For whatever reason, fictional depictions of villains — e.g., in movies — don’t usually portray them cavorting with cute cats.
For some superstitious people, cats may be the companions of witches. But in the tribal mind of culture, cats don’t hang out with thugs who behead and incinerate people, gang-rape them, and slaughter their children in front of them.
So it’s as jarring as Islamic State invariably is, when its members post images of cats online as lures for potential recruits. (What, no blood-spewing attack rabbits?)
LU picked up early on the cat-themed appeals of ISIS, noting that the first American ISIS suicide bomber had a thing for them. His affinity for cats was tied to a long history of feline themes in Islam. ISIS has been honoring that history with its persistent use of cat-centric imagery.
In November, in the weeks after the 11/13 terror attack in Paris, Belgians enduring a national terror alert took up the cat theme, kicking it about on social media in a satirical effort to “confuse” the terrorists.
It’s cute and all. But it does cause one to, er, reflect on what the “Western way of war” has become in a post-modern age. Victor Davis Hanson wrote of a West whose mode of fighting was brief, bloody, destructive, and decisive. Posturing, heroics, and style were not nearly as important as securing a decisive outcome from war, such that what came after it was materially different from what came before. This was a blunt, merciless stance, favoring prosaic elements like technology and group discipline, but it was based on the postulate that war is an interruption of civil life, not an ornament for it.
That was then.
Unless, of course, today’s Americans — some of them, at least — still cling to the old Western idea of war: that it should stop making with the cats and the satire, and get something decisive done already.