During my short August sabbatical, ISIS again dominated news coverage. I may not have posted anything here, but rest assured my Godless friends, I weathered many slings and arrows fired by my right-wing Texas pals about how ISIS is the new biggest threat ever and it’s all Obama’s fault. Each winger being either blissfully unaware or willfully ignorant in his or her own way of the fact that roughly 100% of non-partisan Middle East analysts worried or flat out predicted that the Bush led 2003 Iraq invasion would ultimately generate even more violent Muslim extremists than we were already facing.
ISIS has garnered compliments for their deft use of social media in proudly spreading images of dismembered heads. Maybe the average head-chopping fanatic is feeling the heat of that negative manly PR, because they’re now reportedly making a concerted effort to woo more women:
TIME Online — ISIS’s social media campaign to recruit women isn’t nearly as developed as the one that calls for fighters, but it doesn’t have to be. Western women inspired by fighters’ postings can find like-minded women among the followers, and build a community. From there they easily find the Twitter pages and Tumblr accounts of women who have already made it to Syria — women like Al-khanssa, whose Tumblr photo-blog is full of guidance for would-be female jihadis. She offers advice on what to bring (warm clothes, a hair dryer) and what not to bring (coffee and tea – easy to find) interspersed with Koranic verses, religious instructions culled from Islamic websites and photos of Osama bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam.
I’m a bit conflicted about ISIS. On the one hand, it’s downright delightful anytime bombs rain down on bands of murderous zealots and serial psychopaths who cloak their bloodlust in the trappings of medieval religious fanaticism. On the other hand, America’s pathological addiction to being scared shitless 24/7 is so great that having 5000 nuclear armed Soviet ICBMs pointed at as for forty years just didn’t satisfy the craving.
I’m old enough to remember everything from North Vietnam to Iran to Nicaragua to North Korea being pitched as the greatest existential threat of all time to world order, mom, and apple pie (And anytime we run of out regimes to be afraid of, we can always gin up a little anxiety over alien kidnappers, violent video games, or demons tormenting those poor unlucky souls who were Left Behind). Enter ISIS, stage right. There’s something about past examples of national hysteria in the light of reports and punditry now focused on these barbaric clowns that feels awfully familiar to anyone who remembers the run-up to the Iraq War, and a bunch of other candidates for number one scariest enemy in the history of history.