The video is out there for all to see. It shows a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage by ISIS savages. But while networks and websites were debating whether or not to show the gruesome footage, and just how much warning to give viewers, something else happened this week that has gone nearly unnoticed.
The United Nations issued a chilling report Wednesday detailing some other Islamic State atrocities. The victims aren’t pilots or soldiers or journalists, but children. ISIS is routinely abducting boys and girls in Iraq, who are tortured, raped, and sold as sex slaves. Non-Islamic children have been crucified or buried alive, while others are used as suicide bombers or “human shields” to ward off air strikes.
Want more evidence of ISIS depravity? The UN reports that many of the children were “mentally challenged” to begin with, even before being subjected to “systematic sexual violence.” The ISIS butchers seem to be even worse than the world had known, subhuman in the literal meaning of that overused term.
When it comes to body counts, ISIS is not close to Hitler, Stalin, and other 20th century villains.
But ISIS sure seems to take more pride in its evil.
The Nazis didn’t announce to the world that cattle cars were transporting human beings to mass extermination camps; the Soviets tried to hide the fact (and did so, with the help of the New York Times) that millions of its citizens were being intentionally starved to death. But ISIS, apparently incapable of shame, proudly produces slick videos showing beheadings and immolation.
We can also compare the responses of world leaders. In 1938 Winston Churchill wrote “While England Slept,” an attack on appeasement in general and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in particular. Then, in 1940, Churchill gave his first speech to the House of Commons after replacing Chamberlain. The nation’s policy, he proclaimed, would be “to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.”
Well, now that ISIS is approaching Nazi-level degeneracy, the world looks to President Obama, who issues weak statements about “shrinking ISIL’s sphere of influence.” The president also sets the goal of “degrading” the Islamic State and turning it into a “manageable problem.” Can you even begin to imagine Winston Churchill spewing that kind of pabulum?
There is at least one leader in the West who recognizes and identifies evil, perhaps because he studied in a Roman Catholic seminary and briefly considered the priesthood. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has identified ISIS as a “death cult” that is completely unashamed of its atrocities. “They absolutely revel in the killing,” he said, while calling for “extreme force.”
And then there is Abdullah ibn al-Hussein, a former special forces commander now known as King Abdullah of Jordan. The king sounded downright Churchillian this week when he vowed to pursue ISIS until his army “runs out of fuel and bullets.” He then ordered the immediate execution of two Al Qaeda terrorists who had been languishing in Jordanian jails. Yes, at times it’s good to be king.
Thankfully, we don’t have a king who can order the immediate execution of prisoners. But we should be able to execute a plan that demands more than merely “degrading” the Islamic State and its mass murderers. 80 years ago the world looked away as madmen took over an entire country, then other countries. That chapter of history ended with a Holocaust and vows of “never again.”
Well, something similar is happening again, thus far on a much smaller scale. Will strong, Churchill-like leaders rally the world against this pure evil? Or will the Chamberlain attitude prevail, where we consider making peace treaties with those who would behead, rape, and crucify our children?
During his recent sit down with NBC, President Obama defended his ISIS strategy with eight words: “Anything we could be doing,” he insisted, “we are doing.” Does anyone believe that?
The crisis is no longer approaching, Mr. President. It has arrived.