The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

On the Appeal of Terrorism

So, what goes on in the heads of Islamic terrorists? Barack
Obama says their massive, continuing murder sprees have nothing to do with
Islam. The Prime Minister of Denmark, which has experienced multiple Islamic
terrorist attacks over the last week, agreed with Obama that they had nothing
to do with Islam, but did admit they were terrorist attacks. Ms.
Thorning-Schmidt sought to calm tensions after the attacks, saying, “This
is not a war
between Islam and the West….We feel certain now that it was a
politically motivated attack, and thereby it was a terrorist attack,” she said.
If the violent suppression of freedom of speech is a “politically motivated
attack, and if she is certain of that, why deny it has nothing to do with
to reporters in Copenhagen on Sunday, according to Danish television station
TV2, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt said: “This is not a war between Islam and the West.
We will do our best to defend our democracy and Denmark.”
In the name of what politics were the attacks on a meeting about freedom
of speech in Copenhagen and on a newspaper in Paris launched? No answer. Blank
International Business Times
on February 2nd carried a lengthy reiteration
of Obama’s standard denial that Islam:
U.S. President
Barack Obama refused to consider it a “religious war” to fight against
terrorism. He continued to avoid the phrase “Islamic extremism” as he said that
the majority of Muslims “reject” such an ideology.
Obama said that
he would not give a religious colour to the war against terrorism. He warned
against the danger of “overinflating” the threat of terrorist organisations. He
added that the United States should align itself with the majority of Muslims
who disapproved of terror groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State. He said that
the most of the Muslims reject the radical views of those organisations….
Obama said that
“99.9 percent of Muslims” believed in what everyone believed in: “order, peace,
prosperity.” He added that the “hearts and minds” of young people in the Middle
East and South Asia should be won back as the particular regions had become the
“ground zero.”
Obama insisted
on a “surgical, precise response” to a very specific problem. He said that
terrorist organizations would be defeated as they did not have a vision which
ordinary people found appealing.
And if countless “ordinary people” find that vision appealing? Do we
tell them, “It’s bad for you. You might be shot and it’s not nice”? Do we
eliminate the “visionaries” with “precise” drone strikes or by the elimination
of states that sponsor terrorism, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran? Turn every
square inch of territory that ISIS has conquered into parking lots of melted
glass? Create vast acres of the bodies of napalmed ISIS fighters in Syria and
Iraq and Libya? (Call it the Jordanian pilot treatment.) Send all those “ordinary
people” to de-programming camps so they can get their minds right? How many
millions of Muslims are we talking about here? Americans are getting tired of
our panicky, hand-wringing political leaders and the MSM crying, every time
Islam strikes, “Oh! What to do?? What to do??”
Islam is an ideology and it’s an ideology Obama is friendly to, given
his power grabs in this country, and one which has Europeans shaking in their
boots. The Europeans don’t dare name Islam as the root motive for terrorism lest
they push the hot buttons of their new immigrant Danes, Swedes, Norwegians,
Finns, Germans, French, Spanish, Italians, Austrians, Swiss, Belgians, and
Dutchmen who are likely to go berserk in their quest for “order, peace, and
prosperity.” The only prominent European brave and prescient enough to name the
enemy is Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is regularly persecuted by his own
But, what makes a terrorist tick?
Tablet Magazine ran an article by Paul Berman on January 28th, “Why
Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing?
” He opens with:
Why do people
who are not clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and
suicide? The sociological answer to this question assumes a pettiness in human
nature, such that even the slightest of humiliations and misfortunes may be
regarded as sufficiently devastating, under certain conditions, as to sweep
aside the gravest of moral considerations.
I rather think that such people are criminally, not clinically crazy,
their “craziness” being no ameliorating defense or excuse for why they commit
murder, rape, deliberate destruction, and continue to attack Jews and other
“infidels.” At the risk of sounding like a xenophobe (or an “Islamophobe,” if
you like), I would say these people’s “mental” problems would be of no concern
to the West if they’d remained in their own pestholes of origin where they
could murder, rape, honor kill, and slaughter members of competing Islamic
“flocks” to their hearts’ desire. Instead, Western governments have invited
them in to civilized societies by the boat- and plane-full and don’t mind if
they bring their “cultures” with them in the name of their pitiless god,
However, Berman writes:
I prefer to
invoke the history of ideas. People throw themselves into campaigns of murder
and suicide because they have come under the influence of malign doctrinal
