We have left you alone since your disgraceful defeat in Iraq. We did not interfere in your country or attack your citizens while they were safe in their homes despite our capability to do so!
Got it. Iraq, defeat - tell that to Saddam. You can totally threaten us - just wait for it, no honest, here we come, we're so much bad-asser than you, we totally mean it! Plus, you're not afraid of using lackies to do your dirty work for you, behind masks, and only as a tantrum if you don't get paid a protection fee.
The brutal murder of reporter Jim Foley has shocked the world, and rightly so. Concern is being raised that they are scoring tactical, morale-squashing wins against society (of which they are not apart).
I'm sure ISIS' backroomers are trading high-fives over their PR success, etc. They're getting ahead of themselves.
Let's look at the message the video itself conveys.
A man who was tortured for two years uttering his captors' line as his final words? No surprise there - any human being in the same position would do the same, including the murderer.
We're supposed to be horrified by the fact that the man who killed Foley was a British citizen. Egads! One of us! It could be our neighbour! OMG - we could be living in the midst of people who do crazy irrational violent things!
Hate to break it to ya, ISIS, but there ain't no new news in that.
Remember, we've had Elliot Rodger (to which I wouldn't be surprised if many ISIS folk had psychological similarities), Virginia Tech, naked face-chewers - heck, you could add cops who threaten to kill protesters by calling them fucking animals to the list. That's before looking at the mid-level racists, sexists and homophobes in our midst.
Should we be worried about domestic terrorists in our midst? Sure, why not; add them to the list with the paedophiles, rapists and folk who sing Justin Bieber songs loudly while in the shower.
The point is, there isn't anything new - there have always been dangerous people in our midst. Over time, we've managed to isolate, marginalize and in some cases actually accommodate and normalize such people, but regardless - Western society has outlasted the USSR, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, etc.
We adapt and deal. We get hit, we keep moving forward. It's the intransigent societies that always fail (PS, ISIS, that's a hint).
What of the Brit who beheaded Jim Foley? Yay for him, he's Theon Greyjoy; an embarrassment to his family, estranged from his peers and will probably live a short, emotionally stunted life. Maybe he had daddy issues, or Beta issues like Rodger, or whatever. He couldn't hack it in real society and ran away, hid behind a mask to develop a sense of power.
That's the kind of people ISIS is attracting? They're not building a caliphate, they're recreating Lord of the Flies.
Let's be clear on that, here; Islam is the Alhambra, is algebra, beautiful works of art, poetry of universal depth and important scientific and medical discoveries that have benefited the world entire.
ISIS isn't about any of these things - it's about creating a new hermit state, a libertarian North Korea in the heart of what was once the most civilized place on earth.
So what are they about, these terrifying terrorists who terrorize?
The same thing as any two-bit pseudo-revolutionary; money and power.
Truth be told, ISIS would have happily (I mean, sternly) have handed Foley over to the Americans if the US had been willing to put sheckles in their pot. In this way, they're like Communist rebels in countries like Columbia; so committed to their beliefs that they're willing to turn K&R into a profitable industry to support it.
But then the money thing takes over - they need to buy the goods for their attacks, feed their troops and besides, being god's army on earth has to come with a bit of earthly reward, right? While I'm sure the Pentagon has good reason to fear ISIS "has an apocalyptic end of days strategic vision that will eventually have to be defeated," the reality they know is that the ones willing to die go off and do while the ones who kinda like enjoying their power and "respect" tend to find ways to push off their personal apocalypse. They enjoy their creature comforts too much.
ISIS claims Foley's family had "many chances" to negotiate his release, though GlobalPost disputes that claim, noting that the family had only been contacted once before (with an immediate request for 100 million euros).
We hate you so much, we feel the need to put you in your place so strongly that we will stand for nothing less than your utter eradication... or money. So we can buy more weapons and cool cars and maybe be more like what we stereotype you as being. But you will respect us!
On that respect thing - they're so tough, so superior that they feel the need to be recognized by States they don't like? I mean, what better representation of an inferiority complex do you need? It's back to the Elliot Rodger thing - needing to be recognized as an Alpha by a Beta is kinda just reinforcing your innate inferiority, isn't it?
Don't get me wrong - I despise what ISIS stands for, which is essentially to build a little feudal kingdom with ambitions way beyond their capabilities. They can say they speak for whoever they want; when you have to keep your own people in line with threat of force, the fact is you suck as a leader.
ISIS draws membership from our own communities, which says as much about us as it does about anything else. Fortunately, we're looking to improve social interactions in fits and spurts with movements like Open Government and Responsible Society. These are real, global initiatives open to all, making the world a better place for all.
That's the key in all this - ISIS isn't about forcing an apocalyptic end, whatever they tell themselves; they're a little bit tin-pot ideolgues with a bit of political back-room and military straetgy savvy, a bit nutbars and more than a smidgen of Hatfield-McCoys.
We should be worried about the threat ISIS presents, but folks - don't let them get under your skin. Their production values are good, but their story really isn't that remarkable. ISIS isn't the Zombie Apocalypse, fueled singularly by religious fervour; they are imperialists, hoping to set themselves us as an empire to last a thousand years with total autonomy to do whatever they want against whoever they want.
This will never happen, because the West won't abandon so many innocent civilians in the Middle East, nor stand idle when it comes to formenting better social emotional outcomes at home. Honest, it's happening.
Millions will suffer, tough decisions will be made and eventually they'll be gone. Big picture, we've seen their likes before; we'll see them again.
The trick, as always, is remind bullies of the massive shortcomings they're compensating for and to look 'em in the eye and say: