June 19, 2014

ISIS Images Go Mainstream: Giving Terrorists a Hand

Not only have the ISIS terror images been swallowed whole, already the most famous propaganda images in years, check out this caption:

This file image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. Iraq’s military has been deeply shaken by their humiliating collapse in the face of an onslaught by Islamic militants the past two weeks. Officers talk of hardly being able to live with the shame. Commanders are under investigation for abandoning their posts. The impact is hurting efforts to rally the armed forces to fight back, with Shiite militiamen filling the void.

A “humiliating” collapse? “Hardly able to live with the shame”? Even if the Iraq military is embarrassed by the sudden rise of this resistance group and this demonstration of terror, is humiliation what’s news here?  Or is it the perpetration?

Bing defines a terrorist as:

somebody using violence for political purposes: somebody who uses violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, to intimidate others, often for political purposes.

AP’s is not just validating, packaging and sanctioning this scene for the Western media news stream — ISIS only dreaming of scoring this kind of home run — I’m afraid the caption, after the first sentence, complements the terrorist’s narrative. More specifically, the caption reinforces the demonstrative hand gesture — saying in effect, see how much humiliation we’ve brought on the Iraq military, and these out-of-uniform soldiers? As huge as this story is, infused by the historical significance of Western instigation and futility (and, try that on if you’re looking for ego implications), terror is what the picture is about, and terror is what the picture shows — not its consequent effects or repercussions.

(photo: ISIS via AP)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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