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Why Terrorists Kill

The Westgate attack in Kenya with its accompanying butchery of every man, woman and child in a shopping mall who couldn't name Mohammed's mother is being met with baffled mutterings about "senseless violence."

But there's nothing senseless about the violence that took place.

Commentators pointed to the unwillingness to negotiate and the lack of a political program by the attackers as if the same things that matter to European Union diplomats should matter to terrorists who stage massacres in shopping malls.

In the narrowing circle of civilization, its gleaming outposts of marble hallways and policy position papers, it is madness. But terrorism is really just the politics of a world that predated the one that we have built up. For all its brutality, it is not senseless, absent of motive or purpose.
Terrorists kill because it's what they do. Plumbers unclog toilets. Computer companies sell you software. Terrorist organizations kill people.

It's fashionable to believe that terrorism is a phase. The terrorists blow up things to get what they really want in exchange for not blowing up things anymore. It sounds like a rational, albeit amoral, plan, to the people who think that Westgate was senseless violence. They have spent decades convincing us that this is how it works.

But what if it doesn't work that way at all?

Two decades of peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have only produced more violence. Each Israeli concession is met with escalating demands and escalating violence. Briefly Bill Clinton seemed to wrap his head around the understanding that Yasser Arafat didn't actually want peace, but couldn't sustain that flash of insight long enough to understand the full implications of that.

The Palestinian Authority is still a terrorist organization. It never stopped being one. It fights to become a state, but has no interest in actually being a state. And it's only considered moderate, because it's willing to make politicians like Clinton look good by taking part in negotiations. Hamas won't even bother going that far. It really has no interest in being anything but a terrorist group.

That's not to say that terrorists don't have goals. They do. But those goals don't include shutting down shop as terrorists. Why would they? Terrorism is what got them this far.

Telling Arafat to stop being a terrorist was like telling Michael Jordan to switch to selling home insurance or urging Wayne Gretzky to try playing piano for a change. If you're good at something and if doing it brings you fame, wealth and power... why would you stop?

Terrorist organizations kill people. It's what they do. And it isn't senseless at all.

Al-Shabaab's real audience wasn't the Americans watching CNN at Reagan National and trying to make sense of the violence. It was the millionaires and billionaires in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who can turn any terrorist group from wannabes into RPG toting superstars racing through the desert on last year's model Toyota pickup trucks with crates full of night vision equipment.

You may think of the news as a collection of tragedies. To the dozens of Al-Qaeda franchises and assorted Islamist terrorist groups, it's American Idol. The CNN coverage of their attack is their audition on a worldwide reality show that shows off their skills and makes them famous.  

Not every terrorist group is lucky enough to have its own Bin Laden; its Saudi sugar daddy with the cash and the cachet to get them the money they need in exchange for being the one to appear on camera and proclaim "Death to America". And the Jihadists in Afghanistan fighting over Osama at times nearly killed each other over access to their effete money man posing languidly in camo. 

Terrorists kill people "senselessly" because a spectacular terrorist attack gets them noticed. It sets them apart from every other Islamist terrorist group that throws together a name longer than most cities and waves a flag with a bunch of swords on it while vowing to drive out all the infidels. The 12 PM CNN audience may not applaud, but the Al Jazeera audience does. And it's the one that matters.

And while the CNN audience may not be applauding, Al-Shabaab registered on their meters. They're more likely to urge Kenya, Ethiopia, their own governments, and anyone else to find out what it will take to make them go away. That is why terrorism, even without much of a political program, works. Blow up enough people, enough times, and some diplomat named Fredrik or Jens will show up in your camp to ask you what you want and explain to you how this whole negotiating thing works.

Muslim terrorist organizations fight to impose Islamic law. But what does that really mean, aside from the little girls wearing Burkas and the demolished churches?

Think of the letters of marque that allowed privateers to prey on enemy shipping during wartime. The difference between a privateer and a pirate was the letters of marque. The difference between a warlord, a bandit, a rapist and a Muslim terrorist is the Koran and the Fatwa based on it that acts as his letter of marque.

