Sunday, May 24, 2015

ISIS slaughters 400 mostly women and children in Palmyra

Michael L.

Kate Pickles, writing in the Daily Mail, tells us:
PalmyraIslamic State militants have executed at least 400 mostly women and children in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra.

Eye-witnesses have reported the streets are strewn with bodies – the latest victims of the Islamic State's unrelenting savagery - on the same day photographs of captured Syrian soldiers have emerged.

It follows the killing of nearly 300 pro-government troops two days after they captured the city, now symbolised by a black ISIS flag flying above an ancient citadel.
There must come a point when enough is enough, as my dear old ma used to say.

One would have to go back to the killing fields of Cambodia under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to find a political movement even remotely this heinous.

Sadism, head-chopping, child rape, the genocide of the Christians, slavery, and general brutality aside, what mainly bothers me about these... people... is this desire to wipe out the treasures of antiquity.  These ruins are history.  They are invaluable to mankind not only because of what we can learn of human history, but their very presence is a continual reminder of the scope and depth of that history.  The fields of archaeology, anthropology, and history are all dependent, in some measure, upon such antiquities and are, therefore, the birthright of all humanity.

This is what the Islamic State is seeking to destroy.  They want not only their enemies dead, but evidence of any previous cultures outside of Islam to be eliminated from human memory.


If the ancient city of Palmyra is not recaptured from the Islamic State soon, how long do you suppose those pillars will stand?  How long before much smaller, but exceedingly valuable treasures of humanity, are sold off to purchase weaponry or women or slaves?

The West has dragged its feet too long on this matter and, after Iraq and Afghanistan, has no taste for putting troops back on the ground in Iraq, nor into Syria.

And so ISIS runs amuck as Barack Obama plays his fiddle and makes sweet cooing sounds to the American public.

I think that enough is enough.

{A Big Tip 'O the Kippa to our friend, Kate.}

From the Comments:
Ricardoh, Walnut Creek CA USA

Four hundred people here, four hundred people there and pretty soon you're talking a lot of people. Hey we don't care they are not ours. They are just someone else's woman and children. How do the leaders of the west sleep at night.
Indeed.  How do the leaders of the west sleep at night?

Bishop C, Southampton, United Kingdom

In a few years time these ISIS soldiers will be back home driving taxis around London and Birmingham.
That's an interesting notion and one that probably has considerable merit.  How many of these Jihadis from European countries will be gone and back without the government even knowing it?  How much blood will be on their hands as they taxi around London and Birmingham?

jiggy, TX, United States

Thank you Dubya for your idiotic nation building fiasco.
TheloniusBeck, Pittsburgh, United States (in reply to jiggy)

Bush had Congressional approval. Thank you Obama for pulling all the troops from Iraq and making it possible for ISIS to flourish.
Jiggy from Texas and TheloniusBeck from Pittsburgh make good points.  No Dubya, no Iraq war.  No Iraq war, no Obama withdrawal.  No Obama withdrawal, no Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  In truth, while I consider Obama to be a weak and ideologically-blinkered president who is not nearly up to the challenges of the moment, it was Bush's adventurism that holds preceding responsibility.

HorseCrazy, Tucson, United States

Don't forget what the idiot Marie Harf of the Obama Administration said, '....We're not at war with ISIS,.... people join ISIS because they need more jobs.' This is the flimsy excuse by a very weak administration/president, and his staff.
Actually, what the idiot Marie Harf of the Obama Administration said to Chris Matthews on Hardball was, “we cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war.”

She did suggest some sort-of jobs program as a way of easing ISIS recruitment, which I consider to be one of the more ridiculous political proposals since LBJ suggested a Tennessee Valley Authority, New Deal-type program of damming and electrification as a way of coming to peace with North Vietnam.


  1. Has the New York Times blamed Israel yet? They will. See, atrocities are only as useful as the message you can spin.

  2. ISIS should not suck up all the air in the room. It is obvious what it is and about. There are other situations that deserve greater prominence, but become lost, not to mention a need to expose perfidy by those who claim to be about peace and justice to mask how they chase the opposite.

