Understanding ISIS

You need to understand your enemies.  You may discover you can coexist with them.  You may discover you cannot: you may need to defeat them.   Either way, it's crucial to understand their motivations and their goals.

By "understanding" I don't mean "sympathy".   Even if you want to destroy something, you need to understand how it works - or you may fail, unless you're vastly more powerful. 

We've been complaining a lot about ISIS, but not working hard enough to understand them.   Perhaps this is because we believe we're so powerful that understanding is not necessary?  Or that "evil" is a sufficient explanation? 

Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, is wiser:

We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it.  We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.

The article here is an attempt to understand ISIS, so it's worth reading even if it's not completely right.

Here's something Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the chief spokesman for ISIS, recently said:

We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women.  If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

The article argues that he means this quite literally, and tries to explain where this goal comes from.
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