Muslim terrorism is in no small part legalized banditry with each terrorist group leader hoping to set up shop as the Emir of his own little territory while fighting for the Caliphate.

Get some thugs together, form a terrorist group waving a black flag and stake a claim on some territory. Kill enough people and you'll get weapons and training from terrorist networks and money from Gulf billionaires  who take the time out from fondling Ukrainian hookers to save their souls and impress their billionaire friends by sponsoring their very own terrorist attack. "Abdul, You know the Westgate attack? That was my money."

Kill even more people and foreign governments will come to you hat in hand, offering you foreign aid and pressuring your government to give you autonomy. So why not be a terrorist?

Israel has been hailed as the Start-Up Nation for its dot com companies, but more Middle Eastern youth are joining a different kind of start-up. Get some guns, get some friends, head to Syria and take over a village, town or a few city blocks. Control the bakeries, the oil production and the protection money from Christian businessmen.

Don't bother finishing college. You won't need it where you're going. Your business plan is simple and the profits are impressive. Call your men a brigade. Take some photos with visiting American senators. Tell them that your men are moderates, but without more aid, they'll have to go Al Qaeda. Tell Al Qaeda that your men are hard core Salafists, when they're actually illiterate members of a drug smuggling gang, but that if they don't get more aid, they'll have to turn to America.

Cash in.

Put a website. Set up a Twitter account. Upload YouTube videos of your men shooting at Syrian soldiers or each other. Recruit idiot British converts to Islam who traded in Billy and John for Rasheed and Mahmoud. Use your brother-in-law's mosque contacts to recruit Muslims born in America, Canada or Australia who have no clue what life is really like back in Somalia or Pakistan, but are enthusiastic about overcoming their cultural inferiority complex by being part of the Jihad.

Atrocities get you noticed. If Mohammed in the Islamic Army for a Free Syria ate a lung, get one of your men in the Jihad Against Chess and Kites for Justice and Freedom brigade to eat a heart. If they kill a three-year-old, you kill a two-year-old. If they fire a chemical weapon, get your hands on a nuke.

It's all about who gets the most attention with the worst atrocities and nothing is over the top.

The most successful Al-Qaeda franchise is its Iraqi branch which was considered psychotic by the original Al-Qaeda leadership. Its tactics were described as completely deranged, senseless and bound to accomplish nothing. Now its splinter groups are in line to take over Syria. It may have taken a decade of horrifying murders of innocent people, but they are finally within sight of someone else's promised land.

And the men, the plodding goons getting pumped on Jihadi music videos full of black flags, reciting Koran verses, taking hits of cocaine and dreaming of virgins in paradise before rushing into a sniper's line of fire; what's in it for them?

Some join terrorist groups for the same reason that young men in Chicago or Oakland join gangs. It's a brotherhood of crime. And the Muslim version comes with a  pardon from Allah and the promise of a paradise full of virgins to rape when that Syrian sniper spills all the Koranic quotes in that quivering mass of Hashish-addled grey matter onto a pockmarked street at 200 yards.

Islam provides the structure for these murderous recreations of Mohammed's conquests with Japanese pickup trucks instead of mules and camels, and machine guns instead of spears and swords.

It tells the Muslim idealist that killing for Allah is the only thing that will bring about a just world. It tells the Muslim criminal that his crimes can be virtues. It tells the ambitious Muslim that he can have his own Emirate. It tells the embittered Muslim that nothing will be right until he kills the non-Muslims who are causing all the trouble.

It tells each man what he needs to hear to kill.

Guns don't kill people. Ideas do. Islam, like Nazism or Communism, is a set of weaponized ideas.

Muslim terrorist violence isn't senseless. There is no such thing as senseless violence. That's something shocked people say when they can't take in the horror of what happened. But everyone has a motive. Even the killer whacked out on PCP who hears voices in his head may be operating in an unreal world, but within that unreal world, he isn't behaving senselessly. It's the world inside his head that's senseless.

