Friday, February 06, 2015

the return of intimate killing...,


theatlantic |  “We must make this battle very violent,” wrote the Islamist strategist Abu Bakr Naji in his 2004 book The Management of Savagery. Naji—whose thinking paralleled that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the deceased leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has since morphed into ISIS—argued that merciless violence was necessary for the creation of a “pure” Sunni caliphate. Softness, he warned, spelled failure, citing the example of the Companions of the Prophet, who “burned [people] with fire, even though it is odious, because they knew the effect of rough violence in times of need.”

The conventional wisdom holds that ISIS’s savagery will be its undoing—that it will alienate ordinary Muslims, and that without their support the group cannot succeed. But what this view overlooks is that ISIS’s jihad, as its progenitor Zarqawi well understood, isn’t about winning hearts and minds. It is about breaking hearts and minds. ISIS doesn’t want to convince its detractors and enemies. It wants to command them, if not destroy them altogether. And its strategy for achieving this goal seems to be based on destroying their will through intimate killing. This, in part, is what the group’s staged beheadings are about: They subliminally communicate ISIS’s proficiency in the art of the intimate kill. And this terrifies many people, because they sense just how hard it is to do.

The beheadings also serve as a dramatic counterpoint to al-Qaeda’s use of remote improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in attacks, and to Western shock-and-awe-style military campaigns. The subtext of the videos appears to be: You—America and your allies—kill with drones and missiles. We—the true Muslims—kill with our bare hands. You hide behind your military hardware and lack the courage to fight. We stand here tall, holding aloft our swords and the Quran. We will conquer you because our will is greater than yours, because there is nothing we will not do in defense of our just and holy cause.
 
One could argue that there is precedent in Islamic theology and history for this kind of ruthlessness. But the approach also has echoes in the Western world. Consider the logic behind the Allied shock-and-awe “area bombings” of German cities during the Second World War, where thousands of innocent civilians were murdered for the purpose of ending the war and stopping the advance of fascism in Europe. Or the logic behind the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “The policy of attacking the civilian population in order to induce an enemy to surrender or to damage his morale,” wrote the American philosopher Thomas Nagel, “seems to have been widely accepted in the civilized world.”

10 comments:

Ed Dunn said...

Well it is true. 100 years ago we celebrated Sgt. York to went to the enemy and fought and increased morale. Today Americans celebrate some punk ass sniper that kills from a distance and call him a hero...

CNu said...

Reason I put Chomsky in there talking about how the poor were structurally flushed down the toilet ~1975, was because of this On January 27, 1973, Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird announced the creation of an all-volunteer armed forces, negating the need for the military draft.

On March 29, 1975, President Ford signed Proclamation 4360 (Terminating Registration Procedures Under Military Selective Service Act), eliminating the registration requirement for all 18–25 year old male citizens.[14]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Service_System


The U.S. military was the single most important factor for progress in the 20th century. Conscription coupled with G.I. standardization caused more and more profound integration across class, race, and other lines than any other mass movement in U.S. history. The fact that the military and its leadership was made up from all walks of life and that war was an intimate literal hell - was a long-term social game changer.



Islam was the original anti-tribal unification movement in the world. ISIS/Daesh seems to understand at least some of that on an historical and interpersonal basis and is actively and ruthlessly harnessing that impulse and those methods for its own ends, challenging all-comers in the process. Governing elites in the U.S. seem to have largely forgotten what made this country powerful, and are still stuck on some deluded fantasies about shock and awe and being welcomed with flowers in Baghdad.

rohan said...

Hindu Unilever stays ready to help Bobby overcome his low-caste gollywog blues http://youtu.be/fHhKqgOiAs0

John Kurman said...

The real objection is that Bubbles the chimp ain't in the picture. http://www.billboard.com/files/styles/promo_650/public/media/koons-michael-jackson-bubbles-billboard-650.jpg

rohan said...

Bobby just needs to get him some fair and lovely http://youtu.be/fHhKqgOiAs0 - and since it's made from pig tallow, he can rest easy that these radical muslims won't be escaping their low-caste gollywog status any time soon.

rohan said...

Bobby just needs to get him some fair and lovely

http://youtu.be/fHhKqgOiAs0

- and since it's made from pig tallow, he can rest easy that these radical muslims won't be escaping their low-caste gollywog status any time soon.

woodensplinter said...

Do you believe Abu Bakr is leading ISIS?The governor said he believed the man who appeared in a video making a speech from Mosul's al-Nuri mosque on 5 July was indeed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Isis's leader. In the footage, Baghdadi proclaimed a new Islamic caliphate stretching from Iraq to Syria, with himself as its ruler. "I think he is a simple man," the governor said. "It wasn't a high-level speech."

