Free Markets, Free People

How not to fight the problem of ISIS

If, in fact, you believe that Marie Harf was winging it and stating her own opinion about Islamic extremists (oh, wait, “frustrated job seekers”) needing jobs, etc., get a load of Sec. of State John Kerry:

“Why do people make what to many of us would seem to be an utterly wrongheaded choice and become the kind of terrorists that we’re seeing?” he asked. “It’s a question that we need to approach with humility, but also with determination, because you cannot defeat what you don’t understand.”

“Certainly, there is no single answer,” Kerry continued. “In our era, poisonous ideas can come from almost anywhere – from parents, teachers, friends, preachers, politicians – from the pretty woman on a radical website who lures people or the man in the next cell who proselytizes while in prison.

“They might grow from pictures seen on the nightly news or from acts of discrimination or repression that you don’t think much about on the day of occurrence, but which come back to haunt. It could come from the desire to avenge the death of a loved one,” he said.

“In some cases, they may come from a lost job or from the contrast between one family’s empty dinner plate and a fancy restaurant’s lavish menu. The poison might even come from within, in the form of rebellion against anonymity, the desire to belong to a group, people who want a moment of visibility and identity, or the hunger for black-and-white answers to problems that are very complex in a remarkably more complicated world.”

In general, he has a point. Depending on the problem, people are motivated by all sorts of things to become part of that problem.  And it makes sense to remove that motivation.  Figuring that out is how you put a strategy to defeat the problem.

Specifically, however, it isn’t at all hard to figure out what motivates ISIS and THAT is the problem we face today.

The motivator? Islam.  The “holy texts”.  The desire for the Caliphate set up under precise rules set out by Islam’s founder.  That is why they fight.  That’s why they do what they do.

Sometimes you just have to apply Occam’s razor for heaven sake.

So, to recap: what motivates those who proclaim ISIS and the Caliphate is their religion.  That’s it.  How they were “radicalized” is less important than the fact that they were and are now a threat.  And understanding what motivates that threat is how you put together a strategy to defeat them.

Instead we get this institutional load of liberal angst that, for the most part, is nonsense.  Why can’t they bring themselves to face and name the problem? They don’t have any problem in identifying “right-wing domestic terrorists”  Why not religious terrorists?

As I said, it certainly makes sense to remove the “underlying cause” of the problem … if that’s possible.  But if we think we can somehow be a credible force in doing that, we’re wrong.  We – the US, Europe, the West – aren’t in any position to do that since we are identified as the enemy of everything they hold dear.  More importantly, it has nothing to do with jobs or dinner plates.  It is a religious movement.

So when you finally realize that attacking the “underlying causes” of something like ISIS is a fool’s errand, what should you do?

Well, this will be unpalatable to some out there who have been raised in the “precious princess” society we’ve enabled, but you have to “go medieval” on them.  You have to obliterate them.  You have to make it not worth pursuing their fantasy and something that those who might choose it decide to reject.

Jobs won’t do that.  Dropping packages of money on them won’t do that.  They have the job they want and they’re the richest terror organization going.

What we have to do is systematically and completely destroy them – root and branch – by using everything reasonable at our disposal.  Now, I understand that’s sort of difficult with a religious death cult, but I’d bet, once the reversals started and the ISIS death toll rose, the marginal jihadis would think twice about joining up.  Right now, there’s little downside.

Bottom line? If you want to stop the “pretty woman on the radical website” from having an impact,  destroy her story so thoroughly that she can’t spin her web of lies credibly anymore – and then take down her freakin’ website.

But as long as we try to avoid naming the problem and take half-measures while wringing our hands like a bunch of old women, the problem will both persist and get worse.

And trying to lay the load of “nuanced” crap Kerry pushed out there on the problem of ISIS avoids naming the problem and thus identifying a workable strategy which certainly guarantees it will persist.

Anyone who is surprised by that simply hasn’t been paying attention.  After all, look who is in charge.


Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

14 Responses to How not to fight the problem of ISIS

  • Another gem from Jonah Goldberg this morning…

    “But I very much like the idea that societies get themselves into trouble when language becomes a tool not for describing reality but concealing it.

    This is one of the many reasons I loathe the self-described pragmatists who insist they want to solve problems by getting “beyond labels.” You cannot solve problems if you cannot describe the problem – and the solution – accurately. Try fixing a flat tire with a wet hamster. Now, call the hamster a “tire iron.” Has it gotten any easier? Shakespeare tells us that a rose by another name will smell just as sweet, but if you can’t tell sh*t from shinola, your shoes are going to smell awful.”

  • “But I very much like the idea that societies get themselves into trouble when language becomes a tool not for describing reality but concealing it.”

    Speaking of language –

    “the kind of terrorists that we’re seeing”.and “that we need to approach with humility,”.

    What the hell?
    The kind of terrorists that we’re seeing. the kind? Does he have ANOTHER kind of terrorist in mind that’s more akin to we’d like to see in our terrorists?
    With humility? What? We have to be humble when we try and figure this out?

