Interview with a captured ISIS commander

Originally published at:



I will have to read this later, but I do enjoy first hand relations of experience like this.

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I haven’t read the entire thing, but this seems like another example of the banality of evil.



Did you ever know a Sunni personally who was hurt by a Shia Muslim, I asked?

“No. Just rumors,” he admitted.

Head, meet desk.

That such an ignorant and superstition-plagued born loser could reach a command position in Daesh is a testament to the dysfunctional society of the Islamic “State.” Even so, this mope was responsible for dozens of deaths. His belated realisation that he destroyed the truly important things in his own life is a worse punishment than the execution that awaits him, but it still does nothing to counterbalance the mindless destruction this Know-Nothing wrought with such ease.

To a degree, yes. However, the banality of evil usually implies Eichmann’s boring careerist competence. This guy didn’t have to work for his promotions, he just had to wait a relatively short time while even bigger idiots got themselves killed or captured.


Did you ask him what it feels like to have someone pour gas on him and then lite it?


Its not personal, its a human condition that people in power exploit. I just spent 4 hours arguing with a well educated and compasionate friend why all refugees are not terrorists.

Sure we need to prosecute the assholes in society, but to actually stop the cycle we need to get at a deeper understanding. Why are feelings more relatable than actual data?


The question contains the answer. {/zen]


@beschizza Just a heads up that the “Arabic” in this post’s header image is totally wrong…it’s somehow mirrored along the left-to-right axis AND all the letters are separated so that they don’t form actual words?? It seems like it’s meant to say “Islamic State” in Arabic, if so, it should look like the red text in the attached image. (Source: I am a native Arabic speaker)


Shoop, dere it is!
Party people
Yeah Pixel Team music
In Full Effect

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Good thing that such a credulous bigot could never reach any position of responsibility in the West.


No doubt, but in certain dysfunctional cultures sensibility (in Austen’s version of the term) becomes more exploitable than sense. That’s how you get a credentialed (if not educated) man with a family chucking it all to Peter-Principle his way up the chain of command of a criminal organisation and then into custody as a despised POW.

That he’s likely an arsehole to match Walter White is almost a side issue. As we see, American culture is certainly degrading to the point where we’ll see more of his ilk here.

Jinx, you owe me a Coke!


Agreed! So what can we do? Facts dont seem to work. I fantasize about masses of people coming together and working out feelings and issues our goverments cannot, but i feel the ones in power will easily destroy those attempts as well.

The Love Trumps Hate thing is popular, but we dont seem to have very many examples of it, in fact history shows aggression usually wins.


Degrading? I’m telling you it is a human condition, this is not a functional vs dysfunctional culture thing, in fact that theory is slightly xenophobic and only proving the point.

The US actually had women campaigning against their right to vote!
The US was initially reluctant to bring in Jewish immigrants, even though we already knew about the mass genocide, because of the very same fear based rhetoric used today.

It’s not us vs them, it is us. It is all of us.


For those of us more enlightened, yes, the world is our tribe.
But those who are uneducated and fearful tend not to be so broad-minded and egalitarian.
This is one of the greater failings of many education systems, the fact that there is no “other”.
Of course this only benefits the powers-that-be, ready to divide and conquer at the drop of a statesman.


I can’t help thinking of a woman friend of ours, an Anglican (~Episcopalian) who was opposed to the ordination of women. Right up till the Bishop suggested she should go into holy orders and she recently retired as rector of a number of parishes.
A lot of people, even highly intelligent ones, find it easy to accept that things as they are, are how they are supposed to be, until something shakes the dice and they land in a new configuration. The problem is that the new configuration is not always better than the old one.

Incidentally, in Syria the Government army is, I believe, majority Sunni but, compared to the “rebels” and Daesh, relatively tolerant and secular. It’s a simplification to assume that ME wars are mainly about Shia and Sunni. Sir John Glubb once wrote that the history of the region tends to be battles for power between whoever rules in Damascus and whoever rules in Baghdad, with various warrior bands and warlords also getting involved. What is happening now seems to be fairly par for the course.


[quote=“vonbobo, post:14, topic:91912”]So what can we do?

Generally, civil institutions moderate the worst of human impulses. I’m not saying they are a panacea or purely a force for good, but they are a tool that helps societies survive outbreaks of idiocy.

The internet is really good at destroying institutions, but so far, not so great at building new ones to replace those that have been torn down. How can we do better? I don’t have a blueprint for building civil institutions in the internet age. But we really need to figure that out.


The existence of arseholes is part of the human condition. Various cultures reward or discourage their toxic behaviour to one degree or another, and the U.S. seems to be sliding backwards toward the former kind of culture, one that existed here during the late 19th century.

The U.S. and Great Britain had women campaigning against their right to vote in the early 20th century because the sexist culture of the time still had a lot of them convinced that women having the vote was wrong – many of them still believed that long after 1920. It was ultimately a demographic problem that the Grim Reaper solved in its own time.

The U.S. was reluctant to bring in Jewish immigrants during the Nazi era because of bog-standard religious bigotry and racism – mass Jewish immigration and assimilation over the preceding half century had made public arguments for exclusion based on “alien Jewish culture” pointless by the time of the St Louis incident. Most of the refugees coming to Europe are doing so to flee not only conflict but the broken culture that provides kindling for that conflict. In 50 years most of them will be assimilated and the nativists’ statements that they are trying to change Western culture will be equally ridiculous.


Fear is a mechanism built into our survival, it’s in our “DNA”, and I’m unsure you can educate away fear.

And I’m not just being combative, rather I am just searching for answers like the rest of us. I had zero idea that we could step backwards so easily, it’s kind of like the world I lived in is gone (I know that is short sighted to say from my nice little warm room of my quiet and peaceful little house- just another thing I have to come to terms with).