As the Islamic force known as ISIS captures large swaths of Iraq, it’s worth noting that they’ve done so through telegenic terrorism. Though vastly outnumbered by U.S.-supplied and supported troops, ISIS’s reputation for brutality is so fearsome and so widely known that their march to Baghdad has been largely if not entirely unimpeded. As the CNN report above indicates, they established this rep through social media. And while the IED vids are jarring, it’s the up-close-and-personal firearms-based executions (which CNN doesn’t show fully) that have made ISIS seem more powerful than their numbers would suggest. You will notice, of course, that . . .
the victims are disarmed. That’s thanks to official Iraqi policy (strict licensing, no handguns), enforced by the official Iraqi government. Which is officially up shit creek without a paddle. To the point where the government and clerics are recruiting Baghdad residents off the streets to repel the coming ISIS invasion. You know: handing civilians a gun, giving them some ammo and telling them where to position themselves.
They say all politics is local. In fact, it’s even more granular than that. All politics comes down to a fight for power between those who would enslave others and those who don’t want to be enslaved. Or shot. When push comes to shove, it’s best to be armed. Knowing who’s got what firepower where in Iraq is above my pay grade. All I know is that Gil-Scott Heron was wrong: the revolution will be televised. And the guys with the guns will be the stars.