From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
One of the most heinous of the endless war crimes of the Islamic State has been the systematic rape of thousands of young girls and women – who are sold as sex slaves.Most of the victims come from the Yazidi religious minority, labeled nonbelievers by ISIS. They were captured when ISIS invaded northern Iraq last year and wiped out their communities.
But one of the sex slaves was a fresh-faced blond American, a 25-year-old aid worker who was captured in Syria in August 2013. Kayla Mueller was chained in a room and raped for months by the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, before being killed in February (supposedly by a Jordanian air strike, but the true cause is uncertain).
What astonishes me is the paucity of global outrage at the buying and selling of sex slaves – not to mention U.S. outrage at the enslavement of Mueller. American women organized to protest the Taliban’s repression of women but not ISIS atrocities that make the Taliban’s war crimes look mild in comparison. How can this be?
You can read the rest here.
But, to answer Mrs Rubin’s question, “How can this be?” that Americans and other Westerners are not protesting this, the Taliban were an insular group, imposing their brand of Islam in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, but they were not seen as a particular threat to the United States or the rest of the civilized world. Da’ish, on the other hand, are trying not only to seize Syria and Iraq, but are exporting, as best they can, their own form of violence to the Western world, and much of the West is just plain too cowardly to say anything about it. Je suis Charlie didn’t last long.
And, of course, there is another reason. The Taliban took power in Afghanistan in September of 1996, before the September 11th attacks, and while Bill Clinton was President. For the American left, criticizing the Taliban would not have been somehow aligning themselves with George W Bush.
While there was a huge initial surge of support for President Bush following the World Trade Center attacks, it didn’t last long, and the Republicans’ perceived hostility to Muslims3 was anathema to the oh-so-inclusive politically correct left; to say anything which could be perceived as hostile toward Muslims could be interpreted as supporting conservatism and the Republican Party, and they couldn’t have that. And Mrs Rubin was careful enough in her article to not write anything which could be seen as insulting to Muslims in general.
It isn’t only sex slavery. There was an international outcry over the Taliban’s decision to destroy the 1700 year old Buddhas in the Bamiyam Valley, but that disgust was muted when Da’ish destroyed 2000 year old monuments in Iraq.
One would think that the very supportive of homosexuals Democratic Party would be outraged by Da’ish’s habit of executing homosexuals by throwing them off of multi-story buildings, but, again, that would be criticizing Muslims, so it’s Just Not Done.
Mrs Rubin recognizes that President Obama’s policies haven’t helped:
President Obama’s policies for fighting ISIS are so inept and contradictory they have helped the group’s so-called caliphate to sink ever-deeper territorial roots. The White House still doesn’t seem to recognize the long-term security threat the group poses to the U.S. homeland, as ISIS inspires ever more disgruntled youths to adopt its fanatic values.
But, after writing that, and saying that “there are things to be done” to combat Da’ish’s so-very-illiberal treatment of women, she suggests nothing. So let me be clear here: the ideology of Da’ish isn’t something somehow separate from the leadership and the soldiers, but something that each of them carry in their heads and hearts. The way to defeat Da’ish is to wage real war against them, to seek them out and kill them, to kill so many of them that the few survivors will be so mentally beaten that there will be no will to revive the movement. President Obama is loath to put any American soldiers on the ground to combat Da’ish, and in that, he probably reflects the will of the majority of Americans. That being the case, the only alternative is a massive, massive bombing campaign which will simply destroy everything in the Da’ish controlled areas, combatants and non-combatants alike.
That was how the last war we won was done. The firebombings of Tokyo and Yokohama and Dresden didn’t somehow discriminate against enemy soldiers, and leave the civilians alone; in going after munitions factories and railroad terminals in the Third Reich, we also destroyed the homes and schools and churches around them, we killed not just the factory workers,4 but their wives and children as well. It wasn’t just the Nazis who were killed, but men and women and children who had nothing to do with National Socialist ideology were slain as well.
Even a massive, indiscriminate bombing campaign might not be enough; we destroyed almost all of Germany’s and Japan’s infrastructure, and killed hundreds of thousands of their civilians, but it still took the advance of the American, British, Canadian and Soviet armies to finally conquer Germany, and it was only the two atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which gave the Emperor Hirohito the leverage to force the military government to surrender.
Da’ish will not be defeated by precision drone attacks and indignant articles in the Western press; we have been trying that, and Da’ish still seems to be winning, not falling back. Da’ish will only be defeated with bullets and burning and bombs; Trudy Rubin needs to recognize that.
- Your Editor is not particularly fond of the initials ISIS, and the reduction to just IS, for Islamic State, seems even worse. Da’ish is an acronym for the Arabic al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham, and, according to the BBC, the group “objects to the term and has advised against its usage.” Therefore, I shall use it! The Editor shall not edit comments using other commonly-used terms, but the use of Da’ish is now the accepted form in The First Street Journal’s stylebook. ↩
- I remember the Inquirer’s coverage of the 2009 murder of cute white girl Rian Thal, when so many killings of black Philadelphians by other black Philadelphians barely get a paragraph. Even now, when the Inquirer’s website, philly.com, deletes many older articles, a site search for “Rian Thal” returns 24 articles. ↩
- President Bush went out of his way to insist that the “Global war on Terror” was not a war against Muslims. ↩
- Despite manpower shortages in Germany, the Nazis never made the change to women working in the factories to free men up for the Wehrmacht. ↩