What ISIS Wants

I’m beginning to find it a little tiresome being told what “ISIS wants”. My irritation is in large part because people keep telling me that “what ISIS wants” is for us to do those reasonable things that any sane polity would do to eliminate a problem that is at best a serious and continuous source of trouble and grief, and at worst an existential threat.

For example, I understand that if we were to take ISIS at their word, i.e. that they are an Islamic entity that seeks to do what Islam has always said it intends to do, and in fact has always done, we would be “doing what ISIS wants”.

Well, perhaps. (I mean, if I tell someone what I’m all about for 1,400 years, and back it up with action, too, I suppose I’d “want” them to believe me, yes. Otherwise, it does get annoying, I imagine, after a few centuries go by.)

On the other hand, I have it on good authority (OK, not good authority at all; I actually heard it from Barack Obama) that if we were actually to start looking askance at, for example, mass Muslim immigration, we’d be doing “what ISIS wants”. This I find unpersuasive. I would imagine that much of what they have in mind involves disrupting our home-life, inconveniencing us in a thousand ways , and killing us en masse where they can — and try as I might, I just can’t see how all of that wouldn’t be a lot more difficult if there weren’t any of them here.

If you will forgive me, readers, I’ve actually been studying Islam pretty carefully for ten or fifteen years now, and I’ve come to understand a thing or two about it. My own understanding also coincides rather satisfyingly with what ISIS (that first ‘I’, by the way, stands for ‘Islamic’, just in case nobody’s mentioned that to you), actually says about itself, so I’m feeling pretty confident when I offer my own brief list of what I think ISIS Actually Wants.

So, here it is:

1) ISIS wants us all to be Muslims.

2) Failing that, they want… ¿cómo se dice?… ah, yes: to “fight against us until we pay the Jizya, and feel ourselves subdued.”

3) Failing that, they want us all dead.

The rest is just commentary, I’m afraid.


  1. JK says


    Posted November 22, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink
  2. spandrell says

    I imagine the real question is something like this:

    Progressives: “is there anything ISIS wants that we can give them, and which can give us an advantage over evil white conservatives, right?”

    Answer: “no, they want us to die or convert, and to rape our daughters.”

    Progs: Come on, there has to be something. Go think of something, quick.

    Media: Well… maybe they resent their poverty, or racism, or islamophobia! Those are caused by conservatives?

    Progs: Good! Let’s go with that. Somebody go tell ISIS we are willing to help them resolve all those issues.

    ISIS: I just killed 100 Parisians, Allahu Akbar.

    Progs: Shit, what do these guys want?

    Answer: They want us to die or convert, and rape our daughters.

    Progs: That’s not what I’m asking!!

    Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  3. Whitewall says

    Spandrell, that’s good. Maybe “climate change” caused by evil wealthy westerners would go along with the litany. I hear climate change has been known to cause otherwise normal jihadists to travel unexpectedly to Europe.

    Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  4. I remember when W, one of our former Presidents who actually loves America, said something (in a tone of incredulity) that by now should be obvious to everyone (but for which he was reviled by the hateful Left):

    “These people want to kill you.”

    What is it that the hateful Left can not understand about that? I am asking rhetorically. Don’t try to explain it for me. It seems to be unfathomable.

    Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  5. vxxc2014 says

    The Hateful Left Hates us and we still don’t get it…speaking of existential threats who let muzzies in?

    The Hateful Left gets it fine and wants ISIS to be ISIS. All the rest and noble posturing is just distraction.

    Posted November 29, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  6. Goodnight, Irene says

    Harvard Business Review, of all places, actually explained very well why this idiotic talking point proves so resilient: https://hbr.org/2015/11/why-people-keep-saying-thats-what-the-terrorists-want

    Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Thanks, GI. In effect, the article says that the thing you are naturally inclined to do as a result of a terrorist act is, you will imagine, “what they want”. So if you would naturally stay home from work, not ride the trains, etc. after such a threatening act, then going to work is denying them what they want.

    What the article doesn’t mention is that people’s mechanical reactions will differ, so their interpretations will differ. But I suppose that’s obvious.

    Also interesting: this would mean that those who advise us against anti-Muslim reactions because such reactions would be “what ISIS wants” must be experiencing that reaction themselves, as much as they pretend not to.

    Posted December 9, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  8. https://youtu.be/MSDyiUBrUSk

    I have loved this song ever since I first heard its recording by the Weavers in 1950.

    Posted December 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

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