Research on What Motivates ISIS -- and Other -- Fighters

Interesting research from Nature Human Behaviour: "The devoted actor's will to fight and the spiritual dimension of human conflict":

Abstract: Frontline investigations with fighters against the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS), combined with multiple online studies, address willingness to fight and die in intergroup conflict. The general focus is on non-utilitarian aspects of human conflict, which combatants themselves deem 'sacred' or 'spiritual', whether secular or religious. Here we investigate two key components of a theoretical framework we call 'the devoted actor' -- sacred values and identity fusion with a group­ -- to better understand people's willingness to make costly sacrifices. We reveal three crucial factors: commitment to non-negotiable sacred values and the groups that the actors are wholly fused with; readiness to forsake kin for those values; and perceived spiritual strength of ingroup versus foes as more important than relative material strength. We directly relate expressed willingness for action to behaviour as a check on claims that decisions in extreme conflicts are driven by cost-benefit calculations, which may help to inform policy decisions for the common defense.

Posted on September 7, 2017 at 6:05 AM • 43 Comments

Comments

Jared HallSeptember 7, 2017 8:59 AM

@Bruce: I don't know. This is a pretty lame article. Furthermore, IT IS NOT a discussion of motivation, but a comparison of Sprtituality vs. Physicality in combat tactics. There is nothing in there that we don't already know.

ISIL is a cult-mentality.

Ross SniderSeptember 7, 2017 9:03 AM

This ideological commitment overriding individual survival has fascinated me for some time, in particular secular nationalist and moral ideologies which pervade Western military forces.

Richard Dawkins in "The Selfish Gene" develops evolutional biology and biological behavior from the perspective that genes try to propagate - not humans, animals or plants; that these macrostructures are really just giant vehicles for the genes to be more competitive at replication.

From this perspective, Richard Dawkins is able to explain some unusual biological phenomena like doves diving to alert others of hawks (this is a selfless and very dangerous action for doves) and likewise for antelopes jumping in a herd on the sight of lions, etc. The argument shows how if the genes encode this behavior, they can actually propagate much more successfully.

I had always thought about the human willingness to die for other people's access to oil, spice, wealth, power, etc as grouped to this biological phenomenon but that's probably wrong: the ideological aspect doesn't seem so closely linked to the biological instincts of genes - if anything it seems to override them.

Jared HallSeptember 7, 2017 9:04 AM

The key to defeating ISIL is the same as in other cults. Through superior strength, force the enemy (cult) to consolidate. This enhances inter-personal spritual conflict within the group and reduces their overall effectiveness.

At a high-level, the Kevin Bacon TV Series "The Following", outlines how this is done.

O. ArriasSeptember 7, 2017 10:53 AM

Now that Hezbollah and twelve Russian wiped CIA's armed irregulars off the map, NCS wants to know how they got their ass kicked so bad. (It wasn't for lack of money or logistics!) Cue the RTI hillbillies, who are developing intellectual capital in the area of how to kill more people with shrimpy guys. RTI has unique synergies here: all the sociologists who couldn't get an academic job can look down on the ethnographers and make them put more confidence intervals and alphas and betas on the two interview subjects they met at the Shalem Center.

vas pupSeptember 7, 2017 11:10 AM

@all:
That part caught my attention:
"An important issue for further investigation is why some groups are better able to inspire loyalty to an abstract cause than others."

My guess that loyalty could be inspired by pure psychological means: logical and emotional (all types of brainwashing based on providing one-sided selected set of facts and/or utilizing other tools addressing conscious or subconscious or both).

The problem is as I stated before on this blog is management of loyalty of smart people because of their high level of resistance (but not immunity)to many kind of brainwashing due to ability to think and analyze with OWN head resisting group pressure.

Loyalty is based on internalized by the person group values and as result, causes, as own. As example, I'll see loyalty of civilian people drafted to military service versus those who join fight by their own will.

What I got from the article is that fighting spiritual backbone of the enemy fighters is the shortest way to victory, but I am not from West Point - they may have their own vision.

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 11:55 AM

@vas pup

That part caught my attention: "An important issue for further investigation is why some groups are better able to inspire loyalty to an abstract cause than others."

My guess that loyalty could be inspired by pure psychological means: logical and emotional (all types of brainwashing based on providing one-sided selected set of facts and/or utilizing other tools addressing conscious or subconscious or both).

