Monday, February 16, 2015

End of times

When Ace of Spades tells me to read "the most important article published in the American media in 10 years" I tend to listen, even if that statement is a little hyperbolic.

The article at hand is very long, titled "What ISIS really wants" in the Atlantic.  The TL;DR version is this: ISIS is an apocalyptic cult and they are beyond reason.
That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model.
Every time I read about mass movements like this, I'm always reminded of "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer.  A salient quote:
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.
Last night on "60 Minutes" was a textbook model of the "true believer."  It followed the brothers in the Charlie Hebdo attack:
As a teenager, Cherif was more interested in rap than religion. This video, shot by his friends, documents that period in his life when was he smoking pot and chasing girls. He worked as a pizza delivery boy, but his life changed in 2003 when he became radicalized by a group of young Muslims in this Paris neighborhood. They were angry about the American invasion of Iraq and set up a recruitment ring to send young French Muslims to fight jihad against U.S. forces.
There you go: he went from an everyday kid, smoking weed and delivering pizza.  Then, as Eric Hoffer might say, he was introduced to the devil he could believe in and give his empty life some meaning.  It was a piece of cake to nurse that grievance straight into fanaticism.


Old Soldier said...

As it has always been. Read the Koran and some of the Haddiths (kind of the Acts of Mohammed) when I was in the Gulf. They are nothing more than a recipe for religious fascism - with some how-to examples from the Prophet himself.

Europe was invaded repeatedly by their predecessors. In western Europe they made it to the outskirts of Paris in 723 and it took over 700 years to push them out.

In the East they made it as far as the Gates of Vienna twice and as far north as Poland. Sicily, Greece, the Balkans, and Crete was conquered at different points by Muslim armies during the long wars in the Mediterranean. They weren't beaten back to present day Turkey until the 18th century.

For some reason the Europeans think it's over. I don't know why.

#JobsForJihadis said...

He worked as a pizza delivery boy

But wait...I thought jobs were the answer!

Crazy Bread said...

When the pizza boy rang the doorbell, was he greeted as a liberator?

Was the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom, double cheese?

siacd999 said...

Doesn't matter. Because the US invaded Iraq/the US had military forces in Saudi Arabia/ the West ended the Ottoman Empire / Western colonialism in the Middle East/ etc, some of our liberal friends here in the West will always consider US the enemy, and they will consider any horrid actions al-Qaeda or ISIS takes to be blowback.

Anonymous said...

While our conservative friends will blame President Obama for attacking and/or declining to attack countries, and for maintaining and/or withdrawing troops.