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November 14, 2015

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And Charles Pierce makes some points worth making, as always IMO.

One should maybe say that they desire a return to a 7th century as they imagine it, not necessarily the real one (compare the imagined 1950ies [or for that matter the time of the Founding Fathers] of modern day conservatives as opposed to the real thing).
Radical movements often look for the reconstruction of a mystic past that never was while desiring to keep the creature comforts of modernity (with very few exceptions that actually would go for the full ascetic deal).

I'm not sure many of us here are going to be able to get our heads around the mindset that gives rise to something like ISIS. Although I suppose someone who is familiar with someone who subscribes to one the more apocalyptic end-times Christian sects might be able to at least get close.

That being the case, I don't know how we really adddress IS. At most, we can try to do two things:
1) provide some way for those who are desperate to better their lives. Because, if you have no hope, something like IS might seem attractive. (Although that is strictly a guess from the outside.)
and
2) provide some way for those young (mostly men) to feel like they are doing something exciting, dangerous, and worthwhile. In short, give them something adventurous (i.e. not-boring) to do with themselves.

Not, I admit, a complete solution. Especially as I don't really feel for the mindset involved. But perhaps a significant step forward in addressing the problem.

(FFS, why do i keep ending up in moderation???)

i'm not sure what the answer is either.

but, i think the Russian airliner attack and now the Paris attacks put them must closer to the apocalyptic showdown that they seem to be hankering for. and that won't go well for them.

they might think there's something about the European/American mind that makes them incapable of horrendous violence. but a quick glance at the history of the early 20th C should prove otherwise.

or maybe they think the forces of tolerance and patience and restraint in the name of not wanting to harm innocents can hold forever against the desire for brutal revenge. but they'd be wrong about that, too.

if i were them, i'd think long and hard about what my next move should be.

if i were them, i'd think long and hard about what my next move should be.

The problem might be that, if you were them, you might not mind being destroyed so long as enough other stuff gets destroyed in the process and there is at least someone left to carry on your ideology.

Anything I might have to say about IS is likely to be wrong, so: I got nothin'.

I suspect, though, that they're looking to ratchet up the amount of chaos, and that a different group of Infidels declaring war on a different group of...well, Fidels...looks like more of a good thing.

<Ackbar>It's a trap!</Ackbar>

no doubt there are a lot of people willing to die for that cause. but it's not an infinite number. and it's obvious that the leadership does what it can to stay alive.

i think they're going to get that war they say they want; and they aren't going to like it much.

i think they're going to get that war they say they want; and they aren't going to like it much.

That may be true, particularly if not liking it much includes being dead.

Perhaps they should have taken down some other plane instead of a Russian one. Russian operatives haven't been exactly know to stick to anything like rules of engagement when it comes to evening up scores.

yeah, that was a terribly dumb move going after Russia.

it's going to be interesting to see how the Dems handle themselves at the debate tonight. i don't doubt that professional troll Ann Coulter really does think that IS just got Trump elected, but i think HRC might just be able to make a solid case otherwise.

ISIS also murdered dozens of people in Beirut a couple of days ago. It was initially reported in the NYT as an attack on a Hezbollah stronghold, as of course political motivations matter if non-Western civilians are killed.

http://fair.org/home/media-turn-civilian-isis-victims-in-beirut-into-hezbollah-human-shields/

ISIS seems to be launching terror attacks at countries or groups that are fighting them. Presumably we are on the list, though I fervently hope they don't have any sleeper cells ready here.

I was a bit bothered by the contrast between how Beirut was(n't) discussed and Paris was - yes, 120+ dead is more than 40+ dead, but still - though I wasn't surprised. It's the sort of thing that's hard not to see if you're paying attention, and people in the developing world are more likely to be paying attention than those in the West.

---

cleek, I think it's fairly safe to say that the apocalyptic endtimers aren't counting on the West being soft - they're expecting to prevail when it matters because it was foretold. It doesn't matter if it seems unlikely. It doesn't matter if the West applies overwhelming force and starts pushing them back on all fronts. When it counts, they will overcome whatever odds they face because God wills it. Simple as that. Their job is to correctly set the preconditions for the prophesied events, and once that happens God will do the rest.

Both of Russell's cites should be read.

I liked the Charles Pierce piece on how to fight extremism--go after the funding sources in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States. It has the added benefit that it ought to be an easy political sell for ordinary people in the US, left and right. Who thinks highly of the Saudi government? And Pierce isn't talking about war either.

While we're at it, it might be nice if we'd stop supporting the Saudis as they bomb civilians in Yemen.

You can even bring the far far left in on a policy aimed at the Saudis--

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2015/11/some-observations-about-carnage-in-paris.html

Everyone hates them, everyone knows they have played a huge role in the rise of Islamic extremism and yet they are our buddies.

With current oil prices, the Saudis are going to run out of money in about five years.

What I'm confused about is the non-religious-maniac element in ISIS.

By all informed accounts this constituency does exist - a bunch of experienced former Ba'athist soldiers who are responsible for their generally fairly impressive tactics and organisation.

You'd think these guys, assuming they haven't converted to the apocalyptic world-view, would be pretty unimpressed by the group, at a point when they're already pressed on several flanks, inviting a fight to the death with all the world's major powers except China.

So I guess either they don't exist, or this is a fault line that's likely to become visible quite soon.

I liked the Charles Pierce piece on how to fight extremism--go after the funding sources in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States.

Hillary Clinton seems to go for that too. My guess is so does Barack Obama. So we've probably got that covered.

I kind of see the point of NV when s/he says: "I was a bit bothered by the contrast between how Beirut was(n't) discussed and Paris was - yes, 120+ dead is more than 40+ dead, but still - though I wasn't surprised."