Enter the realm of psychopaths -- creation of willing victims (e.g. human shields). A psychopath will never take a bullet for someone else. A psychopath will always look for someone to take the bullet for them.

You can't beat a large army of kamikazes. The US learned that in the Pacific during WW II.

Pen TesterSeptember 7, 2017 12:24 PM

@Chairman Mao

"You can't beat a large army of kamikazes. The US learned that in the Pacific during WW II."

I'm not so sure about that. It would seem that the judicious application of 20 odd pounds of fissile material pretty much negated the millions of regular army and tens of millions of civilians poised for suicide / kamikaze service on the Japanese major islands during WWII.

However, your comments on psychopaths stands.

Retired Secret SquirrelSeptember 7, 2017 12:28 PM

How much money did they waste compiling this horse ****?

They're criminals and mercenaries, some are fighting because they've been indoctrinated to the cult, some are fighting because they'll be killed if they don't fight and others are getting paid to fight.

If the west wants to stop them, then cut all ties to the Saudi and Qatar, they've been funding and giving material support to these different groups for decades.

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 12:56 PM

@Pen Tester

I'm not so sure about that. It would seem that the judicious application of 20 odd pounds of fissile material pretty much negated the millions of regular army and tens of millions of civilians poised for suicide / kamikaze service on the Japanese major islands during WWII.

I say my analogy still stands.

At the end of WW II, Japanese psychopaths-in-charge realized that kamikazes weren't going to shield radiation burns and birth defects from themselves and their offspring.

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 1:10 PM

@Pen Tester

BTW, what motivates a person to become a kamikaze?

Foreign invaders.

Case in point: Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese invented the first cruise missile (or smart bomb) -- a Mitsubishi airplane with canvas-jean-cloth covered fuselage, a 250(+) lb bomb, and a suicidal pilot.

WinterSeptember 7, 2017 1:47 PM

"The key to defeating ISIL is the same as in other cults. "

The paper posted by our host predominantly studies fighters against IS/Daesh. These fighters too are risking their lives for abstract goals.

Dan HSeptember 7, 2017 1:59 PM

@Chairman Mao
"The Japanese invented the first cruise missile"

Actually, the Germans launched the V-1 "Flying Bomb," on June 13, 1944, and it is considered the first cruise missile.

The Japanese first used the Kamikaze against American warships during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on Oct 25, 1944.

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 2:02 PM

@Winter

The paper posted by our host predominantly studies fighters against IS/Daesh. These fighters too are risking their lives for abstract goals.

I don't think their goals are abstract. That's what American/UN/NATO psychopaths *want* you to believe.

Truth be known: They're fighting against home invaders (foreign invaders).

Extrapolation: If you break into my home, I guarantee that you will face output from a banana clip, several dozen rounds from a Colt 1911, and at least 2+ 12gauge 00-buckshot blasts from my sawed-off double barrel or pump before I get to my brass knuckles.

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 2:34 PM

@Dan H

I disagree on several points:

1) The first kamikazes were regular 'suicidal' pilots at Pearl Harbor.

2) the semantic "smart" -- a V-1 was "stupid" autopilot based on speed and altitude.

3) as the war moved closer to the Japanese homeland, kamikazes were formalized.

The entire justification for Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was "a preemptive strike."

Why?

December 6, 1941 (one day before PH), FDR sent a telegram to the Japanese Emperor threatening to invade Japan (FYI, because Japan threatened rubber tree plantations of JDRockefeller/Std Oil and Mr. Michelin in Vietnam)

SeanSeptember 7, 2017 3:06 PM

Enter the realm of psychopaths -- creation of willing victims (e.g. human shields). A psychopath will never take a bullet for someone else. A psychopath will always look for someone to take the bullet for them.

Actually, it only stands if the psychopath doesn't belong to any group. A "lone wolf" would act this way. But if he had to join a group (for whatever reason), he would probably look for a narcissistic compensation one way or another. I don't think psychopaths are that much taken into reality. The only one (reality) which counts is the one that suits their narcissistic needs. Therefore, I wouldn't be surprised if a psychopath felt for that kind of myth if this group were able to offer him a supposedly better life than what I had had before.

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 3:17 PM

@Sean

Actually, it only stands if the psychopath doesn't belong to any group. A "lone wolf" would act this way.

A psychopath doesn't "belong" to a group. A psychopath "owns" a group.

Hannibal the Cannibal is an interesting example of a "lone wolf." HOWEVER, his targets (throughout all of the movies) were usually other psychopaths. Even in movie Hannibal, he cut off his own hand so as to not harm someone he actually cared about.

