Peg and I are going to Istanbul soon. We planned our trip, and paid for it, a couple of months ago. We will fly out of the airport that was just bombed by three Russian-speaking people from Uzbekistan, Dagestan, and Kyrgyzstan. All three are part of the old Soviet Union. Their leader may be a Chechen known as Akhmed (One-Arm) Chatayev who now lives in Raqqa, Syria. ISIS claims Raqqa as its capital.
When Peg and I were sent to Russia in 2003 by the National Judicial College to teach Russian judges, we had an incident as we prepared to fly from Volgograd back to Moscow. Our clearly marked American luggage was suspected of having been used by Chechen rebels to smuggle a bomb onto the plane with the Russian judges and us. Although a ticking sound had been detected, our luggage was cleared. It was good to walk away from the plane when we got back safely to Moscow.
Chechen rebels have been struggling against the dominant Russian culture for many years. Akhmed One-Arm is reported to be a Chechen rebel turned ISIS leader. Other than some bizarre misinterpretation of Islam and a sense of bitter impotence against the governments of Russia and Turkey I see no logic in Syrian terrorists teaming with Chechen ones to kill innocent civilians in Turkey. My guess is they could not explain it either.
What they do have in common, I think, is a willingness to kill and die for a cause they see as greater than their miserable lives. The fact that most of their victims are innocent Muslims does not appear to enter their calculus of indiscriminate carnage.
I suppose they see themselves as patriots and martyrs. But to what end? For what purpose? Are they martyrs who die for their religion? Are they patriots who kill to establish their caliphate?
The one and one-half billion Muslims who go about raising their families and paying their taxes are surely as perplexed as the rest of us at the counterproductive insanity engaged in by a few thousand madmen. I say they must be insane because they keep engaging in the same terroristic behavior and expect a different result other than causing the rest of the world to coalesce against their goals. In dealing with illogical behavior we humans usually apply logic then we are puzzled when the result we expect to effect does not materialize.
As for me and Peg and our trip to Istanbul, we plan to follow the approach of Admiral David Farragut: “Damn the Terrorists, full speed ahead.” Hey don’t quibble it got us out of Russia didn’t it? Do you believe Peg is always complaining that I never take her any place exciting?