In fact, IS and al Qaida have been doing all kinds of horrors for a very long time in a lot of places, and what are we to do? Well, we just hate droning them. Let it play out, man. History will reveal.

In fact, if we take military action, some civilians will be harmed. That is a fact. War is not the same as criminal law.

I'm totally for freezing the money. But do we really think that "we" are going to totally freeze the money? The fact is, we probably need to freaking kill some people. And, despite what cleek thinks, we might lose. Americans will not be up to the task of killing and being killed. Maybe the Russians should do it.

The rest of the world doesn't have to win; it just has to bottle Daesh up -- if that psychotic death cult can't expand it will start eating itself alive. Why do you suppose they're sending their mens right activists further afield to murder people?

Count me in with the "no idea" group. Although I like the idea of basically allowing them only technology from the 12th century and before - take out the smartphones and internet access and cars and... well pretty much a lot of stuff actually, and I could see the movement starting to die in the arse quite quickly.

No, I've no idea how to do that either, although targeting mobile phone towers and similar infrastructure might be a start.

Actually, sapient, I've said I don't mind droning them. I object to signature strikes, attacking rescuers and lying about civilian deaths, but whatever. But bombing ISIS is fine with me, morally speaking Like many, I'm not sure it will work, but as part of a strategy it Might have its place. Here's the thing though-- just a few years ago we were talking about bombing Assad, whose forces have ( according to the human rights groups I've read) killed the most civilians in Syria. Obama seems to have agreed with those who think we shouldn't plunge into another quagmire. I don't know what to do about ISIS, but the principle can't be that we bomb all groups that do terrible things to civilians.

And who said " we" are the only ones who have to freeze the money? is everything you read seen as a judgement for or against Democrats?

The Saudis are a curious case in American politics. The government is despised across the political spectrum and everyone from far left to far right sees them as responsible for sponsoring radical Islam and they are happily blowing up civilians in Yemen, but they get away with it.

"Americans will not be up to the task of killing and being killed."

Historically, Americans have been late to wars.

Just saying.

The second war in Iraq was one glaring exception. To say we were early to that one isn't quite on point, is it?

There was no reason, no national interest at stake, for that debacle, beyond the made-up figments in the neo-conservative (such a nice term for f*ckers who haven't been punished yet) mind.

Look what we did.

Iraq was an ordered hornet's nest, but at least with the surface structure of a self-contained country, with borders. Now it's little more than a frontier in which Sunnis and Shiites have been given a stage to play out their their blood feuds, both using the weapons the U.S. and Russia supply and leave behind.

And if anyone believes I'm in any way defending Saddam Hussein, you can drop dead.

Destabilization, shaking things up, was the goal.

How do we f*cking like it, now. Was making room for Mcdonald's in Baghdad worth it? At least their clown isn't malign, I will say that for them.

Before Americans make the decision to kill and be killed, (haven't seen a plan yet) how about we make the decision to pay for it this time around, upfront, spelled out specifically in the Act of War sent to Congress.

And, if the Republican Party thinks that going to War with IS is merely a synonym for defunding Obamacare, scragging the social safety net, punishing tens of millions of decent human beings who are in this country legally and illegally to get at the few Islamic radicals, and the four rapists that hide among them, then as far I'm concerned IS and al Qaeda are the Republican Party's best friends and enablers.

After all, the men's rights activists in both IS and the Republican Party share a longing to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood.

The sheer delight of the usual suspects among us at the Paris murders as another lever to further their agendas is .... sorry, you'll need to invent a new word, I'm plum out.

Worldwide, conservatives of every society long to kill each other and drag the rest of us into it. In every country, the end-of-worlders long to kill progressive modernity and return to the pigland of the past.

That said, I'm delighted that a drone took out Jihadi what's-his-face, if in fact it did.

(I'm still intending to post on the "Ivanhoe" thread about the odd evolution of chivalrous warfare, as reflected in literature, and its methods and targets, but it may be awhile)

And regarding whether Russia can do it, aren't they still sewing up the a*s wounds dealt to them by the bedraggled guerilla fighters in caves in Afghanistan whose names we have come to know and love?

I suspect, as in WWII, the coming conflagration with IS and 77 other jihadi desert willow o wisps, will have to be a joint Russian/NATO/American clusterf*ck, and at the end of it, the usual suspects on our side will immediately begin haranguing us to take out Moscow as well, while we're at it, because Medicare has not yet been abolished and there are still a few Americans on this side of the pond who aren't carrying AK-47s into Starbucks.

One other item, while we're taking out IS, I want the apocalyptic end-worlders, personified by ilk such as Bachmann, Barton, and company to turn in their passports and be placed under house arrest, because letting them travel to Israel to revel in God's slaughter of most of the Jews, and the 5 billion non-believers in this world is not helping things.

Their rhetoric reminds me exactly of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's, except that our Death-loving cults have the delicacy to hire God as their hitman rather than Jihadi John, the better to erase the paper trail.

At least al-Baghdadi's martyrs, most of the human race, get a few dozen virgins once they are dead, whereas Bachmann and company's martyrs, most of the human race, only get some coupons to dine with the Burger King.

I favor, in all countries, that those who leave their country to join and/or support IS, have their passports canceled and don't get back in to live with us.

And why, unless it's to keep things open enough to so western intelligence can track these people, are the Twitter, Facebook, cell phone accounts, and all other social media outlets by which IS recruits idiots and sociopaths not canceled.

I also like Charles Pierce's suggestion, but until that 28-page report kept under lock and key on Capitol Hill is released to all of us, nothing is going to happen.