"Lone wolfs" cannot be classified as textbook psychopaths. In other words, Hannibal was a pure cannibal (narcissistic) -- less than that of a psychopath.

Now, politicians have their own cult following -- just like the late Jim Jones in Guyana.

vas pupSeptember 7, 2017 3:23 PM

@Retired...
"They're criminals and mercenaries, some are fighting because they've been indoctrinated to the cult, some are fighting because they'll be killed if they don't fight and others are getting paid to fight."
The article is basically about those who fight without external motive applied like threat or money, that is why the first group will fight up to the death regardless versus groups two and three you specified.

albertSeptember 7, 2017 5:04 PM

@Jared,
Lame, indeed, and useless. A statistical 'analysis' of 'spirituality' vs. other motivations.

Their time might be better spent studying how and why folks become terrorists. In fact, the things that motivate any sort of criminal activity are quite similar, irrespective of background or intelligence. They'll find a lot more psychopaths than anyone suspected. Psychopathy - that's a real interesting subject for study. And no one is offering any viable solutions to the problem.
..

@Ross,
I disagree with Dawkins reductionalist analysis. The subject is way more complicated than that. Motivations vary depending upon ones place in the hierarchy of the group, their environment, external influences, etc. You don't see mullahs strapping on explosive vests, for example. Variations of popular 'religious' doctrines are useful, because they tend to refute the appearance of 'cultism' or 'extremism' in the minds of the Terrorists in Training. (I skip the acronym)

What I find most interesting, are the similarities between 'religious' cults and many other organized groups.
..

I would hope that psychological studies would be useful for mitigating terrorism. This one isn't.

. .. . .. --- ....

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 5:54 PM

@albert

Psychopathy - that's a real interesting subject for study. And no one is offering any viable solutions to the problem.

There aren't any solutions or cures for psychopathy. They are truly intraspecies predators -- much like a black widow spider that also happens to be a cannibal. Incurable.

The psychopath enjoys watching his victim suffer at the hands of his minions while he keeps his own hands 'clean'.

A minion might include a dumber psychopath such as one of today's cops -- you know -- those ones that think Tazers are "fun." (Electrocution is fun and not dangerous? Just stick your finger in a light socket.)

Want to see a real world psychopath in action whos isn't a cop? How about the Judge Rotenberg Center?

WATCH THIS (This is like a scene right out of the Planet of the Apes):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAj9W0ntUMI


(That's why Charles Manson told the judge, "You don't like me because, when you look at me, you see yourself" or something like that. Personally, I'd take his word for it. Manson was an 'institutional child' and grew up under the dominion of these types of people.)


Lawrence D’OliveiroSeptember 7, 2017 6:07 PM

“The greatest tragedy in human history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.”
-- Arthur C Clarke

Clive RobinsonSeptember 7, 2017 6:22 PM

@ Chairman Mao,

2) the semantic "smart" -- a V-1 was "stupid" autopilot based on speed and altitude.

You might want to check your facts, it used an "air-log" not speed and a primitive auto compass [1] to keep it on course. To alow for windage they pre-set a course bassed on information from a spy network...

However the network had been rounded up on landing and turned by those working for the "20 committee"[2]. The doubled agents gave false impact reports so that the V1's flew south and west of london. Unfortunatly some fell short like thr one that landed on the Woolworths in New Cross / Lewisham. They 20 committee were able to get away with it because the Germans did not fly any photo reconasance missions.

[1] The way the primitive auto compass was set is so mad it sticks in your head as it is such a very strange way. Just before launch a V1 would be taken into the "non-magnetic" building for it's "compass to be swung" (similar to the way ships compasses are). This was accomplished in the case of the V1 by hanging it in the middle of the building and pointing it toward the target on the great circle path with an alowance for windage. Then the V1's thin outer sheet steel casing was beaten with a "soft hammer" until the magnetic field was correctly aligned...

[2] So called because twenty in Roman numerals is XX or "Double Cross".

Clive RobinsonSeptember 7, 2017 7:46 PM

@ Albert,

What I find most interesting, are the similarities between 'religious' cults and many other organized groups.

Have a think about "group think" and "point of view" essentially they think they are in a Castle looking out. Whilst those outside see them trapped in a prison of their own making.