    1. School, when you say that there are "other situations" that deserve greater prominence than ISIS you may very well be right, but what specifically are you talking about?

    2. Did not say greater prominence than ISIS, just greater prominence.

      I meant things like armed conflict elsewhere, Palestinian malfeasance, Muslim antisemitism in Europe, situations that too many people still don't know much about.

      We know about ISIS and its brutality. It would be nice to see more about some of this other stuff, even if it's not always as sensational.

    3. That's a key point. I think that I get you.

      Would the West have been quite so likely to fund Islamist groups, like the Brotherhood, if, for example, elites such as Tariq Ramadan had not vouched for them?

      Or if so many people on the progressive-left did not make apologias for blatant and genocidal Palestinian-Arab racism against Jews by suggesting that we actually deserve it?

      There are all sorts-of individuals and organizations that have either turned a blind eye to political Islam or who, like the president of the United States, have actually helped it... whatever their best intentions.

      I think, tho, that it is important to focus on the Islamic State not only because they are the worst actors - and, thus, most deserving of a swift comeuppance - but because we can make a strong case that these other individuals and organizations have dampened western resolve in opposition to, perhaps, the worst political party since Nazi Germany.

      Certainly there is no question that political Islam is the worst political movement against the Jews since the Nazis.

      I still fail to understand how any Jewish person could continue to support an American president that supported the Muslim Brotherhood.

      It defies common sense.

  3. This must be nothing compared to Israeli atrocities last summer, or we would see all the caring compassionate people demonstrating in outrage. In fact this lack of protest convinces me it's just Islamophobic propaganda.
    Anyway, who are we to tell the indigenous Pakistanis, Saudis, Chechens, Malaysians, and other native peoples in the ranks of ISIS what to do with the monuments of this ancient Muslim city.

  4. This has all been going on for far too long. It's always better to nip these things in the bud. Have the lessons of history been forgotten or are they simply being ignored?
    BTW, war doesn't care whether or not you are war weary. In fact, it's a boon to those waging it against you and history.

    1. Jeff,

      About being " war weary." :

      Several commentators have pointed out that however much the respective US and UK publics feel no appetite for further military intervention, that they are not, in any accepted understanding, " war weary."
      I in no way want to diminish the sacrifice and service of those in the military and of their families and loved ones. That is entirely different.
      And deserves our utmost respect.

      We, the general public, have not been directly involved in the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan.
      We have carried on with our lives while our armed forces have been engaged many, many, miles away.
      The generations who lived through the two World Wars knew what it was to be " war weary." We, in contrast, know nothing. Nor have we had to sacrifice anything; with the exception of those directly or indirectly involved in the armed forces.

      If the situation with ISIS continues to worsen - and there is reason to think it will - it is just possible that our politicians may be forced to act.
      That would be deeply unpopular with large numbers of the public.
      However, there are times when being unpopular is something that should not dictate policy.

      I'm not suggesting that there are simple solutions, but there are alternative proposals.

      Obama came to power on an anti- war, anti- George Bush ticket.
      World events change.
      He never has to stand for election again.
      He seems more concerned with not denting his anti- war credentials than in facing up to the extraordinary threat of ISIS. More concerned with not damaging his "image" and his preferred " legacy."
      Real leadership involves being prepared to take very hard decisions that might - at least in the short-term - make one very unpopular. Unpopularity, however, is a small price to pay for taking a course of action that is defined by a moral imperative.
      If one has integrity, that is how it should be.

    2. Obama's goal isn't to stop ISIS it's to foment more ISIS. Today the news came out that the Syrian government isn't opposed to the nothing of partition of Syria into Syria and ISIS. Obama will lead the charge to admit ISIS to the UN and the community of nations.

    3. "He [Obama] seems more concerned with not denting his anti- war credentials than in facing up to the extraordinary threat of ISIS. More concerned with not damaging his "image" and his preferred " legacy." "
      That "image" and "legacy" may be one of a leader who abandoned Iraq and then stood by as indescribable carnage, rape, and slavery went on a rampage. This, from a guy that just had to intervene in Libya to prevent a "genocide" from happening. Then, of course, there is Iran's designs on the region. How will we know, and I'm being cynical here, when Iran's sphere of influence is large enough?