One other item:

Coulter, Carson, Trump, Cruz and company are the prime marketing arm in this country for recruiting IS jihadis, not to mention all of the other terrorists they will create on American soil if they gain control of the U.S. Government.

I think IS is campaigning for them to win. I think they hated to see George W. Bush and company leave office, because the latter so resembled George Armstrong Custer in their arrogance and ignorance.

There are no others who IS would like to meet more for the End of the World conflagration in that meadow in Dabiq, Syria than those guys.

It's a shame they would send us in first, while they clip their coupons on U.S. Treasury Bonds, but that's how they roll.

Let's roll, they'll say. By which they mean: you roll and we'll hide over here.

You need to be careful about that Graeme Wood article. These guys argue that he is indeed "equating Christianity with the KKK". Apart from being wrong, this sort of thing distracts attention from the social and political (not religious) issues that lead to people joining outfits like ISIS.

chris y's cite should be read as well.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, we'll find our way through.

I don't think everyone agrees that financial pressure should be brought to bear on gulf states that fund Salafist Takfiris. In particular, those states, and their lobbyists don't agree. The big defence corporations certainly don't agree: the US government gives gulf states (including Saudi Arabia) billions of dollars in "aid" that can only be spent on US defence contractors. Those contractors and their lobbyists in DC will surely scream bloody murder about any limits.

And while in theory American conservatives hate ISIS, in practice, once Lockheed Martin and friends start screaming, along with their hand purchased Senators and Representatives, all that hate will just melt away.

When do we invade India to prevent the genocide that their brand of fundamentalist, conservative Hindus is attempting, tacitly supported and humored by the current government:

https://www.youtube.com/user/uniteagainstrss

The Saudi "royalty" were the original ISIS. Wahhabism is evil stuff. They also financed 9/11: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-wahhabism-saudi-arabia_b_5717157.html 28pages.org

Turb--I think you're right. Ordinary voters across the spectrum don't care for the government of Saudi Arabia, but there are obviously certain categories of people who profit from having a cozy relationship.

I forgot his name, but there was a Saudi prince who was pals with the Bush family and was, iirc, quite popular with the DC crowd. I also remember him being cited because he was critical of Arafat for not agreeing with Clinton and Barak at Camp David. Of course if you want fair minded political commentary on a human rights and justice issue, one would always seek out the opinions of a member of the Saudi royal family.

Bandar, Donald. I just looked him up on Wikipedia to remind myself of his story. At the conclusion of the article, there was a reference to the defense contract he negotiated with China. The world's a complicated place.

take out the smartphones and internet access and cars

Does anyone happen to know if ISIS is using cell phones domestically? Because it would seem like taking out their cell towers should have been a priority. Sure, it still leaves them free to send people out to broadcast stuff on the Internet. But why make it easy? Not to mention that disrupting communications of the enemy is always useful.

Had Jehovah not seen fit to park vast amounts of petroleum under sands that He would someday cede to Allah, Muslim nutters with an apocalypse fetish might have remained no more troublesome to civilized people than are rapturist Christians or messianic Jews. To be fair, the God of Abraham was probably ignorant of petroleum and its uses.

In any case, the modern world is stuck with an unfortunate coincidence. Always and everywhere there have been humans simple-minded enough to take religion so seriously as to kill and die for it; always and everywhere there have been men cynical enough to exploit that fact; it's a rotten shame that some of the latter just happened to end up owning the petroleum. So, as Charlie Pierce notes, our friends the Saudis have secured their worldly wealth by buying off murderous fanatics with both financial and theological support.

Before westerners came to buy the oil, the House of Saud's main business was exploiting Faith(TM) straight up: the Haj was basically their only source of income. They have known the dollar value of Faith(TM) for a long time.

--TP

Thanks sapient. I read the Wikipedia article--I had forgotten W had given him a nickname "Bandar Bush".

In fact [the US and its allies] have been doing all kinds of horrors for a very long time in a lot of places, and what are we to do?

You need to be careful about that Graeme Wood article. These guys argue that he is indeed "equating Christianity with the KKK".

I would say that I, personally, am not in a position to evaluate the degree to which IS is "Islamic". I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that there are as many readings given to "Islamic" as an adjective as there are readings given to "Christian".

Which is to say, a lot.

I agree that numerous historical, political, economic, social, geographic, ethnic, and other issues play a large role in the phenomenon of IS.

But it also appears, to me anyway, that many if not most folks in IS sincerely believe themselves to be "Islamic", as they construe that word.

Conflating some kind of religious conviction with violent fanaticism is, by far, not exclusive to Islam, and FWIW I do not think there is anything inherent in Islam that makes it necessary for people to be violent or aggressive toward others in order to embrace that faith.

Thanks for the link, that was a great piece. And, I'm happy to read Wood with a critical eye.

Americans will not be up to the task of killing and being killed.

Leaving aside differences of opinion that folks here have had about drone strikes, specifically, I find this statement puzzling.

If there is one thing that I think the last 15 years has demonstrated, it is that Americans are willing to kill and, if need be, be killed.

Maybe I'm missing your point?

Well, most prefer other people on one's side to take the being killed part, also preferably people one either does not know or can't stand.
A lot would change their stance on the war if it was them who would run the risk of being killed.

If there is one thing that I think the last 15 years has demonstrated, it is that Americans are willing to kill and, if need be, be killed.

The American people, as a political entity, will not put up with a[nother] horrible war in Syria/Iraq, etc. Any visit to this blog in the past several years will tell you that many people have zero tolerance for civilian casualties (which is a fact of war, no matter how hard people try to avoid them), have a very low tolerance for American casualties (which are extremely sad, no matter what the number, but which have been a hugely small number compared to, for example, gun violence casualties), and are largely skeptical of the idea of war achieving a positive result.