Nujaifi said the choice of the 900-year-old mosque, known for its wonky minaret, and elaborate brickwork, was deliberate. It evoked a historical war against the Shia, he said: in the 12th century Nur al-Din set off from the mosque to defeat the Shia Fatamid caliphate in Cairo.

One former Saddam-era general, now in Kurdish Irbil, said he had shared a cell with Baghdadi back in 2004. Both were imprisoned by the Americans in Abu Ghraib, in camp C, just outside Baghdad, he said. The general said the prison become a training school for Sunni militants who would go on to take part in the growing insurgency against US forces. "I would give lectures on special forces training," he said wryly.

He described Baghdadi as an "average guy". "He was a normal fighter, one of thousands who fought the Americans. He smoked a lot. Strange to think he is now leading Isis."http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/new-militant-group-replaces-isis-mosul

Ed Dunn said...

I do not think ISIS is being "led" like Western propagandists wants. I believe ISIL is really an information framework and a stand-alone complex. The hostage killings are nothing but morale builders of the whole unit as the article indicates and there are local leaders passing around information to their band of ruthless mercenaries.


This is the part that I just cannot understand - why does Western media and Westerners think there is some solo individual bad guy at the top like this is some evil movie where you have to fight up to the boss level and take out the boss at the end? That only happens in kung-fu and bruce willis movies. The truth is that the only leader of ISIL is downstreamed information

CNu said...

Ed, I think Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri and an ambiguous blend of Bathist and Naqshbandi sufis are the strategic and operational anchor and leadership of what's underway in Iraq. I think they're at odds with Maliki's shi-ite majority government, and I think they're at odds with the house of Saud, Tehran, and Tel-Aviv.

That said, having a multi-lateral salafist front Daesh for recruitment and boots on the ground fighting would be most helpful for these serious, deep state operators. Like you, I believe that Daesh is not what it appears to be, but behind it, there is a very old and far-reaching something (naqshbandi) who have quite specific aims on the immense wealth under the Iraqi sands.

woodensplinter said...

Quite:After the first Gulf War, Saddam constructed “an entire underground apparatus for counter-revolution and took precautions to strengthen his conventional military deterrents”. Secret networks of safe houses and
arms caches, along with militias, were created by men such as Saddam’s vice-president Izzat Ibrahim Al Douri to crush internal rebellion, but were deployed against US troops. Al Douri, the highest-ranking Baathist official to evade capture, is believed to have taken refuge in Syria, only re-emerging in news reports when ISIL took Mosul last June.

Yet, as Hassan and Weiss write, collaboration between extremists and former Baathists began years before the takeover of Mosul. Unable to work in the public sector in post-Saddam Iraq because of US-imposed “de-Baathification” policies, many former members of the party instead joined the insurgency. In its final years, when Saddam had tried to
give his regime more of a religious tinge, men like Al Douri, part of a Sufi order, held great sway. It was Saddam that prepared Iraq for the joining of Baathism and radical Islam.

“We tend to remember his regime as ‘secular’, which it was up to a point. But after the First Gulf War, he sought to fortify his regime against foreign fundamentalist opponents, such as Iran’s mullahs. Thus he Islamised his regime, adding the phrase Allahu Akbar to the Iraqi flag and introducing a host of draconian punishments, most of which
were based on Sharia law: thieves would have their hands amputated, while draft dodgers and deserters from the military would lose their ears.”

The decade-long marriage of extremists and former Baathists, with their military skills and intimate knowledge of Iraq and Syria’s tribal landscape, goes a long way in explaining the success and sustainability of ISIL. “In a sense, then, ‘secular’ Baathism has returned to Iraq under the guise of Islamic fundamentalism – less a contradiction than it may appear,” the authors write.

The extremist group was quick to see potential in the ­Sunni-dominated uprising against Bashar Al Assad in Syria. The regime was also desperate to portray the uprising against it as run by extremists, and the authors describe how Assad’s intelligence agencies facilitated the extremists’ rise.

The detailing of these relationships between extremists and Assad is one of the strongest sections in the book. In showing how Assad and Saddam were able to manipulate the West, ISIS paints a picture of a wealthy movement that is around to stay, fostered by inaction, the allure of militancy and regimes willing to tolerate it exactly because it is such a chilling threat.http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/the-review/fear-and-fundamentalism-inside-the-terror-group-isil#full