I thought an even more apt comparison might between the ISIL and the CSA. Both sought to reestablish an outmoded system of law and society and felt they could carve a state that would maintain that system through an act of war against another state that was still struggling to establishing itself. In both cases, as is usual in war, acts of atrocity were commited on all sides.
Some argue that it is unfair to compare something that happened 165 +/- years ago with something happening today. But what is time? and does it really matter.. The 19th century Catholic historian John Dahlberg Lord Acton confronted the same question when he criticized a collegue, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, for a history of the church which pretty much exonerated all Popes from all wrong doing. The author responded that it was not fair to judge people of the past by today's standards. Acton suggested that the standard he used had been established 1900 years earlier in the Sermon on the Mount. Ignorance of ethics is no excuse for bad behavior.
Time was invented by human beings for human purposes. What time is it? can be a very personal and particular question. What year is it? will get different answers from Jews, Christians, and Muslims and totally different answers from Asians, Africans, and Aborigines. As i read my friends journal entry. it occurred to me that this is the 21st century for Christians (Jesus was supposedly born about +/- 1 C.E. (which is why most of us call it A.D.); but it is the 14th century for Muslims (relevant time begins with Muhammed's escape from Mecca in 622 C.E.)
In our 21st century some Muslims seem fanatical, violent, and uncompromising; while some Christians seem reasonable, tolerant, problem solvers.. But this is Islam's 14th century. What were Christians like in their 14th century?
In our 14th century all "good Christians" in Western Europe were Roman Catholics. The Church dictated faith and behavior. It had recently concluded the last of eight or ten crusades against Islam, some of which had been horribly bloody and had included among its victims Jews and Eastern Christians. Genocide had been successfully committed against the Cathars and the Walsensians would soon come very close to suffering the same fate. The Hundred Years War was being fought between two Roman Catholic armies, and the Inquisition was in full swing and would continue another 200 years. Jews had been persecuted throughout Christian history but now the first of the "final solutions" had begun -- kill one-third, expel one-third, and convert one-third.
Of course, these sorts of comparisons are ridiculous. But what is even more ridiculous is the idea that the line between good and bad, right and wrong, can be drawn anywhere but right through the middle of the mind, body, and soul of each and every human being.