We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Many articles I read about Jihadists refer to "disaffected youth," even this one about the Algerian beheading of the French hiker.
I am sorry to say that these are not "disaffected youth" (as if they were Holden Caulfields or Benjamin Braddocks), they are deeply "affected" people from all walks of life who do not mind dying for their beliefs. They are true believers, Muslim fundies following their scripture and their religious leaders. Any efforts to psychologize them are amateurish, naive, ignorant, and Western cultural-centric.
Multicultural dogma says that we must comprehend people in the context of their cultures, not in the context of our materialist, secular, and therapeutic culture.
Doesn't it depend on the time frame? Initially, didn't some Westerners go to fight Assad? I don’t think that it was common knowledge how depraved and genocidal ISIS would become a couple of years ago. I can kinda understand how, at that time, “youts” could get sucked in, looking for adventure, an identity, fancying themselves heroes, ala Walter Mitty, and yes, some are/were true believers, to be sure.
There is a secondary gain from normalising their behavior in this way. It allows the writer to pretend that these foreign combatants hate America, or Bush, or our foreign policy, or our corporate evil or whatever, for much the same reasons that they do - just more intensely and with less emotional control.
That way, these writers can insinuate that their own political competitors for power here in the US are causing the terrorists to act this way.
Do you think I sound too extreme, over-the-top in my characterisation of this crew? How else do you interpret yesterday's bumpersticker in front of me: "Want to stop terrorism? Stop Terrorizing."
Assistant Village Idiot
It's all that and more. For these radical islamist the quran and the radical clerics give them an opportunity and even a mandate to act out their own bigotry. This is hatred pure and simple. Hatred of someone not in your tribe and the permission to act out on it. Evil sanctioned by a religious and political belief.