Can you even do a movie with this? 10,000 guys on a side and all the weapons are bronze age? I have to wonder what one of our strike teams of 8 guys or so and all the support not visible would think of a bunch of soldiers in black turbans with Damascus swords, pikes, and such making a charge across an open battlefield on horseback? After they recovered from laughing they’d make a radio call and the battlefield in front of the charge would explode with napalm. The few that did make it would be strafed by tanks and A-10’s. Those guys with swords would be roast long pig in less time than your average Superbowl Commercial. Then the bitching about our unfair and inhuman massacre of Muslims would start.
Our enemies in the Middle East know better than to gather up a bunch of guys to fight on an open battlefield. The smart ones don’t fight us that way. They build IED’s to wound us so we are tied up disarming a road and dealing with our injured. They know how far out air support is and stop fire fights in time to exfil. The vocal minority that wants an epic cavalry battle at Dabiq is stupid.
This small and vocal community of Muslims believe they can trigger Armageddon and the follow on utopia by instigating a final battle. This is the bunch that wants to call us out onto the schoolyard and duke it out singulare certamen. They are stupid.
There is a خليفة who has chosen the name أبو بكر البغدادي. The self-described Islamic State claims to be the restored caliphate. Their goal is to regain the Ottoman Empire. Their means is a brutal implementation of Sharia Law. One of their stated goals is a penultimate battle with Satan at Dabiq, Syria. Ron White famously said that you can’t fix stupid. I don’t know what to do with religious zealots who believe that the world was perfect at some past moment and utopia can be achieved by putting everything back the way it was then. It’s not just a Muslim thing. No matter. Even if it isn’t Muslims deluded this way it is still stupid.
It is an impossible dream. It was tried by the Taliban, by Al Qeada and lately, the Islamic State. Constantine died, Rome fell, the old Eastern Empire is gone, Turkey is a poor totem for the Ottoman Empire. Their world died over the last 1200 years. Putting it back won’t make it better. It doesn’t work to fuss at those who adapt their faith in the face of change as apostatizing or backsliding. Worse is to commit the sort of atrocities we’ve seen on television in the last few years. God’s creation resists stasis. It tends toward an infinite tension between entropy and creation.
Those who let God’s creation be what it is, let God be in charge, do a lot better than those who fight the dynamism of his Creation and try to keep things the same. Might as well go find a hill and a boulder and start pushing that boulder up that hill. Good luck with that.
Neither is it effective to just forget all morals and ethics and do every impulse that comes to us. Or to try the scorched earth plan and ignore all tradition, trying to come up with your own ethical and moral framework. Clearly, in most places, there is a kind of unspoken consensus as to what is and isn’t in-bounds behavior. Some rules don’t require much debate. Stealing from somebody is likely to engender their wrath. Ditto lying, coveting another man’s family or property, speaking the name of God as a curse, and so on.
This isn’t something we can just talk about and resolve. The zealots who believe this adhere to an ideology based on a foolish fundamentalism that hungers for something which can’t happen. War against an ideology is a different sort of fight than the 8th Century conquer and plant the flag idea. It is a war of propaganda, of story and words. In a way, the battlefield is my turf–story and how story informs behavior.
Sadly, though, the folk choosing this fight want to die. Nothing would make them happier than to see 3,000 American soldiers facing down 100,000 jihadists. Their narrative has all the jihadists dying except 5,000. 95,000 dead and for them, this would be a victory because it portends a believed utopia where Christ returns and everything is just lovely. I’m not going to do the left-wing moral equivalency thing. The Christians I respect rightly know that relaunching the Crusades in a bloody genocide of Muslims was bad then and remains a bad idea. We won, but at a terrible price.
We also let ourselves be accountable for our sins, confessing them and repenting repeatedly. We are only obligated to the offer of reconciliation, not to the result. The result belongs to God. So, there isn’t a polite “me too” in this. Those that believe the way to utopia is through fighting a bloody war ending in the death of all but 5,000 are wrong. . We may end up killing more than a few before they lose the hunger for the fight. I’d rather not. I’d rather they give up the foolish notion that there is glory in a 9th century idea of battle and a 33 to 1 kill ratio. Sometimes we are put in a very hard place and the road to peace is paved in bodies. I wish it were not so. I pray the Fundamentalists come to their senses and lay down their swords. It’s been 1200 years. Maybe it isn’t just half-time. Maybe now it’s time to recognize that we don’t live in the same world. May they come to a realization that mercy and forgiveness, loving neighbors, kin and enemies, is the constant that must remain the same while we adapt to the changes occurring in our lives.
حب الله، حب العائلة والجيران والأعداء على حد سواء، وخدمة الله من كل قلبك وعقلك وروحك.