As for psychopathic behaviour, it's actually very dificult to recognise at a distance. However it is known that those that can feign "social skills" will rise up the ranks due to not having "risk aversion" behaviour in their brains. That is they will take an action and feel no remorse if it goes wrong, they will simply walk away and repeate the same behaviour else where.

But what can be thought of as psychopathic behavior can also be for other reasons. In the wild we will see the mother eat her young under certain circumstances. It actually makes sense, in that by so doing she will have a much higher probability of surviving and having more young later. In effect it's the "selfish gene" acting in a sensible way.

We see this at work with some "heroes" in that they will take what appears to be foolish/suicidal risks. In effect they sacrifice their genetic future in order to ensure the genetic future of their genetic group.

Studies of Kings that kill their relatives again are pruning out the competition, and even if childless it can be usually seen that they do not kill all their relatives. The analysis usually shows that there is a genetic advantage in their actions. That is nasty as it appears it is quite rational behavior.

Rational behaviour is carried out by both psychopaths and nonpsychopaths which is why you can not say that a person who acts that way is a psychopath. Actions alone are insufficient evidence

John SmithSeptember 7, 2017 8:05 PM

I see a connection between the willingness to make costly sacrifices, and the "free rider" problem.

From http://www.cep.ucsb.edu/papers/freerider.pdf:

"...More puzzling from a game theory and selectionist standpoint, the results of these studies clearly show that individuals are willing to incur personal costs in order to punish free riders ..."

People are willing to punish "wrong-doers" even if the former will incur a cost doing so. This willingness seems to be in-built.

Taken to extreme, fighters are willing to die in combat if, through their sacrifice, they will inflict punishment on enemies that the fighters see as wrong-doers.

Suppose you're in combat, and you come to realize you are actually fighting for wealth and power. You're fighting on behalf of, say, oil billionaires, who want to build a natural gas pipeline through Syria from Qatar to Turkey, and so take away EU nat. gas market share from the Russian giant, Gazprom. Hypothetically speaking of course.

Are you willing to make costly sacrifices for that? Can you still see local fighters, whom you have been asked to kill, as wrong-doers worthy of punishment?

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 10:35 PM

@Clive

Studies of Kings that kill their relatives again are pruning out the competition, and even if childless it can be usually seen that they do not kill all their relatives. The analysis usually shows that there is a genetic advantage in their actions. That is nasty as it appears it is quite rational behavior.


As I said, a psychopath doesn't "belong" to a group. A psychopath "owns" a group.

Extending the "divine right of kings," the 'future-king' will kill anyone and everyone who gets in his way -- including his mother, father, kids, or siblings and everyone THEY own.

The "King" is is willing to kill for "ownership" of the clan.

Chairman MaoSeptember 7, 2017 10:48 PM

@Clive

The analysis usually shows that there is a genetic advantage in their actions. That is nasty as it appears it is quite rational behavior.

How about incest and inbreeding?

"Genetic advantage"?

You're obviously a brainwashed Brit and a believer in Eugenics -- like Hitler.

Maybe "grooming the stool" offers a boost to the genetic genepool, too?

That's about "humiliation" -- which is another characteristic of a psychopath. Star Chambers, Dungeons, and torture just like this:

WATCH THIS (This is like a scene right out of the Planet of the Apes):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAj9W0ntUMI

(BTW, the founder of the video-featured Judge Rotenberg Center was also an understudy to one of the Queen's head-psychos -- B F Skinner)

RhysSeptember 7, 2017 11:19 PM

Puzzling what leaves me with more despair.

That anyone would pay for that study, let alone read it without flinging into the trash can or lining a bird cage with it?

Vis-à-vis how blind to our own mythology we are? And how assured of our sanity is by the insanity of our antagonists.

Anon`/mousSeptember 8, 2017 12:23 AM

The general focus is on non-utilitarian aspects of human conflict, which combatants themselves deem 'sacred' or 'spiritual', whether secular or religious.

This is key.

The combatants' lives are so miserable, and their futures so ruined, that they simply wish to "save face" and relieve their own suffering while they are still alive, while at the same time maintaining a suicidal plan to wreak maximum havoc and destruction.

For example, Samson in the Bible, although he was on the good side.

When "we" (as white nationalists etc. as the case may be) make others' lives so miserable by denying them their basic human rights and due process of law, we have to ask ourselves if we are not fomenting terrorism just as the Philistines did in the Bible.

I'm not looking for a white guilt trip. We simply need to clean up our legal and moral act in the U.S. to save our own lives. We do not have the luxury of self-flagellation like the German Nazis did.

