Friday, September 5, 2014
Rock the Casbah
I don't actually want a war with ISIL. I just think it's happening anyway. When Vice-President Biden says we will follow ISIS to the Gates of Hell, he's being the "nudge" that telegraphs where the debate is. And if it has to happen because the ball is rolling and tongues have starting writing checks that American asses will have to cash, I pretty damn well want to see a thorough job of it. And I'm coming around to the idea that there is something very poisonous about this particular group.
They spread their territory quickly and cast their influence wide (they have tentacles in Egypt and Libya), in some ways superseding al-Qaeda's influence in the hip'n'with-it fucking shit up set. They aren't pre-modern shit-fucker-uppers: they're POMO. They're attracting young westerners who aren't necessarily that well-versed yet in the particulars of their faith by promising them meaning by attaching the figure of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to a grand concept of a caliphate, which is basically crazypants. If he's the 12th imam, I'm Mary Poppins. But in any case, this shit is moving too quickly, and quite possibly in some disturbing directions.
This group just doesn't seem to have a good side. It's not like you can say: "If not for the kidnappings, the massacres, the rapes, and the ethnic cleansing, there's so much good they could be doing." They are down with some sick destructive ethos, and as far as I'm concerned, I don't think we have time for that. It doesn't make us on the side of Assad, or Iran, it just means we can all basically agree these guys are something else, and letting them prosper is letting good folks die.
We can settle up with anyone else later. But there's reasons to nip these characters right off now. And I think comparing them to Aum Shinrikyo or any other cult fixated on death isn't far wrong. They are absurd. But more is needed than simply trying to make sense of them.