Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fears of a jihadi mail order bride? You're kidding, right?

It must be hard being a comic doing topical humor these days. It's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between parody and real life. The latest example? The "jihadi wife." There's been an incredible amount of air time being wasted on speculating whether or not the mail order bride in the San Bernadino shooting was part of a nefarious plot to ensnare American Muslim men into participating in terrorism by setting them up with radicalized wives. Government officials and various "experts" who really should know better were tossing around phrases like "This could be a game changer" and "we need to look at fiancee visas more closely."

The stupid, it burns. In one breath, they're talking about how both Sayeed and Tashfeen were expressing radical Islamic ideas online before Daesh emerged as a formal organization in Iraq and Syria. In the next, they're speculating about whether or not Tashfeen could have been part of a larger plan by groups like Daesh to lure lonely American men, some sort of "honey pot" scheme. You know, even if it was, it would have to be one of the dumbest, most inefficient schemes of all time. This is not something that should be inspiring fear. It's more like, "Are you guys shitting me? Your plan is to strike fear into the hearts of the American people by sneaking in an occasional jihadi bride? Just how much hashish have you guys been indulging in while doing your plotting?" Because let's get real -- the whole jihadi bride fantasy has so many uncontrollable factors involved that there's no way it would be worth the effort.

First, you've got to recruit the women. And, yes, it's pretty clear that there are women who would be willing to be recruited. After all, there are naive teenagers running away from home in England to hook up with Daesh in Syria and Iraq, so logically there must be women who would be willing to go in the other direction. Of course, if you're recruiting the potential brides from women who are living in Islamic nations like Pakistan, there's always the risk you're going to recruit women who will go along with the scheme not because they want to don a suicide vest when they get to the U.S. but simply because they want to get away from wherever they happen to be now. Then you've got to get them to set up reasonably attractive profiles on whatever the Islamic equivalent of Cherry Blossoms happens to be, all the while remembering you've got no control over the potential bridegrooms who may view those profiles. Toss in the "on the Internet no one knows you're a dog" factor, i.e., the possibility that the prospective bridegroom is lying his ass off to the potential bride because he's probably motivated a whole lot more by the desire to acquire a woman -- any woman! -- to share his bed than he is by any mutual interest in reading religious texts or making the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the odds of being able to get a bunch of radicalized potential terrorists placed in locations that would make sense strategically drops to effectively zero.

In short, what you're looking at is a remarkably awkward scheme. So why waste time talking about it as though it was a serious possibility? I'd guess it's because no one wants to say out loud that they don't have a clue as to what exactly led up to the shooting in San Bernadino. Speculating vaguely about convoluted plots sounds marginally better than admitting ignorance. In fact, if it wasn't for the inconvenient fact that the shooters were Muslim, San Bernadino would fit fairly comfortable into an American classic: the disgruntled worker coming back to wreak revenge on the co-workers against whom he had a grudge of some sort. Unfortunately, that particular narrative feeds the push for gun control and raises uncomfortable questions about why no one noticed the guy was disgruntled. It's actually a more uncomfortable scenario than the alternative: the long arm of Daesh reaching out to instill fear in Americans. Thus, the shooters were Muslim, we're at war with Islamist terrorists, ergo (and conveniently), the shooting had to be part of larger scheme. And if speculating about unrealistic, highly improbable plots helps it all fit into that larger narrative, then the experts will speculate away. Whether or not jihadi brides make sense is, of course, completely irrelevant.


  1. This is hilarious. They must be hard up for stuff to fear monger with

  2. Trump or Cruise becoming President pose a greater threat to our way of life than jihadi wives


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.