Young women flocking to join ISIS, aware that they will be beaten and mistreated, bring to mind the seeds of terrorism planted by women and men during America’s futile war against Vietnam. Political terror was once born of idealism, now it has become bloodlust.
Back in the sixties and seventies, the violent branch of the anti-war movement, The Weatherman, bombed empty buildings. Today, ISIS delights in beheadings, drownings, and the burning alive of innocents.
We can’t ignore the similarities in the two groups – their clever determination to achieve their goals through methods that beget outrage which begets fear which begets acquiescence.
But while the Weatherman wanted to stop US expansion, ISIS yearns to spread the Islamic state to every corner of the universe.
And the world that spawned Weatherman fifty years ago allowed terror to exist with ethics. Killing was not in it’s program.
ISIS has had to up the ante. It knows that the world has grown inured to brutality and abounds with indifference to human life.
It also knows that grisly acts of terror have the effect of dazzling the young, the naive, and the lonely, who yearn for bombs to drop in their lives. The bored are attracted by the thrill of such ideological fever, and morbidly excited by the overblown torture and slaughter. Most of all they are captured by having something to believe in and the promise finally of belonging.