Monday, November 30, 2015

Paris: Merely a Litmus Test?

The front page story of The New York Times today explores the finances of the terror group ISIS. With reserves in the millions and perhaps in the billions and an estimated 900,000,000 in regular annual revenue, the group isn't likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

I think the bigger message from the article is that ISIS is learning from the model of the West. Tickets for broken tail lights? That trick is straight out of the West's playbook. How many times have people gotten a speeding ticket only to complain afterward that the police should be out there stopping real crime? ISIS has studied how the West (particularly its local, state, and national governments) has inflated its coffers and successfully duplicated its practices. 

The real question now is: What else are they learning from the West? 

Awful as it sounds, I can't help but think that Paris may have been merely a litmus test for these guys. Station several hundred operatives across the world's major cities, attack Paris, and see what happens. Which services go down first? How fast? How many? Is there a pattern to it? How much is reported on the news versus what people are seeing in person?

Write it all down, report back to HQ.

What really strikes me is how detailed the process must be. I mean, tail light tickets? Folks, ISIS is taking notes. Really detailed notes. And while I applaud efforts to "study the enemy," I think trying to understand how they understand us is at least as relevant.

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