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  • Day by day, a victorious coalition of insurgents draws nearer to Baghdad. Though their numbers include many political leanings and loyalties, ISIS fighters are intent on establishing a caliphate across the Middle East and the Levant. A few of them are from al-Quaeda in Iraq. Most are assorted disgruntled Sunni believers having similar aims. Destroying America does not seem to be one of them, at least today. They want an Islamic state and they want it now.

    Iraqi police and soldiers fade away as ISIS forces approach. Their conquests are not victimless, but often come with no resistance. Nothing appears to prevent them from toppling the regime in Baghdad, after which they will turn to subduing other strongholds, like Basra and Kurdistan. It may be a bloody campaign, but it won't be long one unless foreign powers intervene.

    Once they consolidate enough power in Iraq, they will press on to conquer Damascus and Beirut. That will be a stretch, but seems to be achievable the way things have been going.

    After that, things will get complicated. Nobody knows how the Saudis or Iranians will react to the new Caliphate, although it might push them closer. And within the ISIS-controlled areas, sectarian and other differences will start to surface. The whole enterprise could quickly devolve into regional governments at odds with one another.

  • So, as the state of Iraq goes down the tubes, mainstream media pundits predictably are saying it's all about us and wring their hands about how ungrateful Iraqis are for what we did for them during six years of war. Perhaps it is about us, but not in the way the bloviating talking heads mean. . .

    Think of what might happen here some tragic incident caused certain Tea Party people, Christian militias, assorted anti-government, anti-tax, anti-law enforcement, and "sovereign citizen" movements to band together, act on their fantasies, and attack minorities, immigrants, cops, liberals and government workers. If they manage to goad the government into declaring martial law, other dissatisfied citizens will join the insurgents' ranks. The longer it goes on, the more atrocities will ensue in the name of liberty and national unity.

    If, by some queer twist of fate and circumstances, the insurgents rout government forces – perhaps by having military units refuse to fight or even switch sides – we may see an American version of ISIS take control of local and state governments, or even Washington.

    There really are Americans who lust for scenarios like this. Nobody knows their numbers. Some are involved in protest groups that have a variety of agendas ranging from eliminating the IRS, public schools, and environmental regulations to banning abortion, terrorizing undocumented immigrants and creating a Christian state. If they assume power, they will appoint harsh judges who will enforce Biblical laws before the constitution and expand death penalties, but don't call it Sharia.

    Pay attention to what's going on in Iraq, because you may be seeing America's future being rehearsed there in translation.

    @image 1: An ISIS patrol. You don't want to go where it came from.

    @image 2: Members of the Michigan Militia, date unknown

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