Bookworm Room quotes a German journalist who embedded with ISIL and cannot come to grips with what he learned there:
Something that I don’t understand at all is the enthusiasm in their plan of religious cleansing, planning to kill the non-believers…. They also will kill Muslim democrats because they believe that non-ISIL-Muslims put the laws of human beings above the commandments of God.
These were very difficult discussions, especially when they were talking about the number of people who they are willing to kill. They were talking about hundreds of millions. They were enthusiastic about it, and I just cannot understand that.
Bookworm Room responds:
I don’t believe in any of that “peaceful solution” talk. I believe that, when people have imbibed with their mother’s milk a toxic ideology dedicated to murdering and enslaving all but a select few, they don’t just walk away from it or wear themselves out in a few months or years. Instead, if unchecked, they spread a wide swath of death and destruction. Look at how the Soviets managed to kill endlessly for seventy years while the Chinese communists kept the bodies piling up for forty years. Between the two of them, guesstimates as to the violent and vile deaths they cause[d] run between 70,000,000 and 100,000,000 children, women, and men.
The reason that the German Nazi and Japanese Bushido culture didn’t achieve the decades’-long “success” that the Soviets and ChiCom did (although not for want of trying) is because the Allies — inspired by Churchill and powered by America — destroyed them. We didn’t do targeted strikes. We didn’t engage in endless rounds of peace talks. We didn’t diddle away time with partially enforced sanctions. We didn’t back down when they threatened us.
Huffington Post mused on Japan:
Much of Japan lay in ruins after the war, devastated by air raids and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet the country’s economy grew so fast that by 1964, Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games. Japan adopted a new, progressive constitution, allied with the United States and enshrined limits on the use of military force.
In 50 years, what will ISIL's territory look like?


Grim said...

Now, they're not going to kill everyone. They've got surprisingly-developed plans for some of their captives.

Texan99 said...

Well, sure, they said they were going to kill people, not women. They'll probably leave some livestock alive, too.

Grim said...

It's a practice that dates at least to the Greeks at Troy -- kill the men and boys, enslave the women. I was just reading a paper about it last week which located the end of the practice in the High Middle Ages, when Christian assertions that it was unacceptable to enslave other Christians finally penetrated most of Europe. Even at the tag-end of the Viking age, on the fringes of Europe slaves were usually women.

The fascinating claim the paper made was that we have a wrong view of slavery in the earlier times arising from the structure of modern slavery, in which male slaves were more valuable because they could do more work. In the earlier times, female slaves were much more valuable and expensive. Slave-taking raids generally killed men and took women and girls as slaves.

The turning point in Britain seems to be quite late, as the Viking influence in Scotland was very strong. As late as the 1100s there was a raid into England in which large numbers of women and girls were taken back north as slaves. Once back over the border, though, the Scots got to feeling bad about it and turned their share over to the Church for repatriation. The non-Christian raiders apparently did not.

Texan99 said...

Good old days.

Grim said...

My concern is that it may be only Christianity that restrained it. The High Middle Ages were the point at which Christianity finally came to be the dominant social system even in the fringes of Europe, and slavery in general ceased to be practiced there -- especially female slavery, which had been predominant.

During the race-based slavery of the modern age, the norm was weakened by the invention of racism, but even so people were nervous about it: you weren't supposed to teach slaves to read or about the Bible, in part because it was easier to feel good about enslaving 'black savages' -- and not as easy to feel good about enslaving fellow Christians. And of course the abolitionists were also Great Awakening people; as were the successful Civil Rights movement advocates, especially MLK.

From WWI, Western societies that dominated the world began to withdraw from it, but they left behind (and returned sometimes to enforce) Christian mores. After WWII, this pace quickened. The United States was the last such actor, and we left Iraq to the savages (as we are abandoning our own faith at home, at least as an ordering principle of ordinary public morality).

So is it a surprise to see a pattern as old as ancient Greece emerging again, in the absence of the one force that restrained it? Is there another way to restrain it? I wonder.

Texan99 said...

I'm not convinced, either. It's one reason I'm glad I live where and when I do.

james said...

Are you sure it was mostly female slavery? I seem to recall reading a book on Islamic/Arabic slavery where razzias in Africa netted two popular categories of male slaves: eunuchs (they weren't supposed to do this to fellow Muslims) and mine and possibly plantation workers (who seem also to have contributed nothing to the gene pool of the area). Of course the Turks took slaves to turn into soldiers, but they're not Arabs.

Grim said...


You can read the article here. The historian could, of course, be wrong in his claims. He opens this way:

"In a recent summary of the impact of chivalric ideals on the conduct of war, the discontinuance of the ancient practice of enslaving prisoners in wars between Christians has been identified as ‘the most striking innovation. In this paper I shall argue that this most striking innovation was fundamental to the emergence of an effective notion of non-combatant immunity, itself widely regarded as the key norm in modern discussions of ius in bello.... Since women and children were, as I shall argue, the preferred form of human cattle, it follows that the discontinuance of slaving within Western Christendom marked a fundamental shift in the warriors’ attitude to women, in this sense a crucial - though still largely unremarked - step in the direction of a more chivalrous way of war."

douglas said...

"My concern is that it may be only Christianity that restrained it."

I'd have to say that's correct. And part of the reason I figure in time, it'll be a war of the Judeo-Christian West vs. the Islamist world. Whether we like it or not.

As to the question of ISIL's (I thought we were calling them Daesh?)territory?