actively engaging in combat with us, never used indirect fire or air support and only used heavy weapons in circumstances where they were necessary and appropriate. In fact the local population generally us were incredibly eager to give us information about the militants they desperately wanted out of their neighborhood.
Attacking people without a better understanding of them is a really good way to turn potential allies into enemies.