Unexamined Premises

In Praise of ISIS's Moral Clarity

The Gathering

The gathering… storm

The ongoing collapse of President Obama’s Middle Eastern foreign policy may, in fact, have a silver lining in ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, now gestating in what is left of the fictional country of “Iraq” and the only slightly less fictional country of “Syria.” Whether by accident born of ignorance and indolence, or design born of cultural affinity, Obama’s thorough trashing of the post-Bush order in Iraq (and, soon enough, in Afghanistan, where the last Marines left on Sunday), has done the world a signal favor that ought to be appreciated and acted upon: it has destroyed the Sykes-Picot Agreement that stood for nearly a century, and bequeathed the modern world so much trouble.

It has also awakened part of the senescent West to the raw barbarism of radical Islam: not simply the beheadings, the rapes and the murders, but the cultural destruction that inevitably follows in the wake of Mohammedan conquest. Say what you will about the Moonies, the Scientologists and the Amish — none of them wants to burn down art galleries and opera houses. But totalitarian Islam does. The Taliban’s demolition of the Bamayan Buddhas in March of 2001 should have served as a warning for the horror that were to come just six months later; now, the ancient Christian communities (which long predate the invention of Islam) have been scattered, along with the priceless cultural artifacts of Mesopotamian civilization. But that is what you get when an alien ideology takes control.

One would think this behavior is self-evidently indefensible, but of course in the burgeoning western suicide cult that is liberal Europe and America, it’s merely hideously fascinating and, at root, justifiable; after all, if we don’t have it coming, who does? As ISIS spreads across what we used to call the “cradle of civilization,” a glance at a map ought to alert everyone to the danger:

Any resemblance to cancer is purely coincidental

Any resemblance to cancer is purely coincidental

At the moment, ISIS is heading east, beating up on the Kurds and doing their best to roll up the Shi’a-led puppet government of “Iraq” and itching for its ultimate confrontation with Shi’ite Iran. But look to the north and west (as the Kurds already know), where the rapidly Islamicizing Turkey (Ataturk and his forcibly secular state are a fading memory) offers a ripe target for the restoration of the Caliphate and payback for the humiliation Ataturk visited upon them:

Atatürk’s attacks on Islam were not limited to the government, however. Everyday life for Turks was also dictated by Atatürk’s secular ideas:

  • Traditional Islamic forms of headdress such as turbans and the fez were outlawed in favor of Western-style hats.
  • The hijaab for women was ridiculed as a “ridiculous object” and banned in public buildings.
  • The calendar was officially changed, from the traditional Islamic calendar, based on the hijrah – Prophet Muhammad ﷺ’s flight to Madinah – to the Gregorian calendar, based on the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • In 1932, the adhan – the Muslim call to prayer – was outlawed in Arabic. Instead, it was rewritten using Turkish words and forced upon the country’s thousands of mosques.
  • Friday was no longer considered part of the weekend. Instead, Turkey was forced to follow European norms of Saturday and Sunday being days off from work.

After all of these changes, the Grand National Assembly gave up the charade in 1928 and deleted the clause in the constitution that declared Islam as the official state religion. Islam had been replaced with Atatürk’s secular ideologies.

That was then and this is now. Lately the ISIS advance has slowed and should they fail to take Baghdad — and the half-hearted U.S. response is not going to deter them; only Shi’ite resistance can do that — the savages of ISIS may well turn their attention to softer targets in Syria and even Turkey; and from Turkey, the soft underbelly of Europe — Greece, Muslim Albania and the former Muslim provinces of Bulgaria and parts of Hungary — are just a short boat ride away. When you have revanchism on your mind, expansion or extinction are the only choices:

Back to the future?

Back to the future?

So what’s to like? Just this:

An ISIS victory over Iraq and Syria — and some form of caliphate — would free western governments from having to worry about imaginary issues of national sovereignty, not just in those two “countries” but elsewhere in the Muslim world. One of the things that has crippled the western response to 9/11 and to the ongoing assaults against our societies in Europe, Canada and the United States was a misguided worry that we had no nation-state to target. (Saudi Arabia should properly have been the focus of American ire on 9/12, not Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.) Hampered by a government of lawyers and bound by the legal fictions of the French and British foreign offices, it was easier for the Bush administration to trump up a bill of leftover particulars against Saddam’s basket-case Baathist state than it was politically palatable and militarily feasible to go after not a nation, but significant portions of an ummah, on whose behalf the 9/11 murderers were claiming to act. With the Twin Towers still smoldering, Americans were constantly reminded by their government and their media (but I repeat myself) that we were not at war with Islam, but with “terror” — this despite the fact that al-Qaeda and now ISIS have made it pretty clear that they consider theuir fundamentalist brand of Islam to be at war with us.

ISIS thus become the western diplomat’s worst nightmare: an out and proud, self-proclaimed unabashedly Islamic enemy. It offers moral clarity to Foggy Bottom, Whitehall and the Élysée Palace, where none is wished. Should ISIS succeed in carving up the now-rump states of Syria and Iraq and creating some sort of new quasi-political entity based not on a constitution but a religion, it will pose an enormous challenge to the west: a sitting target, openly hostile, actively engaged in an ongoing attack upon our societies. Then what will we do?