Clive RobinsonSeptember 8, 2017 12:45 AM

@ Chairman Mao,

How about incest and inbreeding?

Not even a good attempt at a strawman argument.

Go back read again think.

Oh and cut out the insults that realy does not help your argument in thr slightest. In fact it says more about you than it does about anybody else.

Chairman MaoSeptember 8, 2017 2:14 AM

@Clive

Oh and cut out the insults that realy does not help your argument in thr slightest. In fact it says more about you than it does about anybody else.

I don't think anything is going to beat "grooming the stool."

The poor dude who grooms that stool is the stoogiest of all stooges. That's why the "King" (inbred psychopath) often appoints him to some 'high' position -- because he/she is a totally owned slave of the psychopath and "will follow any order, no matter how ridiculous." (That was a quote from the movie, Apocalypse Now. Uttered by Colonel Kurtz.)

"Genetic Advantage."

Sorta like voluntarily walking into a shower at Auschwitz.

David RudlingSeptember 8, 2017 2:39 AM

@Chairman Mau

Please see Bruce's important post about civility

"Commenting Policy for This Blog"

posted on March 24 this year.

WayneSeptember 8, 2017 3:37 AM

The psychopath enjoys watching his victim suffer at the hands of his minions while he keeps his own hands 'clean'.
For example, the George W. Bush regime authorizing "enhanced interrogation" (torture) by their minions at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, etc.?

Andre AmorimSeptember 8, 2017 4:34 AM

Thanks Bruce,

For your research. The WWII posts some how is taking me to the IBM History

The History of IBM: the Personal Computer to Watson.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWQd-NZcb6Y

And whatnot a lite bit a part of history of freemasonry.

;-)

Kind Regards,
Have a wonderful squid weekend.

--André(ALT+0233)

Clive RobinsonSeptember 8, 2017 5:01 AM

@ Chairman Mao,

I don't think anything is going to beat "grooming the stool."

You realy have absolutly no idea what you are talking about do you...

It's actually called "groom of the stool" and it is a position of very high trust and was much sort after. It was one of several "man servant" positions that had "the right of assist"[1] (ie to touch the monarch) and required considerable trust just as a doctor or barber surgeon would have in later times and a personal nurse would today.

With the position came "the Kings ear" which people would quite literally kill for as with care great influance could be brought to bear on the monarch (think modern day political insider with the ear of the President). The roll evolved over the years and from it we derive the word "cabinet" of advisors. "Privy"[2] Counselors still advise the monarch to this day. During the Tudor period the "Groom of the Stool" became what we would now call "The Kings Chancellor" or "Chancellor of the exchequer" in later times. It's not very difficult to look this information up, it's given in quite a few "secondary sources" you can find online. There are also images of "primary sources" if you know what key words to search for.

Which brings us around to what you claim is your "source" that you consider primary,

That was a quote from the movie, Apocalypse Now

Quoting fictional narative from a film as a "proof of subject matter knowledge" is not realy impressing anyone. In fact for those from other nations, it will probably give them further confirmation for their doubts as to the quality of your national education system product.

[1] Oh and just a helpful note for your education there were other "right of assist" posts many titled "groom of the ..." some were extreamly risky such as those involved with transportation. If the King say fell whilst getting on or off his horse your longevity would most likely be compromised. Some such as Thames Watermen passed the right on in their families and it was one of the few times a monarch would come into contact with a commoner.

[2] The word "privy" means "private" or "secret" thus it also has come to be associated with the toilet in more recent times. But importantly not in the the case of the Privy Council.

RachelSeptember 8, 2017 5:08 AM

I find it unfortunate Bruce diminishes the quality of his work and this blog by bothering with this sociological 'research' , which has the added unfortunate effect of prompting the worst in the commenters. Even me, it would seem : Chairman Mao, when Cliv e Robinson speaks against someone we know things have reached a critical low. You've now achieved a spot on my 'scroll over' list. Either gain some significant maturity tact decorum and refinement, and some sensitivity for the ways your 'output' demeans the quality of this esteemed blog and insults the rariefied intelligence of the guests- or take your drivel to an appropriate toilet, elsewhere.
Either way, do it immediately.
Moderator please stand by.

Dan HSeptember 8, 2017 6:47 AM

@Chairman Mao

The United States had no strategic interest in the Japanese wars in the Pacific. There wasn't anything gained/lost with involvement in China/Burma/Korea. The US also never said they'd invade Japan. Japan did, however, decide they had to act because US sanctions were strangling their economy which led to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Clive RobinsonSeptember 8, 2017 7:32 AM

@ Dan H,

The US also never said they'd invade Japan.