    Every time these asshats talk it reminds me of the automated corporate mission statement generators from the 90s.
    There are words, they SOUND good when you say them, but they have zero meaning.

    Pompous moron.

  • John Kerry talking about humility. Pretty funny.

    They are motivated by the same thing that has motivated their forefathers since the 8th century; religion and pillage. Conquer the infidels and get wealthy in this life while at the same time guaranteeing yourself a place in paradise in the next life. A win-win situation.

  • With good intel, clarity of principles, and common sense, the problem of ISIS could have been solved long before we had even heard of it. I don’t think that was the plan, however. Do I need to go further into that?

    Likewise, since last year around this time, when ISIS was rearing up and taking the shape of the monster it is today, the problem could have been addressed, but you know how those Peace Prize winners are about killing people where the media might see it (Colonel Barack, in the mountains, with drones–no reporters).

    You think this can’t get worse?

    • This is why its possibly excusable for Obama to have pulled our troops out of Iraq.

      What’s inexcusable is he pulled ALL of our intel guys.

      He basically just assumed we were the problem and once we were gone, hey, it would all be fine.

      You’d think Syria would be a big warning that not all problems are US related.

  • In general, he has a point. Depending on the problem, people are motivated by all sorts of things to become part of that problem.

    Well, yes. But that’s like saying Erp’s pablum is generally unobjectionable. Pablum is. That’s its nature. The rub is in making a statement that is so general that it really needs never to have been made. PLUS making it as though you are dropping something insightful from Olympus. Then it’s pablum served as though it is steak smothered in mushrooms. It’s kind of insulting.

    As to the larger issue of ISIS, I think the analogy to Imperial Japan is rather worthwhile. I’d like to think that killing enough jihadists will “de-convert” more marginal jihadis. I certainly think we can hope for that. But the Japanese soldiers of WWII would seem to present a model for another, much more tenacious ISIS that will require a lot more resolve to defeat. Not that we have a choice in what we do. Not, at least, in Realityville.

  • This seems like one of those stories that started at one end of the line sounded one way only to emerge at the end as something else.
    I came across a story a while back that sort of described ISIL recruitment as being based on the “frustrated job seeker” paradigm, but of course it was much more nuanced than anybody at the State Dept could possibly describe in one sentence.

    It seems that ISIL recruitment is based on offering quick advancement on multiple levels.
    1) you get to shoot up shit. This includes multiple weapons of various sizes, including knives and fire. Targets can be cars, buildings and live people.
    2) you get money .. lots of money by basically stealing it .. or extortion .. but hey, your on a “mission from Allah”.
    3) you attain social success by getting the women .. sure some may be slaves but 12th century standards apply here.
    4), you get to be in the inner circles of power in the IS.

    To say that you can counter this kind of salesmanship with a “jobs program” is like saying you can clean the Capitol building with a toothbrush .. it can be done but your going to need a shit load of toothpaste.

  • Well, Mr. Kerry, most people eat shit in one form or another at some point in their live. And most don’t become murderers. How about a hat tip to them instead of putting the burden of those who do onto them as their reward. Instead consider praising them as an example to the rest.

    Reward a child for throwing a tantrum and you should not be surprised if you get more. Basically you’re eager to pay extortion money to someone who hasn’t asked for it, but they will figure it out. And you set precedent which will take a lot of sacrifice and time to undo.

  • Well, in America, poverty is talked up as causing so much strife.

    Yet, I remember this one:

    “Are they criminals because they’re poor, or are they poor because they’re criminals?” (criminal mindset: Inside the Criminal Mind, Dr. Stanton Samenow)

    And as for poverty itself, I’m reminded of this one:

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.” “– Science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein

    A glance back at Ferguson is really revealing regards that one. Islamics do it on a hemispherical scale.

  • I can see it now … Obama to extend the War on Poverty to include ISIL

  • “I have quoted before my old friend Theodore Dalrymple on the purposes of lies in totalitarian societies:

    In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

    We are at war with a depraved enemy, but we cannot be allowed to assert our moral superiority even to head-choppers, rapists, slavers and immolators. Thus the priority of Barack (“Hey, how ’bout those Crusades?”) Obama has been to undermine our sense of probity, and make us not merely equivalent to but worse than our enemies. That was the purpose of this last week of Official Lies.”
    —Mark Steyn, today

    I read someone on Twitchy yesterday say something to the effect…

    1. Collectivists hate patriotism

    2. Collectivist hate worse having their patriotism questioned

    I believe that to be correct.

  • Does anyone else remember when it was our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan that was motivating the terrorists? Although this theory doesn’t seem to have worked out too well in Iraq, I am sure that peace will come to Afghanistan as soon as we Crusaders leave.

    • Gitmo is still open. Plus, there are still Americans and other Westerners in the ME.

      Well, and Spain, Italy, the Baltics…

  • What’s this ISIS sh-t? The REAL fight is against Rudy Giuliani and the GOP. The republicans are the true enemy and Pres. Dreamboat must be protected at all costs.