I was talking to a twenty-something recently who doubted the value of fighting WWII. What if we hadn't done it, he asked. How would the world have been different now. Honestly, it put my whole world in a spin. Maybe history just will happen no matter what we do. I've spent my whole life worshiping those who fought against the genocide of the Nazis. But maybe he's right - maybe it would have all just leveled out. It makes me sick to think so. This guy is a solid, humane person. I don't see how people with this mindset can get invested on a (possibly) long, gruesome war against IS ( or Daesh - maybe we should start calling them that, at least).

sapient: your 20yo friend should take a look at "The Man in the High Castle", which Amazon is putting out (with great production value, I might add). Okay, fiction, but the result is a plausible result of "US stays out of WWII".

I, for one, would like to invite all those endtimers to gather at the traditional spot, Har-Magedon, on a date certain, where they can be gifted with about 50kt, airburst, and all their dreams can come true.

Count can push the button. I'm sure he'll get a bang out of that.

Thank you, Snarki. I'll definitely read it first!

russell and I are on about the same wavelength.

I think Wood's article skirts around the equating-Muslims-to-KKK question by confining discussion to ISIS. If Muslims are insulted by what he says about ISIS, well, I am not sure what to put on that boo-boo.

But I haven't read the critique yet. Maybe tonight. My brain hurts. I may be getting better (or, perhaps worse: regarded as better) at this alignment calibration thing than I want to be.

It's a mistake thinking all wars are stupid because most wars are stupid. One can also make the opposite mistake. Your 20 year old friend is wrong about WWII, but he'd be right about most wars, including probably WWI.

I wonder how many places you would have wanted to invade back in the Cold War era, sapient? Some, though not all of the worst killers were our allies. Indonesia killed hundreds of thousands in the 60's and then maybe another 1-200,000 in East Timor in the 70's. Latin America was a long list of countries that tortured, disappeared or outright massacred civilians and again, most were our pals, I don't think I could remember all the killers in Africa, though at least one of the biggest killers, Savimbi, was one of ours. Then there are our communist enemies, with Mao far outdistancing everyone, but let's leave them out since that would mean nukes. So maybe to be safe we should have only invaded our friends. Go back a bit further and we could have declared war on France for what they did in Algeria.

And we were doing some things in Vietnam, I hear.

Americans will not be up to the task of killing and being killed.

Are you ready to kill and be killed?

Are you ready to kill and be killed?

I'm not eligible for the armed forces. I'd certainly rather kill an ISIS person than be killed by one, if it ever comes to that. Not sure I'm up to the task though, which was my point.

Oh, and as for being ready to be killed, 30,000 Americans are killed in gun violence each year. Am I ready? Not really. Could it happen? Yeah.

One more thing: I'm 59. Am I going to die of something? Yes. Am I ready? Not really. Would I give my life for something worthwhile (in other words, be a hero)? I hope so. Can't imagine it, but I hope so.

my FB feed is full of people who are more than ready to kill.

and they know fully well that the act of killing wouldn't require risking the lives of any Americans.

https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/12246694_10206780248376218_3772363903484740403_n.jpg?oh=d2efebcc7f9a32c55abee3fe9198ac0d&oe=56BC591F

"The American people, as a political entity, will not put up with a[nother] horrible war in Syria/Iraq, etc"

That may be true.

this is also true

"Since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, about 2.5 million members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and related Reserve and National Guard units have been deployed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, according to Department of Defense data. Of those, more than a third were deployed more than once.

In fact, as of last year nearly 37,000 Americans had been deployed more than five times, among them 10,000 members of guard or Reserve units. Records also show that 400,000 service members have done three or more deployments."

cite:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article24746680.html#storylink=cpy

sorry for no direct limk, I'm on my tablet.

it's been almost 15 years that we've been at this "war on terror" thing; people are kind of sick of it.

but I don't really see us as people who are, as a community, unwilling to wage war, and incur the risks of waging war.

I recognize the differences of opinion rrgarding, specifically, drones, and I'm not really interested in going down that rathole because I doubt any of have fresh insights to share.

but drones are not the whole enchilada.

The discussion of the willingness to kill and be killed talks about the American public at large. However, the "beauty" of the all-volunteer military is that it's not drawn from the population at large, and the subset it draws on is generally both more realistic and stoic about US casualties, and more willing to rationalize, accept, or outright ignore civilian casualties. So as long as the media shies away from being too forthright about the human and fiscal costs of war on all sides, the general population can ignore conflicts much better than one might be inclined to think.

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Slarti, the rebuttal is worth reading. I felt the Wood article was a very good backgrounder, but the rebuttal brings up some serious shortcomings on its part, primarily that it's cherrypicking and generalizing. A lot. It does a reasonable job of presenting Daesh's outlook, but essentially takes it at its word as to how orthodox that is, and is careful to avoid introducing anything to challenge to that POV, or to present it in any context outside of Daesh's framing of themself.

sapient: sorry if I caused you any confusion; "The Man in the High Castle" was written by Phillip K Dick, back in the 70's, I think. Very good book.

Amazon is putting it out as an "original video series", first episode for free, all free on Prime. Powerful stuff. Just the opening sequence is ...disturbing...

it's been almost 15 years that we've been at this "war on terror" thing; people are kind of sick of it.

My point.

My comment was not meant to impugn the bravery of the military (as should have been obvious, but clearly you're trying to be combative - whatever). It was about the political will of the American people to stick it out in a long war against a far-away enemy.

