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What Answer for the Latest Beheading?

In my post about ten days ago, I took the President to task for what I regard as his complacent response to the beheading of journalist James Foley.  The post had a political edge to it, possibly to an excessive degree, but its ultimate point was that no punishment other than the death penalty could even conceivably pass for justice in the face of such a grotesque crime.  There ensued an exchange in the comments section that elaborated this point.

Today, it got more elaboration in the worst possible way, to wit, by the release of an almost identical tape showing the equally horrible beheading, with the equivalent of a switchblade, of a second journalist, Steven Sotloff.

It seems to me that, in the face of what cannot be regarded by a sane person as other than pure evil, the arguments against capital punishment fade to black  -- or, put another way, to simple obstinacy.  

The death penalty is accepted by our people, our history and our law.  It's accepted in most parts of the world.  In those parts of the Western world where it has been eliminated, it's only because elitism triumphed over democracy.  

As these beheadings illustrate beyond serious argument, there are cases in which none of the usual abolitionist excuses even arguably applies.  It has nothing to do with Jim Crow, bad lawyers, Brady claims, poor schools, PTSD, intelligence tests and all the rest. What it has to do with is whether our country retains, or forfeits, the clarity of vision and moral confidence to see savagery when looking it in the face, and answer as George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt did.   

We shall see.


"[A]nd answer as George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt did."

Bill, you omit Truman's annihilation of savagery?

The problem as I see it is that American's, for the most part, don't have the stomach to annihilate savagery from the planet unless the savages have actually struck at the homeland.

I don't think beheading some American journalists in a foreign land where they were voluntarily domiciled will prompt a call for annihilation of jihadists worldwide (or even in Iraq/Syria) by the majority of Americans, including the POTUS.

Now, if we had another Pearl Harbor, kamikaze attacks, a sinking of the Lusitania, or another 9/11-like attack, all bets are off, or at least I hope so?

The principal point I'm making with this post is that some murders are so vile that only blind ideology could prevent a normal person from seeing the justice of the death penalty.

The reason I cited Washington and FDR is that both of them both supported and used the death penalty for crimes less awful than this one.

And the reason I use this murder, although committed abroad, as a springboard for the discussion is that this is the rare instance when a murder is on film. Abolitionists often tell us that executions should be televised. Their point is to illustrate what they view as the barbarism of capital punishment. My response is to let them take a look at today's video to remind themselves of what actual barbarism is.

P.S. I don't know what it will take to get people to understand that if we don't come to the Jihadists, they'll come to us. Maybe it will take another 9-11 attack on American soil, but it's possible that if we see American citizen/hostages being beheaded every ten days for the next few months, the public will get a better picture of what these people are actually about.

Bill, some non-murders are so vile (indeed, much viler than many murders for which capital punishment is sought by some prosecutors) that the [] ideology of some SCOTUS justices prevented them from seeing the justice of the death penalty.

Historically, were their abolishionist-minded Americans during the Nuremberg trials who believed that hanging the likes of Goring violated "justice"? I suspect that those same "abnormal"-minded persons exist today, possibly at the very highest level of government, and in greater number (than 1945-46), when it comes to "justice" for the Jihadist executioner(s).

That's the America we live in -- where a beheading on YouTube is just another (less action filled) video game or Hollywood production. Live by the sword (or become conditioned to live by it) and we will all (sooner or later) die by it.

It has been just about 13-years since September 11 and the problem of radical Islam still exists and it is really time to solve the problem before as Bill said we are attacked again 9/11 style or worse.

I do not even think morality arguments are necessary - this is self preservation, they want to destroy our country, it does not matter why or what their motivations are or whether we are right or not - simply put, if we don't get them first, they'll keep coming after us.

However, we will need some help and this where we have to be a bit pragmatic - and by pragmatic we need Russia to help. They have serious jihadist problems and have the wherewithal to make things happen. So it is time to get on the horn and cut a deal with Vlad. And let's be honest, if 3 planes piloted by 19 mainly Saudi Arabians crashed into office buildings in Moscow, there wouldn't be much left of Saudi Arabia 48 hours later.

And I think my position is entirely justifiable - Russia is bad, but jihadism is way, way worse. During the cold war we were allies with Chile, Argentina, and South Africa who were quite bad but not nearly as bad communist world domination.

This is a no-brainer. Jihadism needs to be eradicated.

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