Thomas Wictor

It’s about controlling your fear

It’s about controlling your fear

Denial and self-delusion fascinate me. I just read an article I can’t recommend enough: “Captured ISIS Fighter: Joining Extremists in Syria Ruined My Life.” It confirms everything I thought about the caliber of people who join the Islamic State. This idiotic twenty-four-year-old Turk believed all the propaganda he saw, so he didn’t know that being a warrior is about controlling your fear.

The article is fun to read, in a grotesque, Schadenfreude-licious way.

RIMELAN, Syria — A college dropout who surrendered after just three days of fighting for ISIS told NBC News that joining the militant group was worst decision he ever made.

“They burn your life, they leave nothing,” the 24-year-old said from a Kurdish-run Syria where he has been held since being captured just over a month ago. “I can’t do anything now. If I go to them [ISIS], they will kill me. If I go to Turkey, they will arrest me. If I stay here, I will go to prison. I have nothing. The only escape for me is death.”

He added: “I have no life, no future.”

The man said he joined ISIS to get away from his life in Turkey, where he had few friends and his parents were pressuring him to study, marry and “straighten up” his life.

“My life was hard and nobody liked me,” he said while crying. “I didn’t have many friends. I was on the Internet a lot and playing games.”

He sounds like every Jew-hater who goes after me on social media.



I don’t feel sorry for this failed Islamic State terrorist because he was going to murder people as an antidote to his own self-loathing. But look what happened!

The prisoner said he trained with the Sunni group for just over two months, which involved time spent on weapons, fitness and religion.

But just three days after he was sent to the town of Tal Abyad — which is located on Syria-Turkey border — a bombing raid killed six of the fighters he was with.

“I got scared because in my whole life I hadn’t seen anything like this,” he said of the airstrike. “And since I was scared, I threw my pistol away and my legs couldn’t hold me.”

He added: “When we heard the sound of bombing, we could have died of fear … I decided to surrender in order not to be killed.”

I’ve met lots of former and active-duty military people, as well as law-enforcement officers. My cousin Filbert was a US Federal Marshal.


He was in gun battles, and though he didn’t discuss it, I was told he’d shot to death more than one criminal.

Just about everyone who succeeds in war fighting or law enforcement will tell you that it’s not about being fearless. Instead, you control the fear that you naturally and unavoidably feel.

There are exceptions. Years ago I read about a Russian-born Israeli who joined Yamas (Yehidat HaMista’arvim), the special-operations unit of the Border Police. These counterterrorists are directly subordinate to the Israel Security Agency, the Shin Bet. The article said that this young man was a legend in the Shin Bet because he was entirely without fear. He could pass for a Palestinian, so he regularly went into Gaza to gather intelligence. Aside from counterterrorism, his only other interest was playing the violin.

If you don’t feel fear, something’s wrong with you. I’m glad that fearless people work for the right side, but fear serves a purpose. A truly great book is The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence, by Gavin de Becker. The takeaway from the book is that we always know when something is wrong. A little internal voice always warns us. We get into trouble only when we ignore the signals.

If I had to go to war, I’d rather be with people who felt fear than those who didn’t. Fearless people tend to die. They fall off mountains while free climbing, or their parachutes don’t open, or they get mauled to death by their pet tigers, and so on.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, there was a massive influx of extreme-sports aficionados who enlisted in the military. One young woman said that there was no rush in the world like being blown up by an improvised explosive device (IED). She volunteered for patrols in the hopes of running over an IED.

Fear is a survival mechanism. When I was almost murdered on December 28, 1995, I lost my mind with fear. I completely panicked. But then I recovered enough of my senses to go back and die with my brother Tim. Even though I hated his guts for not listening to me when I told him we were in trouble, I knew that if I left him to die alone, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

I’m glad that Islamic State terrorists are so afraid that they’re surrendering after just three days of combat. It tells me that we’re doing the right thing. It’s true that being on the receiving end of an air strike is terrifying.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” is an American close-air support (CAS) aircraft originally designed to destroy tanks.


It has a 30mm, seven-barreled, electric-powered cannon called the GAU-8 Avenger.


The aircraft was actually designed around the cannon. Each round is this big.


In Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria, the A-10 is used against personnel. People. It fires 70 of those giant rounds per second. The gun makes a distinctive sound.

Mistakes happen in all wars. In Afghanistan an American A-10 pilot thought these British soldiers were Taliban. Nobody was injured.

Though scared to death, the Brits conducted an organized retreat. They kept their heads. None of them deserted. Of the 2.5 million Americans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over fourteen years of combat against jihadist terrorists, only two deserted to the enemy.

The Turkish Islamic State idiot who surrendered after three days of combat was given two months of training. That’s nothing. Earlier I wrote about the “elite Islamic State shock troops.”

A secret to IS success: Shock troops who fight to the death

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bearded and wearing bright blue bandanas, the Islamic State group’s “special forces” unit gathered around their commander just before they attacked the central Syrian town of al-Sukhna. “Victory or martyrdom,” they screamed, pledging their allegiance to God and vowing never to retreat.

The IS calls them “Inghemasiyoun,” Arabic for “those who immerse themselves.” The elite shock troops are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat.

These fearless men who throw away their lives? Guess who they are?


So while the most experienced fighters are committing suicide, the replacements are surrendering after three days.

The Islamic State has less than four years to live. Guaranteed.