Islam is the world within the heads of Muslim terrorists and it's quite sensible if you're a fat old Saudi billionaire impressing your friends with piles of African corpses, the third son of some backwater farmer with a worthless clan trying to move up from drug smuggling or a Chechen kid in Boston trying to find the glory of your own people while comparing the promises of the Koran to the dingy reality of your family grubbing off welfare while talking up the good old days back home.

Islam doesn’t just promote killing, it incentivizes it. It’s not just a motive; it’s also a rewards program. Its history demands war. Its nature compels killing. Even the most well-meaning Muslim cannot escape the vortex of Jihad at its center. Even if he does not support it in any way; it is always there tugging at him in a hundred different ways.

Islam is the chronicle and blueprint of an unfinished conquest. Its existence inevitably tempts its followers to try and complete Mohammed's unfinished business.


  1. You may think of the news as a collection of tragedies. To the dozens of Al-Qaeda franchises and assorted Islamist terrorist groups, it's American Idol. The CNN coverage of their attack is their audition on a worldwide reality show that shows off their skills and makes them famous.

    And the media outlets know this far better than even the terrorists. "If it bleeds, it leads."

    It's all about who gets the most attention with the worst atrocities and nothing is over the top.

    This is one reason why Islam has "Unhappy Ending" written all over it. There simply is no upper limit to Islamic terrorist atrocities and no lower limit to Muslim depravity. If anything, the term "Muslim depravity" is redundant. Beslan proved that for all time.

    Without immediate intervention on a truly macro-scale, at some point in the future, a terrorist Islamic individual or group will manage to contrive an atrocity of such incomprehensible dimensions that even the most thoroughly Liberalized Western mind will reflexively jab at The Big Red Button™. There will be no other appropriate reply.

    One simple equation determines this outcome:

    Beyond a certain, unspecified number of nuclear weapons held in Islamic hands, there emerges a non-zero probability that one or more of them will come into the possession and use of terrorists.

    It goes beyond all reason that the West remains incapable of doing this very basic math. The penalty for such deliberate innumeracy will be staggering. This is why I continue to predict the Muslim holocaust.

  2. Daniel - excellent insightful post. I wish Obama and the US Goverment has even one tenth of your understanding of this issue. In my opinion Islam is a cult that needs to be stamped out, same as the Moonies, or Branch Davidians or any other bunch of loonies The fact that there are over $1.5 billion doesn't make it right, it just makes it scary.

  3. Once again your nimble brain produced an analytical work of art caught in the dexterity of your verbality.
    @zenster Exactly what came into my mind too.

  4. "If you're good at something and if doing it brings you fame, wealth and power... why would you stop?"

    And, really, really no good at anything else. In fact, you probably don't even know anyone who is. Because your sacred text offers so little instruction on how to approach life constructively, but so much about the destruction you should visit on non-believers, your hateful religion makes you a moron.

    The alienating effect of this indoctrination is put forward in an interesting article called "Jihad Terrorism" by Anat Berko, who writes, "For 20 years I studied and interviewed Islamist mujahedeen (jihad fighters) imprisoned in Israeli jails, examining their inner worlds and discovering the obsessive thoughts leading them to carry out terrorist attacks. They were addicted to fantasizing about an alternative reality, describing their compulsions in metaphors similar to those used by obsessive gamblers and drug addicts."

    Syria was the old intellectual capital of Christianity and the first place conquered by Islam when it burst forth from Arabia. Looking at photos of the ruins of Palmyra, we see sculpture that depicts the human form and architecture that reflects a human scale. But, Islam rejected all reference to the human of the older civilizations with which it came in contact. Because allah is a cold, desolate, moon god, the hajj instead exalts a meteorite, which is like idolizing a virus. Islam is humanity's anti-matter.

  5. It is mind-boggling that there are billions of people who follow the ideology of a perverted, war-mongering misogynist who created a hateful G-d who supports and promotes terrorism? With that said, I do wonder Daniel, how do we stop a people who worship war and death? Do you have some words of wisdom on that?

