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Jihadi Jonestown

Due to an unfortunate subscription firewall, it's impossible to link to the full article in this month's Atlantic by Terence Henry entitled 'Get Out Of Jihad Free.' That's too bad because it would probably shock more than a few folks to know that the Saudi government has implemented a program that not only acknowledges the rottenness of al-Qaeda, but also offers jihadists a form of amnesty that proceeds from the premise that the terror group is a Jim Jones-style cult.

The narrative is familiar: group brainwashes disillusioned kids into severing family bonds, essential ties to family are replaced with bonds to the group which proceeds to sacrifice recruits to a cause rooted in pure psychosis. Bin-Laden is painted as a Manson-ish figure and the steps to rescuing his victims involve a public appeal by family members urging the confused jihadi to abandon holy war and come home to mom, pop, uncle, auntie and the whole crew. They say it works. I suppose we'll see about that.

Leaving aside motive, sincerity, and effectiveness of the policy, an interesting fact still remains: for Tariq Ali and certain quarters of the 'left,' al-Qaeda represents "slaves and peaseants" who "don't always obey their masters." Of 9/11 Ali said, "The subjects of the Empire had struck back." The Saudis say, 'don't drink the Kool-Aid, these guys are wackos.'

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