We crapped out in Afghanistan in favor of a shiny new object, Iraq. We got really tired of that (and no wonder, since that was a bad mistake), and were really skeptical of drone warfare against people who were perpetrating the kind of crap that happened in Paris. Okay - you weren't convinced that they were planning terrorist attacks against civilians - fine. But, again, my point. We can't convince every single person in the US, who is tired of war, that killing terrorists is a good thing to do.

Yes, we have a good and brave military. We don't have a civilian consensus to support an ugly war that will result in lots of deaths on both sides.

What we will see (in these comments, in fact) are constant accusations of warmongering, and "war crimes". Obama is a warmonger, no better than Bush, remember? Al Awlaki's civil liberties were violated (even though he was recruiting al Qaeda suicide bombers), right? Glenn Greenwald is a hero, for exposing Executive powergrabbing, right? What have I missed?

Thanks, Snarki. Yeah, as I did more googling, I figured it out. You might be seeing less of me here as I watch the series. Much appreciated.

What have I missed?

The fact that these folks do not pose an existential threat to us, and the fact that the only way we can say they threaten our "national interests" is due to a very expansive view of what said interests are.

You want to end "terrorism"? Good luck with that. You want to crush Islamic fundamentalism? Take out the Saudi royal family.

What you will see in these comments is repeated reference to BLOWBACK.

> ... were really skeptical of drone warfare ...

Drone warfare is wonderfully imprecise, and it tends to piss off innocent bystanders when they get blown up because some good old boy under the mountain decides that a wedding is actually a top secret terrorist mastermind(tm) meeting. I suspect that Daesh's subjects are a lot happier seeing US jets coming in to blow the shit out of a strongpoint than they are to hear the confused buzz of a drone coming in to launch a missile at anything that moves.

Regarding questions above, including mine, about cellphones and internet social media:

https://theintercept.com/2015/11/15/exploiting-emotions-about-paris-to-blame-snowden-distract-from-actual-culprits-who-empowered-isis/

It may turn out that NSA and French intelligence eavesdropped and sussed out all of the dinner and concert reservations of the innocent folks who were mowed down but knew utterly nothing about those who did the mowing.

" Another thoughtful discussion, from the NY Review of Books, whose author basically finds himself (or herself) gobsmacked by the phenomenon of IS "

Reading this look like reading pundit confusion about Trump success. it might be new technology encouraged ideology that blustery, more violent than others, and constantly getting news become popular.

Thus its irrelevant about ISIS 'defeat' in Kobani, opposition by local tribes in Anbar, or engaging in several multiple simultaneous fight that kill people. Its goal is to constantly appear and dominate news in Jihadist circle. Its brutality also make it more likely become 'famous' and more radical than other Jihadist.

Any lost in tactical battle is replenished by massive strategic success in acquiring International Jihadist support and men.

Slarti, the rebuttal is worth reading. I felt the Wood article was a very good backgrounder, but the rebuttal brings up some serious shortcomings on its part, primarily that it's cherrypicking and generalizing. A lot...

Equally, the rebuttal was permeated by quite a bit of whataboutery, and I rather felt that the authors' position on what Islam actually does stand for in terms of its engagement with the non-Islamic world evasive to the point of disingenuousness.

Notably, in response to a not entirely unreasonable question in the comments, one of the authors basically responded 'I'm not going to answer that; you need to educate yourself in detail about Islam'.
There is a very large category of people, innocent of islamaphobia, who simply have no interest in doing so. Their only concern is the interaction between Islamic and non Islamic culture (FWIW, I don't number myself among them, but I don't see why they ought to have any such obligation).

Another facet of argument:

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/isis-al-qaida-not-islamic-000200143.html

And, the developing (anti- and non-)Christian cult among the U.S. military, sought out by dumbasses running for President:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/robert-dees-ben-carson-foreign-policy

Very dangerous to our form of government, and something needs to be done about it.

I was talking to a twenty-something recently who doubted the value of fighting WWII.

The United States fought WWII because i. Japan launched an unprovoked attack on the US Navy in US administered territory, and ii. Germany then declared war on the United States. It seems to me that under those circumstances it would have been difficult to avoid fighting, but I suppose there was always the option from the old Firesign Theater piece:

"Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. I have consulted with both houses of Congress and it is our unanimous decision that the United States unconditionally surrender."

To play the devil's advocate, Japan seems to have assumed that the US would take it as a hint to accept the Japanese version of the Monroe doctrine, and Hitler was fed up with the status quo in the Atlantic, i.e. American naval forces acting like belligerents but still hypocritically demanding neutrality protection.
We can't be sure (yet), whether ISIS is just sending harsher 'keep out of our business' signals because polite words did not work or whether the attacks are bait.
In that case they are probably delighted about the GOP talk seeing Paris as the key to have a war with Iran at last. Has anybody checked, whether there are also already warnings about Iran giving nukes to ISIS requiring US to strike NOW?

My comment was not meant to impugn the bravery of the military (as should have been obvious, but clearly you're trying to be combative - whatever). It was about the political will of the American people to stick it out in a long war against a far-away enemy.

I have no intent to be combative, your point was not obvious to me. Thanks for the clarification.

IMO American attitudes toward war are complicated. Also, because we have voluntary military service and not that many people actually enlist, unless someone you know and care about is actually in the military, warfare is unlikely to touch your life in any really tangible way, so to some degree attitudes toward war end up being as much a social marker as anything else.

I agree that, at this point, folks here (in the US) are likely reluctant to begin what would almost certainly be an open-ended ground war in the middle east.