    4. Jeff,

      I agree that the real ' image' and ' legacy' he leaves behind may be disastrous re making the world a more dangerous and war-ravaged place.
      That seems entirely possible.
      What he seems concerned with, though, is how he looks while he is actually in office. As if once someone else is in the job, and whatever is happening, is happening ' on their watch', it will be able to be blamed on them. Not him.
      At the moment, anything that is perceived to be a problem is automatically blamed on the Bush administration. Never the present administration.

      Re the extent of Iran's sphere of influence:

      That is worth reading. Really.

  5. If you really want to solve the problem then this is the problem neutron bombs were designed for.

    1. Nuke 'em till they glow, eh?

    2. Just the reverse - kill the people leave the wondrous antiquities intact. Metal structures can be rendered safe again to use in a few weeks. The neutron weapons that were deployed at one time in the Sprint missile ABM were in the 1-3kt range. The father of the weapon, Sam Cohen suggested even these were too large by a factor of 2-10. Look, everyone wants to get emotional but there's cholera there now. Is that better?

  6. One thing that I suppose we are all wondering about is the extent of Iranian political and military operations in Iraq.

    Earlier we heard about Shia militias from Iran fighting the Islamic State in Tikrit, Iraq - Saddam's home town - and defeating ISIS there, but now we read about Iraqi regulars losing to ISIS fighters in Ramadi.

    What we clearly have in Iraq and Syria is a free-for-all.

    We have Shia authoritarian Muslim theocrats fighing against Sunni authoritarian Muslim theocrats. The former are backed by Iran while the US seems to back both against ISIS.

    The main problem with US foreign policy in terms of all of this is that the Obama administration cannot bring itself to declare political Islam an enemy of the United States, the Jewish State of Israel, and the West, in general.

    If he would come to this conclusion, things would be much clearer to our enemies, our friends, and our domestic populations.

    Obama declared war on Qaeda while befriending Qaeda's parent organization, the Brotherhood.

    The whole policy was incoherent, and thus doomed to failure, from the very beginning.

    It was all over, in terms of the possibility of the US doing any good, when Obama came out in favor of the rise of political Islam, via coming out in favor of the misnamed "Arab Spring."

    I would argue that, in large part, the failure of Obama's foreign policy stems from this.

    1. I think for the west to have supported the uprisings in the Arab Spring was entirely understandable. The protests were coming from the grassroots. Ordinary people were, with enormous bravery, asking for change.
      The courage of those people, many of whom were arrested, tortured, and actually killed, should be honoured.
      The problem, as things evolved, seemed to be of an extraordinary naïveté on the part of western leaders and commentators. How they believed that somehow what was going to happen was that countries that had none of the requisite elements in place for ' democracy' to emerge, were actually going to produce outcomes which resembled something we would recognise as democratic systems was extraordinarily naive, and lacking in any serious political analysis.
      When the protesters in Tahrir Square were protesting, they were full of hope, and terribly brave. That the rest of the world could not see that those people collectively could never go on to form a cohesive and effective political force that could have a chance of gathering momentum within Egypt's existing political landscape and actually stand some chance of translating into a movement that could stand for and win an election, was astonishing. The Muslim Brotherhood, the most well-organized and seriously experienced political movement in Egypt just had to bide their time and wait for the inevitable opportunity that was coming their way. The protesters had no chance, in reality, of ever challenging the Brotherhood.
      That western commentators seemed to be oblivious to that was extraordinary.

  7. Houston, we have a problem.

    "In a recent survey conducted by, the website for the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel, respondents overwhelmingly support the Islamic State terrorist group, with 81% voting “YES” on whether they approved of ISIS’s conquests in the region.

    The poll, which asked in Arabic, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?” has generated over 38,000 responses thus far, with only 19% of respondents voting “NO” to supporting ISIS."