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Islamic State: Beheadings vs drone attacks

Steven J. Sotloff was made a martyr by the Islamic State
Steven J. Sotloff was made a martyr by the Islamic State
Reuters / Getty Images / August 28, 2014

Steven J. Sotloff was made a martyr by the Islamic State. He was a journalist who believed in freedom of the press. He believed in the free world and stood for all humanity. When he was mutilated by an unmerciful act of barbarism, journalists will always remember the brave likes of him who have fallen before and will keep coming to tell the truth.

Beheadings are intended to create shock value over other forms of execution. In the instance of the Islamic State beheading innocent journalists, the act serves to self-demonize the terrorists to the lowest rung of inhumanity. For their following, it is supposed to demonstrate that they can get even with their free world prosecutors in ways that promote their brand of terror.

ISIS terrorists might believe that beheading will entice their following to be ever loyal less horrible things will happen to deviants among them, and their families and friends. The fact is that if beheading and such forms of punishment are acceptable means among that sect of Sunni Muslims, it surely leaves no choice for the free world except to combat them into oblivion. There is no turning back because they have set a standard for themselves.

When you see a drone strike in black and white images taken from a great distance, you only see vehicles and small specks that are ISIS fighters. Then there is a puff of smoke and after which there isn’t much remaining. Many ISIS fighters lost their heads and most everything else.

Saying that just underscores the ridiculousness of war. The difference is that ISIS is fighting to impose a cruel and inhumane order upon humanity, whereas the free world is seeking to liberate people from hostile regimes and ideologies of all kinds.

“Historical background.

Beheading with a sword or axe goes back a very long way in history, because like hanging, it was a cheap and practical method of execution in early times when a sword or an axe was always readily available.

The Greeks and the Romans considered beheading a less dishonourable and less painful form of execution than other methods in use at the time. The Roman Empire used beheading for its own citizens whilst crucifying others.

Beheading was widely used in Europe and Asia until the 20th century, but now is confined to Saudi Arabia, and Iran. One man was reportedly beheaded in Iran in 2003 – the first for many years. It remains a lawful method in Qatar and Yemen, although no executions by this method have been reported.

Beheading continued in Britain up to 1747 (see below) and was the standard method in Norway (abolished 1905), Sweden (up to 1903) and Denmark (last in 1892) and was used for some classes of prisoners in France (up until the introduction of the guillotine in 1792) and in Germany up to 1938. All the European countries that previously used beheading have now totally abolished the death penalty.

China also used it widely, until the communists came to power and replaced it with shooting in the 20th century. Japan too used beheading up to the end of the 19th century prior to turning to hanging.”

We must not forget that Henry VIII ordered the beheading of two of his six wives.

Acts of beheading in the 21st Century, and ideologies and organizations that subscribe to that have no place in the world today. To that end the scourge must be deleted.

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