We're OK with deploying air power, and in fact we have done and continue to do so. Less so with ground forces. I doubt we are interested in taking and holding territory in Syria and Iraq on a long-term basis, which is probably what "defeating IS" would involve.

just heard something interesting on NPR about IS in Afghanistan. apparently they're kicking the Taliban out and taking over. and this is made possible in large part by the fact that IS is paying people to be their soldiers ($700/mo); and they're paying more than twice the salary that the Afghan army pays ($300/mo). and, IS pays on time, unlike the Afghan army.

economics.

The aspect of IS that I find most troubling is this one:

And, their vision has sufficient appeal that thousands of people have been willing to give up whatever lives they have been living - in many cases successful, comfortable, generally happy lives - in exchange for one-way tickets to a violent and absolutist version of the middle ages.

I'm not surprised that Sunnis who spent time in military prisons during the US invasion of Iraq, and/or found themselves more or less disenfranchised under al-Maliki, would find the idea of a resurgent Sunni caliphate appealing.

What I find disturbing is the appeal of the kind of violent, absolutist regime that IS implements to young Muslim people all around the world. Not just folks living marginal lives, but folks living accomplished and successful lives, with good futures ahead of them.

The persona that IS presents to these young people on social media and elsewhere is profoundly and vividly violent. Beheadings, burning people alive in cages, throwing people off of the roofs of buildings, enslaving women and children.

And, that attracts young people by the tens of thousands, to the point of completely abandoning their lives and families to run off to join up.

It is, apparently, a really inspiring vision.

I'm not sure what to think or say about any of that. It's profoundly sad.

"In that case they are probably delighted about the GOP talk seeing Paris as the key to have a war with Iran at last."

Is there a link on that? I haven't seen that.

Not that I would be surprised.

Did anyone in the room think to ask "What's a Sunni?" or "How do you pronounce 'Shiite'?"

If IS obtained a nuclear weapon from Iran, wouldn't they first take out Baghdad, where Iran's allies in Iraq live?

Or is my common sense getting in the way here?

IS sh*theads have a meadow in Dabiq to look forward to.

Our homegrown sh*theads hanker for a "Red Dawn" as the last battle.

Death cults.

but I don't really see us as people who are, as a community, unwilling to wage war, and incur the risks of waging war.

Agreed, with leadership and focus and some kind of defined goal. Confronting ISIS is not the same as invading Iraq. Although neither turned out to have any meaningful impact, Iraq had an air force and some number of armored/mechanized units. Light infantry doesn't fare well against even second rate armored formations. So, it was necessary to deploy the correct order of battle. The kind of deployment necessary for dealing with ISIS isn't armor-heavy, but rather highly mobile: helicopters, air support and the like with equally mobile ground forces. Rather than occupying and pacifying, the focus should be on meeting and destroying. The larger ISIS becomes, the less difficult it is to confront conventionally. The Cold War left us with a very impressive ability to project force and relocate large numbers of troops and material. Retooling units to deploy for 3-6 months of intense operations followed by extraction would be a useful tool for dealing with ISIS-type movements. Long term ability to support such operations would require some number of forward bases with pre-positioned supplies and hardware. In support of that class of operations, our drone and special ops approach would have to become more and not less intense. If an Imam in Pakistan starts preaching Jihad, he is killed.

ISIS and similar movements are not going to mature into something that can be dealt and negotiated with. If home grown terrorism becomes the rule and not the exception, we will have to revisit the 1st Amendment. If these refugee migrations become methods of insertion, very harsh measures will follow. Note the use of the conditional "if".

The above understands that collateral damage, civilian casualties, etc, are part of the package. We wouldn't be fighting over oil prices or access to raw materials. The fight is to, eventually, eliminate intentional attacks on our and allied civilian populations.

It is a bonus that people like ISIS' adherents would be killed in the process. Burying children alive? Institutionalized psychopathology.

You want to end "terrorism"? Good luck with that.

So, don't bother? Do nothing?

You want to crush Islamic fundamentalism? Take out the Saudi royal family.

I suspect the last is tongue in cheek. It's hard to argue that other dictators in the Mid East should be left in power as necessarily evil sources of stability yet contend this particular group of assholes should be toppled, or to expect no blow back if that were to happen. That said, I share the sentiment. The Saudi's have played all ends against the middle forever and have done so brilliantly. Back when we needed their oil, they could get away with it. Now, we can and should rethink. But, that process will involve a ton of bloodshed. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe some millions of fanatics.

Sapient, we are on the same page. That entire part of the world is a war zone with zero recognition of rules of engagement, protecting civilians, etc. We would fight as cleanly as circumstances will allow, and doing so would put us light years ahead of the other combatants.

I'm not sure what to think or say about any of that. It's profoundly sad.

And profoundly disturbing. Yes, they are very forthright in what they stand for and a lot of young Muslims find this attractive. So, where does this lead the conversation?

ISIS and similar movements are not going to mature into something that can be dealt and negotiated with.

I agree with this.

I'm not seeing a future in which IS decides to be one nation living peaceably among the other nations of the world.

If home grown terrorism becomes the rule and not the exception, we will have to revisit the 1st Amendment.

I'm not clear on your point here.

How would a "revised" 1st Amendment read?

the US has lived through home grown terrorism before.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1919_United_States_anarchist_bombings

we didn't need to change any amendments. we did get some crappy new laws out of it, though.

How would a "revised" 1st Amendment read?

Fair point. If domestic terrorism were to become more than the occasional one-off, we would have to look very carefully at what is going on in mosques around the country, surveillance and whatnot. Ugly stuff. I don't know how a liberal democracy confronts a violent movement that has its roots in a religion without, at a minimum, monitoring that religion.

I think what you'd want is a re-write of the 4th.

Seems to me that's already arrived, de facto.

