ISIS and the Continued Selling of Fear

The REAL threat levels.

The REAL threat levels.

As I am writing this the news is awash with updates and bulletins, and even an increased threat level in Britain, on the apparent progress on this Muslim extremist group, ISIS.  Now, as I’ve stated in other posts, I consider myself an average guy in keeping up with current events and trying to meander through the complexities of some issues. But up until a month or two ago no one ever heard of ISIS and now they are being reported as the greatest threat to the world peace.  Huh?  Now I am wondering why I have to add these people to my list of fears (along with the fear of forgetting to apply deodorant or risk public scorn and ridicule, and making sure I am politically correct 24/7 for fear of being called a racist).  The networks the last couple days have been reporting that Britain has gone into their homeland security version of red alert while our own president is saying he’s still working on the problem.  All this started because a reporter got his head lopped off on an internet video?

Where are these guys getting all these nice vehicles? Maybe we should start there.

Where are these guys getting all these nice vehicles? Maybe we should start there.

From my recollection these ISIS guys (and gals) came into the picture when “they” apparently crossed the border from Syria and began taking over towns and villages in Iraq.  It seems their tenacity and battlefield fortitude (and captured American military hardware from the vanishing Iraqi army) sent the Iraqi army scurrying for cover.  Um.. I’m not really surprised at the Iraqi army vanishing under fire.  Their government is in a mumbo-jumbo situation so I always had the feeling that a platoon of Navy Seals could take over the country easy enough.  Anyway, looking at all the news maps showing the growing territorial conquests of ISIS reminds this old baby boomer of those World War II newsreel maps showing the progress of advancing fascism getting closer to our doorstep.  Why am I being told to fear these people (who are allegedly meaner and nastier than Al Quada) and where did they come from and get so powerful (and mean & nasty) so quickly?  Here’s some thoughts…

Sad and tragic, but nothing new.

Sad and tragic, but nothing new.

Heads Falling – Back in the early 2000’s, when we were venturing into Iraq and Afghanistan the news and internet all had pictures of video beheadings of kidnapped American contractors.  I am uncertain as to why the beheading of the reporter, Foley, has struck such a chord as this has been nothing new.  If anything, those contractors were there to build infrastructure in seemingly safe areas.  Foley was there of his own choice, reporting the conflict, and presumably knew the risks of his job.  Tragic, yes… but is that the reason to sell me fear?  Is this going to happen in MY neighborhood?  Not likely.  In fact, man has been decapitating man (and woman) for as long as man has been on this planet (just check with our friends, the French).

“Back in 2004 in Iraq, terrorists filmed the beheadings of Americans Nicholas Berg, Jack Hensley, and Eugene Armstrong. Other victims include Turks, an Egyptian, a Korean, Bulgarians, a British businessman, and a Nepalese. Scores of Iraqis, both Kurds and Arabs, have also fallen victim to Islamist terrorists’ knives. The new fad in terrorist brutality has extended to Saudi Arabia where Islamist terrorists murdered American businessman Paul Johnson, whose head was later discovered in a freezer in an Al-Qaeda hideout.”  (Credit to BareNakedIslam -warning.. very graphic site)  

Yep, it’s horrifying to watch, especially to Western societies not used to seeing this manner of execution.  For Islamist fundamentalists that’s the whole point.. a graphic display to bring out shock and revulsion in the West.  In the case of Mr. Foley, in spite of the act being nothing new from Islamic extremists, it worked.

Graphic Overkill?

Graphic Overkill?

The Conquered Territories – Those maps of advancing ISIS forces and areas under their control are a bit deceiving. I’m sure they have a lot of followers but I dare say some nutcase extremist group does not likely have civil specialists to set up governments and infrastructure that travel in the wake of advancing armies, to control the conquered people.  Likely ISIS’ control is limited to occupations of towns and villages… and not roaming the desert or mountains “on patrol”.  There’s just not enough of them… and most just want to shoot guns and kill people anyway; who wants to do civil work.  Makes more sense for the map makers to just note the towns that have fallen rather than color red all the areas in between just to look more graphically threatening.

Are these guys on their way to a shopping mall near you?

Are these guys on their way to a shopping mall near you?

Terrorists On Their Way! – Just a couple months ago we never heard of these people and now they are already a threat to Britain and apparently the U.S. How did they get from being a localized extremist force in northern Syria and now we are shaking in our pants?  I thought Al Quada was the nasty bunch now it appears this ISIS bunch is far more effective.  Could it be we are jumping to conclusions here?  I recall that the advancing ISIS forces “liberated” a couple Iraqi banks to the tune of a half billion bucks.  Is this how they are getting their financing?  What happened to this money?  Al Quada has been threatening to do dastardly things to us Americans here in the States.  ISIS is two months old and we are already running from fear that the next suicide bomber is headed to as shopping mall near you.  Some of this just doesn’t make a lot of common sense to me.  Does common sense really suggest that in this short time ISIS has built a formidable terrorist cell network inside the Western powers?  C’mon.  Maybe these guys have a bit of finesse in battlefield tactics but do we need to credit them already with having an Al Quada-type network of terror around the world?  Now, this doesn’t mean I think this is some big grand charade or conspiracy theory to fool us poor voters into doing something we’d not normally do.  I think a part of all this is a bit of sensationalism with the press, the effects of instant media, and maybe a fear of loosing the vestiges of an Iraq mission our guys and girls fought and died for.

Maybe Al Quada and ISIS will merge. How's that for fear mongering?

Maybe Al Quada and ISIS will merge. How’s that for fear mongering?

ISIS vs. Al Quada or Is This Now “The ISIS-Al Quada Show”? – From what’s being reported on the news, ISIS is more well-funded than Al Quada, given all the banks that were robbed, and some contributions from viewers like you.  Are both these organizations going to gang up and hit us Westerners, or can we count on political infighting (or real fighting) between the two?  I guess the jury is still out on that possibility.  In the end, radical Muslims are still pissed at Americans for some reason.

My question now is… when will the next Islamic terrorist organization come out of the woodwork?  I’ll just add them to my fear list.  Boy.. life was sure a lot easier when all you had to fear was the IRS.


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