  6. jansuzanne: …how do we stop a people who worship war and death?

    History has long taught that people whose only currency is violence must usually be paid thrice over in their own bloody coin. Too often, it's the only tender they respect.

  7. Lawrence Auster had some thoughts on the matter.

    I recall his proposal to destroy the sacred meteorite. Taken together with David Wood's proposal to expose Muhammad, discussed in the 2nd link, present some interesting possibilities to debunk the religion.

  8. brilliant as always..and now there are hundreds of Somalis all over America..Minneapolis had better watch out...sigh..Keep up the fight my friend..You are a treasure.

  9. Terrorists, especially Islamic ones, but we shouldn't forget the IRA and Basque terrorists, kill for the love of killing for the sake of killing what they choose not to be: normal, productive people going about their private business in public places, whether that's an passenger jet or a shopping mall or a pizza shop. They want to inflict pain, suffering, bodily harm, and death on those they do not wish to be like. They want to hear men, women, and children scream, and they want that scream to be the last thing their victims know and feel before delivering the fatal bullet or knife or sword slash. They derive a psychotic joy in inflicting death and destruction. They know what they are doing. The gory, sickening details that have come out of the Westgate mall massacre should convince all civilized people of the means and ends of such creatures. So, it can't be just a matter of terrorists wanting their five minutes of publicity on CNN or anywhere else. They must be motivated by something more fundamental, which is their nihilist death wish, for themselves and for their victims. Their rule of thumb is: If I can't live, you can't live, so we're taking you with us, and in the worst possible way imaginable.

  10. Just a common 'tater4/10/13

    Thank you Daniel for this article. I came to the same conclusion 30 years ago and no one wanted to hear it then. No one wants to hear it now, either.

    If the politicians and so called leaders of the West listened and acted upon this, they would be compelled to take action against the state sponsors of the terrorists. The solution would need to be a repeat of the US sending the Navy and Marines to clean up the dens of pirates in North Africa in the early 1800's. We tried diplomacy, bribes, payments, and finally bullets. Which do you think worked best? Our politicians have become addicted to special interest money and refuse to do right and go cold turkey. So, nothing changes.

    The West refused to believe that Hitler was really going to do what he said he was going to do. How well did that work? Where is Winston when you need him? The terrorists tell us what they intend to do, and no one believes them that could and should take action. Works well, doesn't it?

    Ultimately, either the Western World must wake up and defend itself or we will cease to exist. Western Europe wasted the lives of millions over stupid territorial and ideological disputes. The US ended up joining the fray, but we came out better for it. In the meantime, we have sent our manufacturing away, killed and maimed thousands of our best young people in useless conflicts, and we fritter away our economic strength. The current mess in DC and many of the state capitols are distracting, but also hinder our ability to defend ourselves.

    Western Europe is just about moribund, and the US needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Miley C gets more airtime and press than our dire condition. If our governments and so called leaders do not act soon, we will end up like the Byzantines, taken out piece by piece, until there was no ability to resist. Western Europe could have intervened but refused. The West will not have anyone to call upon if we do not act, and act soon.

  11. 7th para, 4th line, minor mis-type: "the understand that".

  12. Anonymous4/10/13

    "Guns don't kill people. Ideas do. Islam, like Nazism or Communism, is a set of weaponized ideas."

    Then don't I feel the urge to join a terrorist group or a Neo-Nazi community after reading the Koran or white supremacist literature? I've looked at both, but I don't get inspired by it.

    Aren't some people more violent than others? Aren't they already led toward such thoughts? Is it genetics? I know pointing at genetics makes me sound like a Nazi, but perhaps like produces like. In the case of Islamic terrorism, more rebellious, criminal men are produced with its continuing success. They have more children (whether through rape or legitimately), and more importantly they kill off the weak among them, or close to them, whether it's Christians or Jews who remained passive in their countries. Then all that's left is violent souls that reproduce and worsen the gene pool.

