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The Daily Showdown

Jon Stewart explains ISIS with a brief history of U.S. guns in the Middle East

On Monday's Daily Show, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he didn't think the U.S. deserved blame for creating ISIS and politely dismissed Jon Stewart's theory that the battle against Islamic State is a convoluted rematch of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. But this is Jon Stewart's show, so on Tuesday, he elaborated on that theory.

Stewart started out by playing clips of various Republicans accusing President Obama of creating ISIS by pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, which, he noted, was set in motion by George W. Bush. That wasn't Stewart's only problem with the Obama-did-it charge, but he didn't stop with tracing ISIS's roots to Bush's 2003 invasion. Using the GOP's proposed solution to ISIS — arming some faction — Stewart took a look back at America's poor track record in the region. "America is like Wile E. Coyote," he said: "Every time we send a weapon into the desert, it ends up exactly where we don't want it to end up."

The short version of Stewart's history lesson is that the U.S. armed Iraq's Baathists against Iran in the '80s, fought Iraq's Baathists in the '90s and '00s, and are now essentially allied with Iran against those same Iraqis, now rebranded as ISIS. Stewart's version is more entertaining and detailed. You can watch below. Peter Weber