This War Will Destabilize The Entire Mideast Region And Set Off A Global Shockwave Of Anti-Americanism vs. No It Won’t

2003.

http://www.theonion.com/multiblogpost/this-war-will-destabilize-the-entire-mideast-regio-11534

(h/t Atrios)

What I find disturbing is the appeal of the kind of violent, absolutist regime that IS implements to young Muslim people all around the world. Not just folks living marginal lives, but folks living accomplished and successful lives, with good futures ahead of them.

Most people, in every social strata, live lives of quiet desperation looking for something to fulfill a need to feel special. Fear of failure, of being alone...of being ordinary, pervades the untethered lives of millions of young people. It has since bobbyp and I were protesting the Vietnam war and, I suspect, long before.

A promise of having a part in something important and not boring is a powerful draw.

Boorstin wrote: "Human models are more vivid and more persuasive than explicit moral commands."

Right and wrong get lost in vivid and persuasive human models creating a world in their image. We have lost the war for the imagination of these youth, what need will they meet for us?

Notably, in response to a not entirely unreasonable question in the comments, one of the authors basically responded 'I'm not going to answer that; you need to educate yourself in detail about Islam'.

The response you refer to was by all appearances the lead-in to line-by-line gotcha arguments from the Qur'an. I frankly don't fault the author for declining to engage that particular commenter in detail, as they had a fairly transparent intent to derail the conversation into an argument of reductionist out-of-context parsing.

Well put, Marty.

Seems to me that's already arrived, de facto.

Pick your cherished liberty. How do we fight back?

And profoundly disturbing. Yes, they are very forthright in what they stand for and a lot of young Muslims find this attractive. So, where does this lead the conversation?

There is a non-trivial portion of combat-arms enlistees in our military who are quite forthright about their desire to go forth and kill those they deem evil, with only as much regard for ROEs, Law of War, and civilian-combatant distinctions as is forced upon them from above. Do you find this, too, to be "profoundly disturbing", or is American Exceptionalism at work again?

Also, what Marty said in his 11:03. Very much so.

There is a non-trivial portion of combat-arms enlistees in our military who are quite forthright about their desire to go forth and kill those they deem evil, with only as much regard for ROEs, Law of War, and civilian-combatant distinctions as is forced upon them from above. Do you find this, too, to be "profoundly disturbing", or is American Exceptionalism at work again?

No, I don't. I'm fairly sure enlistment bonuses do not include sex slaves, etc. Moral equivalence is bullshit and you are engaging in gross mind-reading. It's probably true that a significant number of combat arms enlistees are fine with killing our country's enemies, but it's bullshit to say they are fine with killing *those they deem evil*.

As for exceptionalism, I consider western liberal democracy as it is practiced in the US, in Europe, Canada, Japan, S. Korea, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere exceptional and well worth defending.

I am fine with tolerating Islamic or other religious dictatorships that keep their extremism within their borders. However, since Islam was birthed, it's had the tradition of conversion by the sword. Most Islamic countries eschew that these days, but not ISIL.

Pick your cherished liberty. How do we fight back?

In the context that we're talking about...

We already have American citizens, with a strong desire and motivation to prevent religiously-inspired terrorism from happening on US soil, embedded in the nation's mosques and other Islamic religious organizations.

They are called "Muslims".

A lot of the intelligence that results in thwarting intended acts of terror from "radicalized" Muslims comes from the Muslim community.

There's always a need for more information than what a potential terrorist's family, neighbors, or co-religionist might have or want to divulge.

That's what warrants are for. For cases of suspected terrorism, they are not very hard to get.

I'm skeptical of claims that addressing terrorism requires abridging civil liberties.

I am also skeptical that what is given up in exchange for increased safety, or the appearance of safety, is worth the candle.

Opinions vary on that point, that's mine.

Also, what Marty said @ 11:03. A very thoughtful and IMO perceptive comment.

Thanks Marty.

However, since Islam was birthed, it's had the tradition of conversion by the sword.

It's not, remotely, unique in that regard.

We already have American citizens, with a strong desire and motivation to prevent religiously-inspired terrorism from happening on US soil, embedded in the nation's mosques and other Islamic religious organizations.

They are called "Muslims".

That's the good news. The bad news is that their views are less than universal.

It's not, remotely, unique in that regard.

Actually, Islam is very much in a class by itself in terms of conversion by sword, even with colonialism folded in. Not trying to hijack the thread, but it's a matter of historical fact that Islam's spread across the Middle East, northern Africa, up through Spain and into France, to Pakistan and up through the Bosporus was 100% a matter of armed conquest.

I'm skeptical of claims that addressing terrorism requires abridging civil liberties.

If we begin having events like what Paris just experienced, if the Boston Marathon bombing becomes common place, I think you underestimate what we'd be willing to tolerate. And, I think you underestimate what steps would be needed to effectively repress that level of violence.

Right and wrong get lost in vivid and persuasive human models creating a world in their image. We have lost the war for the imagination of these youth, what need will they meet for us?

Maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Not raping women, not murdering adults and children alike, one person/one vote, free speech, freedom of worship, economic liberty, rule of law, equality under the law, liberal democracy: the whole good/bad thing doesn't seem all that complicated to me.

And, I think you underestimate what steps would be needed to effectively repress that level of violence.

I think you underestimate how effectively our law enforcement has already controlled that level of violence. It is simply unfathomable that the radicalized (add your type) haven't tried continuously to create fear and destruction over the last 20 years. 15 at least. Lets not pretend the success in Paris bodes anything new.

I think you underestimate how effectively our law enforcement has already controlled that level of violence. It is simply unfathomable that the radicalized (add your type) haven't tried continuously to create fear and destruction over the last 20 years. 15 at least. Lets not pretend the success in Paris bodes anything new.

