It’s all so very, very complicated.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities were still trying Thursday to establish a motive for the deadliest U.S. mass shooting in nearly three years, even as they revealed that the two attackers had amassed a large stockpile of explosives and ammunition.
Most of us knew their motive well enough as soon as we heard the names of the attackers, and we were correct too. Meanwhile, Moe ponders a question that might seem important, but really isn’t all that much.
What was the plan of the San Bernardino terrorists?
Before we go any further: I think that we can stop pretending that this wasn’t an outbreak of Islamist (note word) terror. By ‘we’ of course I mean ‘those of us who aren’t Democrats.’ The Other Side may be stuck having to parrot the party line that ‘workplace violence’ is the proximate cause here; but the combination of heavy planning, a change in the male attacker’s personality/demeanor, and frankly his travel history is wearily familiar to anybody’s who has been paying attention for the last decade or so. You don’t make bombs in your basement on the spur of the moment. The attackers had a plan*.
So, the big question is: was attacking the Inland Regional Center the plan all along? Or did the attackers have another target in mind, but instead switched over to this one instead? The answer does matter, of course: one thing that we’d like to know rather badly is whether or not Islamic State (or any other death cult) has the technical capacity to run terror ops on US soil on their own. If they can’t, really – if they have to rely instead on whatever local cultists they can gather up – that’s important information.
Personally, I don’t think that Islamic State quite has that capacity – yet – but that they’re actively working out how to get it. So what I think happened here is that IS was priming these particular cultists for something with a larger potential victim pool. Unfortunately for IS, cultists tend to be unstable people, and maybe these particular homegrown jihadis just couldn’t stick to the plan. Certainly the cultists were trying to get away, which is one reason why the entire thing seemed so odd – but it makes sense if you assume that said cultists were attempting to finish their original mission.
Ahh, but know what makes even more sense? To abandon our fixation on IS and other groups, and recognize that the only ingredients truly necessary for an attack like this are a cache of weapons…and a single devout Moslem.
“Terror ops”? A “terror op” has just become one Moslem driving up to the sidewalk tables at any big, medium-sized, or even small city restaurant, getting out of his car, and tossing a homemade bomb or opening fire. The plan? The plan was to kill infidels. The motivation? A strict, sincere belief in Islam, a clear-eyed reading of Islamic texts, and the exhortation of thousands if not millions of influential, respected, and credible members of the Islamic clerisy to adhere to the tenets of the Koran and hadiths.
And that’s it. You can stop right there, because I already covered everything you’ll ever need to know. No other religion in the world demands that its members either convert, subjugate or kill those who don’t share the faithful’s beliefs. Not one among all the other of the world’s major religions requires or even suggests this: Christianity doesn’t; Hinduism doesn’t; Buddhism doesn’t; Sikhism doesn’t; Judaism doesn’t; Taoism doesn’t; even Zoroastrianism doesn’t*. Not ONE.
The civilized world has entered a new stage in the struggle against Islam, and its advent was inevitable. No devout, mainstream Moslem particularly needs IS or al Qaeda or whoever to foment terror and put the infidel to the sword. He doesn’t need very much in the way of training, financing, or logistical support. All he’ll ever need is a weapon of some sort (and it needn’t be any more sophisticated or expensive than a jerrycan of gasoline and a match), faith, will, and determination.
Beyond that, he needs nothing more than proximity to a likely target: a Western restaurant, museum, shopping center, sporting event, movie theater, concert hall, office building, hospital, or city street. Which at first blush would seem to be a bit problematic for your average Middle Eastern desert-dwelling fanatic, except for the pitiful fact that the West is now busily importing as many Moslems as it can bring in, distribute, and sign up for government benefits, and making little to no distinction between those already “radicalized” and those with potential to be. It’s a very difficult if not impossible distinction to make, because A) nobody in their home countries has much in the way of records of who the active terrorists are, and B) the pool of potentially “radicalized” Moslems includes damned near all of them, excepting the aged and physically infirm.
Excuse me, I meant “different abled” there. Wouldn’t want to upset anybody, right?
Sure, IS and al Qaeda will continue to exist, and will continue to work hard to kill as many infidels as they can. They’ll spin elaborate plans for spectacular assaults and remain a threat to the West for as long as they exist. If they should for some reason cease to be, five others will spring up to replace them.
But this last attack has just revealed something that was swimming busily along just under the surface of our phony War On Terror all along: such groups are neither necessary for jihad to successfully continue, nor even particularly relevant now. We maintain our tight-beam focus on them at our ongoing–and worsening–peril.
As long as Western “leaders” continue to stumble, fumble, and mumble along in their dealings with Islam, you can expect plenty more examples of this “oddball” attack in the days, weeks, and years to come. Count on it.
*In fact, guess how it was that Zoroastrianism was all but wiped out centuries ago, and who did it. Go on, guess.