May 20, 2015

SERIOUSLY, THIS GUY IS BRAIN DEAD:  William Saletan at Slate has perhaps the most idiotic piece on ISIS that I have ever read, the central thesis of which is that ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “sounds like a Republican candidate for president.” His argument:

Rhetorically, ISIS and the GOP are in perfect harmony.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. On Thursday his media team released a speech in which the would-be caliph presents his views on Islam, tolerance, and sectarian violence. Baghdadi sounds like a Republican candidate for president. Here’s what he says:

1. This is a war between Muslims and non-Muslims. ISIS, like al-Qaida, can’t wage a global or even regional war with 30,000 fighters. To build popular support, it needs to frame the conflict in religious terms. That’s why Baghdadi agrees with American conservatives who say our enemy is Islam:

O Muslims! Do not think the war that we are waging is the Islamic State’s war alone. Rather, it is the Muslims’ war altogether. It is the war of every Muslim in every place. … O Muslims everywhere, has the time not come for you to realize the truth of the conflict and that it is between disbelief and faith? … This war is only against you and against your religion.

2. Coexistence is impossible. Is authentic Islam compatible with Western values? Many conservative activists and politicians say it isn’t. This belief suits Baghdadi. He tells Muslims that they must choose:

O Muslims! Whoever thinks that it is within his capacity to conciliate with the Jews, Christians, and other disbelievers, and for them to conciliate with him, such that he coexists with them and they coexist with him while he is upon his religion and upon tawhīd (monotheism), then he has belied the explicit statement of his Lord (the Mighty and Majestic), who says, “And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. … And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion.”

3. Islam is a religion of war. Santorum, Rudy Giuliani, and other Republicans say ISIS has a scriptural basis for its violence. Two weeks ago Jeb Bush said “part” of the Muslim world was “not a religion of peace.” Baghdadi, too, rejects the religion-of-peace narrative:

O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war. Your Prophet (peace be upon him) was dispatched with the sword as a mercy to the creation. He was ordered with war until Allah is worshipped alone. He (peace be upon him) said to the polytheists of his people, “I came to you with slaughter.” … He never for a day grew tired of war.

The religion-of-war narrative, whatever its scholarly merits, serves political interests on both sides. It gives the Republicans red meat for the primaries, and it helps Baghdadi persuade Muslims that they’re commanded by God to support ISIS.  . . .

Republicans seem determined to prove Baghdadi right. . . .The convergence of Republican rhetoric with jihadist propaganda isn’t new. It’s been building ever since George W. Bush left the White House. Liberated from presidential responsibility, Republicans degenerated into a party that uses Islam for domestic politics instead of thinking about how their words resonate overseas. That’s how they became backup singers for Osama Bin Laden. Now they’re working for Baghdadi.

So given all these statements from al-Baghdadi, somehow this guy concludes that this is not a religious war being waged by ISIS and that we if we’ll all just chill, we can peacefully coexist with them?  And more specifically, if anyone tries to suggest–such as, say, a Republican–that ISIS is waging a religious war and isn’t interested in peace, they are somehow “determined to prove Baghdadi right” and “working for” the ISIS leader?

Oy veh– the stupidity, it burns.  This guy is a poster child for the lack of critical thinking skills that emerge from our educational system.

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