I'm not talking about the past. Up thread,I was careful to highlight the use of the word "if". Your incomplete quote misses the premise underlying my contention. I will repeat it: "If we begin having events like what Paris just experienced, if the Boston Marathon bombing becomes common place, . . .".

The bad news is that their views are less than universal.

mathematically, they are.

there's something like 100,000 'members' of IS, and you can throw in another few 10s of thousands if you count all of the adherents to all the other Islamic terrorist organizations. but there are 1,600,000,000 Muslims in the world.

you might as well declare war on all the young white men in the US because they're responsible for the vast majority of mass shootings we experience.

"A promise of having a part in something important and not boring is a powerful draw."

I've been turning over in my mind the odd convergence of death cult IS and death metal band fans Friday night.

The bored, the desperate, and the alienated interrupted by some really serious, bored, desperate, and alienated motherf*ckers.

The bored, the desperate, and the alienated interrupted by some really serious, bored, desperate, and alienated motherf*ckers.

Justin E. H. Smith of Slate describes the band's fans quite differently.

I can envision plenty of the Amendments to the Constitution going by the wayside if things get scary enough.

Except for one of them.

I wouldn't expect to get them back any time soon.

I also don't expect the type of militancy against the infringements that we've seen from the NRA and company on behalf of any of the other Amendments, at least for awhile, despite the ongoing carnage among ourselves cleek refers to.

Let's put it this way. If the First Amendment is abridged on behalf of national security, I'll stop posting here or anywhere.

"there's something like 100,000 'members' of IS, and you can throw in another few 10s of thousands if you count all of the adherents to all the other Islamic terrorist organizations. but there are 1,600,000,000 Muslims in the world."

See, depending who is in charge of limiting the First Amendment, that statement right there would put cleek in jeopardy.

Already, it has three key words in it that NSA tracks but, we're told, harmlessly, for now.

I can envision plenty of the Amendments to the Constitution going by the wayside if things get scary enough.

Except for one of them.

If anybody tries to quarter any soldiers in my guest room without my permission, then by god I'm gonna find myself a tree of liberty and give it a good watering.

Just saying.

Thanks, sapient. I half expected that irony probably still lived in the band's choice of a name and its musical genre, though it's not my taste.

Just pointing out that it looks like a B horror movie with a real slasher taking out innocent kids dressed as ghouls and slashers at a high school Halloween party.

I agree with the author, the band should be obscene and heard.

Also, f*ck IS.

I never understood how anyone could single out Islam in the Middle Ages as uniquely about violent conquest. Try reading what the Byzantines, Persians and Jews were doing in Israel or Palestine right before Islam burst on the scene. The Emperor Heraclius actually wanted to wipe out all the Jews, after Jews had sided with Persians in slaughtering Christians, which they did because Christians had been oppressing Jews. Yeah, things were just lovely and peaceful before the Muslims came along.

Everyone was violent in those days, and Christianity didn't become the dominant religion in the West via peaceful persuasion. Paganism was eventually suppressed. And yes, this is in response to McKT's threadjack.

As for ISIS, I actually favor bombing them, if it can be done with low civilian casualties. Some violence is certainly going to be part of any solution with fanatics of that sort. I don't trust our government to be honest about that, under any President or party, though I definitely trust Obama more than I would, say, almost any Republican replacement.

That said, our interventionists wanted to topple Assad just a few years ago and certainly Assad is a thug more than worthy of toppling. And what would the likely consequences of that have been? What happened in Iraq? That's how we got to be in this situation in the first place.

And I also have real problems with interventionists who are so eager to jump into war with our official enemies and then sigh and pass on the subject of what to do about us or our allies. ISIS isn't alone in killing civilians, and no, when our allies do it only an idiot would think that it's all accidental. There are, of course, plenty of idiots in the world.

EoDM is kindof awesome, in their own goofy way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1nNkotWOQU

"...Islam is very much in a class by itself in terms of conversion by sword..."

There is some validity to this statement, given the Christian propensity to skip the "conversion" part, and just kill everyone that *might* believe differently.

"Kill them all, the Lord will know his own" was not spoken in Arabic, just saying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jj2eFAQYhw

Jack Black and Dave Grohl are on board.

Christianity didn't spread to all of South and North America by osmosis. it was spread by the sword.

and i like this EoDM tune, too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B6lOPAvx1I

Actually, Islam is very much in a class by itself in terms of conversion by sword

Nothing is exactly like anything else, but suffice it to say that conversion by force is a prominent feature in the histories of many of the world's great religions.

I think you underestimate how effectively our law enforcement has already controlled that level of violence.

I agree with this.

What I really hope happens, and what I think would be the best counter to the actions of IS and similar organizations, is that we all not freak out.

If we can find a way to not demonize and/or become hostile toward and suspicious of anyone who reminds us of whoever we think terrorists are, even better.

Those Christians were confused.

They got hold of a bad translation:

"In the beginning was the (S)Word, ........... ........... and the (S)Word was God."

I suspect IS is misreading the Koran just as it misread the band's guitar distortion, if they cared one way or another.

Just as Charlie Manson got "Helter Skelter" all bollixed up.

Another idiot without any sense of irony.

It's the mark of the psychopath.

Apropos of something or other, I recently heard an Alice Cooper fan back in the day complain that he couldn't get his head around the fact that Cooper spends much of time on the golf course these days.

Why does he think the concert ticket prices were so high?

Count, the most prominent voice to tear up the Iran agreement because of ISIS (and Paris) seems to be Huckabee. Not his first objectionable statement on said deal though, to put it mildy.

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