systems, which appear to address the most profound and pressing of human
problems—and do so by openly rebelling against the gravest of moral
considerations. Doctrines of this sort render their adepts mad, not in a
clinical sense but in an everyday sense. And the power to drive people mad
comes precisely from the profundity, or the seeming profundity—which is what
everyone else fails to see.
Yes, it has something to do with ideas, in this case, the totalitarian
nature of Islam.
Berman concludes:
Why, then, do
people who are not clinically insane throw themselves into this kind of
insanity? Why do they do so even in the world’s wealthiest and most peaceful of
countries? They do so because the apocalyptic dreams and the cult of hatred and
murder and the yearning for death are fundamentals of modern culture. They
enlist because they are unhappy, and the eschatological rebellion against
everyday morality satisfies them. The Islamist idea, in its most extreme
version especially, offers every solace that a mopey young person could desire.
Tablet carried another article, by Nancy Hartevelt Korbin on February
11th, “Sadomasochism
and the Jihadi Death Cult
.” Korbin writes:
Paul Berman’s
recent essay
in Tablet magazine “Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing?” is a
wonderful piece on the history of Islamist ideas, but Berman does not really
answer the question that he poses in his first line: “Why do people who are not
clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide?”
Berman’s conclusion is that “apocalyptic dreams, the cult of hatred and murder
and yearning for death” born of unhappiness is what motivates Islamist
terrorists, and further that “eschatological rebellion against everyday
morality satisfies them.”
Korbin comes closer than Berman to an answer to the question of why so
many people are drawn to the jihadist life.
But is that why
they do it? Is that what motivates men in hoods to publicly decapitate an
individual with a knife, or pose smiling with the severed
of a woman, or put bullets into the heads of hundreds of captives and
toss them into the river, or most recently throw
a prisoner into a cage and light him on fire? Berman addresses the ideological
part of the problem, but buried deeper is the psychological pull of
sadomasochism—the thrill of violence, power, and control that comes from
inflicting pain on others. This is the unspoken driver of the appeal of the
Islamic State and similar groups.
In a word: Nihilism. For what is a sadomasochist but a nihilist who
experiences a sense of existential efficacy by inflicting pain on his victims,
either the drawn-out pain of a man in a cage set on fire, or the fleeting pain
of individuals crushed and incinerated in a jet plane as it strikes a
skyscraper, or the pain of a man feeling his head being sawn off?
In the final analysis, jihadists do what they do because it is what they
choose to do. Their militant professions
of love for Allah and acting out a variety of by-the-book Koranic diktats of
Mohammad disguise a profound hatred of existence, especially a hatred for those
who appear to be living happy, successful lives. The Islamic “faith” is
nihilistic. It appeals to those who are unhappy with being alive and unhappy
that others are happy to be alive. Islam does not offer them a reason to live, it
does not offer them an automatic set of goals and rewards to reach by living by a certain ethos.
On the surface, that is sadomasochism. But, existentially, that is
nihilism, whose end is to destroy the good for being the good.
Islam’s chief appeal to Islamic
terrorists is that it offers them a chance to escape life, to escape existence. They rationalize their
brutality by saying or thinking that what they choose to do in the name of Allah is to destroy those who deny
Allah, and in the most hideous ways possible. As the terrorists hate their own
existence, they wish to make their victims regret
their own existence. The ethereal reward of a paradise with seventy-two
virgins, if any Muslim really believes in such a thing, to an Islamic terrorist
ready to “martyr” himself is the mental mirage of eternal, effortless, causeless, purposeless, selfless existence.
One cannot dismiss the element of volition when examining the motives
and actions of Islamic terrorists. They choose
to kill for the sake of killing. And that choice reflects a life-long affinity
with nihilism, from early childhood up thru adulthood.
Yes, Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt, there is a war between the West
and Islam, and to grasp the reality of it, one must first grasp the anti-life
core of Islam. If you think that life
is the motive and fuel of Islamic terrorists, you are badly and perilously


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  1. Joe

    Spot on Ed… Must be why the islamapologists can't admit these attacks aren't random. They recognize at some level the connection to their own root philosophy.

  2. Edward Cline

    Joe: It's so elemental to me, the motivations of the jihadis — to achieve non-existence — that I'm surprised that career analysts like Berman and Korbin and others don't reach the same conclusions. Perhaps it's the horror of nihilism that stops them from taking their thinking a bit farther.

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