    I suppose after me saying all that it does make me sound like a Nazi. But I don't mean anything racist by it, in regards to Arab people, blacks, etc. I just think people should consider it. Because most people can read violent literature, or even be exposed to Nazis and Islamists without becoming one of them. It's innate in them to detest it. You'd probably think of this of your fellow Jews, that they are better bred than this.

  13. Thank you, Daniel.

    There is only one solution to terrorism driven by Islam. Do to the advocates of Islam what we did in the Civil War, to the advocates of slavery, and in WW 2, to the advocates of Nazi-ism and Shintoism. We exterminated enough of them that those evil enslaving belief systems never reared their ugly heads again.

    Until we do that, the 'senseless' violence, the 'senseless' terrorism, which really do make sense given the current approach in Washington, will continue to cost the lives of innocent people all over the world.

  14. DenisO4/10/13

    "...Its nature compels killing. Even the most well-meaning Muslim cannot escape the vortex of Jihad at its center. Even if he does not support it in any way; it is always there tugging at him in a hundred different ways..."

    He supports it with his silence. The solution has to come from inside Islam. The quiet Muslims who go along with the invitation of terrorists into their mosques have to be held accountable. There is no excuse to tolerate that, and they are making targets of themselves and their families, by condoning it.
    Terrorists are punks; stand up to them and they back down. See Regan and Bush 1 and 2. 9/11 followed Clinton, the appeaser. The Iran hostages were Carter's greatest shame, and now this cowardly lightweight in the White House is seen as unserious and the kind of victim they can safely abuse.
    Unless Governments take action, people will, and the mosques will start exploding, here and there, when enough is enough. Just one will start a chain reaction of revenge, I'm afraid. Then we'll see how "well meaning" they are. Violence always begets violence until the peace of pain arrives.

  15. All murder is senseless since people with good sense don't kill.

  16. Anonymous5/10/13

    Bill in UK

    Moderate Muslims are encouraged to come to the West in great numbers to provide a front for "extremist" i.e. real Muslims to operate behind. They come as a package.

    The ordinary "moderate" Muslim subscribes to the same ideology as the barbarians who carried out the Kenyan massacre, and then they have the bare faced cheek to complain that it makes life bad for them, but they never denounce the terrorists.

    Can you imagine the carnage if ever these people get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

    Either we confront this evil ideology posing as a religion or we in the West are going to have to get used to the everyday explosions, killings, maimings, acid in the face, etc that has passed for normal life in Muslim countries for the past 1400 years, like the Christians of Egypt or the Christians of Pakistan.

    Islam is a spiritual evil that appeals to man's darkest impulses. Conquest, Rape, Slavery Theft.... And it has ambitions to conquer the whole world and that is why the most warped individuals from our own societies are attracted to it. That is also why they recruit in prisons. It has already conquered 56 countries and is now making big inroads into our world thanks to the oil wealth.

    The tragedy in the UK is the left leaning LibLabCon think that they can enter into an alliance with Islam and control the outcome.

  17. Anonymous7/10/13

    What is the difference between the Haganah/Irgun and the IRA?, neither were driven by religious ideals but nationalism, of course you'd be forgiven for thinking that its all religion because of the protestant resistance in Northern Ireland, it was the protestants who turned it into a religious war when the IRA was always a nationalist driven organisation.

    Even the IRA realised that it was futile to continue the war, a war that neither the British or IRA were going to win, just years of tit for tat, but a Muslim terrorist is entirely different breed driven by an evil book.

    When religion is your catalyst you don't have a goal just what it says in the Koran the IRA and the Irgun had a goal, the Irgun achieved their goal but the IRA after years of struggle haven't met their goal, but had a leadership that was wise enough to realise that this senseless slaughter can't go on, and were willing to take up diplomacy, not something a religiously fueled muslim terrorist would ever contemplate because ALLAH is their driving force, which makes them extremely dangerous and unstoppable1.


  18. Anonymous9/10/13

    Very concise and extremely well said. Thank you for your effort to explain the madness.


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