Even if the Japanese did as @Chairman Mao suggests with,

    The entire justification for Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was "a preemptive strike."

His follow on of,

    Why? December 6, 1941 (one day before PH), FDR sent a telegram to the Japanese Emperor threatening to invade Japan

Lacks logic. There is no way Japan could have assembled and deployed the forces they did in one day...

Therefor his argument of "one day before PH, FDR sent a telegram" as the cause of Pearl Harbour realy does not hold water...

Clive RobinsonSeptember 8, 2017 7:40 AM

@ Rachel,

Moderator please stand by.

With a bucket for the drivel? ;-)

I hope life finds you otherwise well?

ModeratorSeptember 8, 2017 8:56 AM

@Chairman Mao, your insults against Clive are out of line. Please do not post any more comments to this thread, and please be respectful of other guests when commenting on future posts.

ModeratorSeptember 8, 2017 12:22 PM

@Chairman Mao, arguing with the moderator will get you nowhere. I hereby revise "no more comments to this thread" to "take a week off."

albertSeptember 8, 2017 6:25 PM

@Dan H, @Clive,

While the US had no business interests in Japan, US capitalists were busy milking the War in Europe. In Sept of 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact, which effectively made them allies of Germany and Italy. Thus any attack by Japan on US interests would provide a 'good' reason for US -official- help for European countries under attack by Germany. It would also allow the US govt to finally convince the recalcitrant Americans to allow entry into war, first with Japan, then with Germany*.

"...As for psychopathic behaviour, it's actually very dificult to recognise at a distance...."

A while back, one nerd friend sent me a link to a lecture by Robert Sapolsky**. He's a neuroscientist, and a professor at Stanford. I no longer have the link, but check out Sapolskys lecture series on YouTube.

Here's a good video with Sapolsky and others:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-brqskIoBw&feature=youtu.be
It's about environmental influence on humans.

-----------
* See "Rule By Secrecy", by Jim Marrs, p.172
** See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Sapolsky
. .. . .. --- ....

vas pupSeptember 9, 2017 11:05 AM

Retired Secret Squirrel • September 7, 2017 12:28 PM

Just want to add other group #4: who commit such kind of crimes (cut heads with knife, mass rape, drown civilians alive you name it) they move through the point of no return meaning they will get bullet in the forehead after being captured anyway. They will fight to death as well as those being brainwashed.

tyrSeptember 10, 2017 11:18 PM


Japan had been engaged in a war with China
since 1937. USA a supposed Neutral cut off
their oil supply effectively stabbing them
in the back while they were in another fight.
The IJN responded by attacking Pearl Harbor.

A little later the USN responded by showing
them how to Kamikaze at the Battle of
Midway. Pre-war USN was a tightly knit club
and most of Midways pilots knew someone who
was injured at Pearl Harbor.

The people who do most of the fighting are
not asked to participate in strategic or
geopolitical planning. Once you are a gear
in the war machine peer pressure means more
than random intellectual exercises of right
and wrong.

If you are a young Islamic male your viewpoint
on the rubbelized cities of your home and
drone strikes on weddings funerals and grannies
may get your enlisted with a peer group that
is not your friend. Same thing happens to one
of the wests children who show up at recruiters.

Robert Heinlein wrote a book about why men
fight. Most think it is a satire because of
cultural blindness.

Young males are hardwired to defend the group.
Females defend the inner ring of the group.
That's how primate packs work and dressing
them up in suits and ties does not change that
pattern. It is why propaganda needs enemies
to engage the nethermost behaviors beyond the
reach of rational thought.

Nasim Taleb has an interesting concept called
skin in the game meaning suffering the direct
consequences of your own actions. Most will
never see an ISIS fighter but will blithely
rain Hellfire anti tank missles on grandmas
in Islamic countries because they have no
consequences except sympathizing with the
poor buggers blown up by jihadis on TV.

I don't see any good guys and bad guys just
the same old primitive primate BS that was
a good idea when we were naked scroungers
on the Savanna but we seriously need to
grow a new way to interact.

Human PersonSeptember 11, 2017 3:50 PM

I not only don't care about what motivates ISIS, I don't care about ISIS, period.

I would like a study as to what motivates folks thousands of miles away to care about ISIS.

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