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Is There Irony in ISIS?

Those who follow my blatherings know that I’m a great fan of irony. The latest installment here is the backlash that is emerging against ISIS or ISIL or IS or whatever your favorite abbreviation for the bizarre, reckless and vicious gang of misanthropes currently marauding in the Middle East is. As the great, gray Times notes, the horrific murder by conflagration of a Jordanian pilot is producing a rather impressive backlash.

Why is this ironic? It’s because we created these terrorists. It’s because the inhumane, vicious, violent path that the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld gang took after 9/11 had the same effect. Rather than win some metaphoric war, rather than entice a nation, a region, to adopt an alien way of life, it produced exactly what any moderately insightful psychologist could have told you: it produced a backlash.

Our benighted efforts in Afghanistan, in Iraq to import a Western form of government, a North American sort of culture was doomed to fail.

ISIS’s efforts to establish a twisted version of fundamentalist Islam in the region is doomed to fail and for the same reason. People are, for the most part, comfortable with the lives they live. They are content with their culture, its mores, food, dress, beliefs, the routines that fill their days. They will resist the imposition of another’s values, fight against efforts to import an alien vision. If this isn’t obvious stop for a moment, think how you would react if a wave of acolytes from afar, brandishing weapons and icons of an unfamiliar deity entered your town or village.

The misguided, naive, doomed mission that Bush et al. set us on is now being matched by the equally misplaced rampage of ISIS. Neither can succeed in the long run because both fail to understand that one cannot truly impose one’s will upon another. One cannot force a nation to adopt someone else’s utopian vision any more than one can force someone to love you.

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