Here's a thread dedicated to discussing the rise of ISIS to international prominence. Primarily the events of 2014, though I'm not against discussing everything from their formation to their recent terror attacks.
I already know I've lived through history because of the whole atmosphere that existed back in 2014, particularly mid-year.
I especially remember Michael Moore's post on the matter, which Will posted.
Michael Moore may have been saying this, but so was Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. That sense of disillusionment and shock at our own failures was something we haven't felt since Tet in '68. I'm only half glad I lived through it. The closer ISIS got to Baghdad, the worse we felt. ISIS began looking like an actual state, on top of posting victory after victory. Everything was going right for them, for a time.
We felt like we shouldn't have gone in and toppled Saddam Hussein so joyfully a decade prior. Basically, American imperialism got shit in its face for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
That disillusionment didn't last long, however. ISIS then had to behead James Foley.
That was the first big one. That's what riled up some anger, in a blatant attempt to get Americans to accept a new war in Iraq. And it failed. Yes, we were pissed as fuck and wanted ISIS to die in a nuclear hellfire, but we rathered someone else, such as Russia, do the dirty work (irony considering current events). Iraq blew up on us (no pun intended), so we just said "Fuck it!" and backed away. We could have run ISIS through, but we lacked the will. We don't want another costly war.
Though it helped that they had a neat, simple name: "ISIS".