18 U.S.C. § 2331 defines “international terrorism” as having the following characteristics:
• Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
• Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
• Occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/terrorism/terrorism-definition.
We appreciate the fact that the world is rife with grievances, some of which are more than legitimate. Ours is an imperfect existence. Nevertheless we strongly condemn the barbarity, inhumanity and cruelty routinely exhibited by ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and others engaged in the scourge of international terrorism.
No cause is advanced by kidnapping and raping hapless teenage girls, as done by Boko Haram in Africa. No dignity is evidenced by murdering 145 people, most of whom were school children as committed by the Taliban in Pakistan. And there is no nobility in the many atrocities committed by ISIS. Shooting helpless victims, sawing off the heads of captured prisoners as they kneel on bended knee and the latest atrocity; burning alive a captured Jordanian pilot are instead inexcusable acts of pure evil the world can little tolerate.
Moving beyond the inhumanity of decapitation, the execution of the Jordanian pilot by ISIS is particularly repellent. This is more than simple political assassination; worse than the abuse of a prisoner of war. This was the unconscionable torture and murder of a helpless human being.
The pilot was confined in a locked cage, fully aware of his impending demise and totally unable to prevent it. He was made to witness the flames as they inexorably crept the length of the floor to his cage. He was forced to observe the fire as it passed through the cell bars and ignited his clothes. And he was compelled to experience the excruciating pain of the flames as they blistered his skin and melted his flesh.
For 22 minutes this man was made to suffer unbearable physical, mental and emotional anguish as the flames consumed him. And other than pray, there was nothing he could do but die and to do so horribly.
No one deserves this fate; no one. Most wish to pass peacefully in their sleep, not to die by orchestrated incineration. A more horrible death is difficult to imagine. And the terror of being conscious while being burned alive for the eternity of minutes; the forever of seconds only adds to the outrage.
Even more damning, the entire incident was recorded with a written script, a narrator and four cameras. The tape was then disseminated as a propaganda tool for ISIS. The whole grisly affair constitutes a new low even for blood-thirsty terrorist.
No matter how ISIS or any other terrorist organization justifies its action, the community of man can not and must not tolerate this level of depravity; this type of barbarity. ISIS, al Qaeda Boko Haram and others of their ilk must be hunted, degraded and eliminated with all due haste.
Blackacre has generally confined itself to domestic issues and with good reason. By way of confession we have yet to travel outside the continental United States, have no friends or relatives in other countries and foreign affairs played no part in our primary or secondary education. We therefore profess no expertise on the subject of international terrorism.
Yet, we know that there are some who exemplify pure evil; who can neither be reasoned with nor mollified. Hitler was one such example. ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Boko Haram may well be others.
And despite our ignorance or perhaps because of it, we offer the following observation. As we read of the Jordanian execution of two convicted ISIS terrorists in retaliation for the pilot’s death, as we watch the worlds bombs fall on the terrorist camps, as we listen to the President promise certain military action, we cannot help but note the irony and sadness of the human condition.
The Jordanian pilot presumably rained fire on ISIS and its adherents in the form of bombs and missiles. Upon his capture ISIS returned the favor by visiting fire upon the pilot. And the Jordanians have retaliated by raining even more smoke, flames and violence upon ISIS.
They kill innocents and so do we. They call our conduct barbaric and we say the same of them. Which is the greater evil?
Yes, ISIS and other terrorists must be stopped. But we lose the war on terrorism the moment we forfeit our sense of honor; the moment we sink to their level of depravity. No matter the size of our bombs, regardless the might of our armies and despite the level of their insanity, their willingness to martyr themselves and those around them, hate cannot conquer hate. Until and unless mankind learns to resolve its differences absent fire, we will never win the war on terror and we will never eliminate pure evil.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum