Sunday, October 27, 2019

ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi dead, Washington Post eulogizes him

This headline actually ran at the WashPo website this morning. This is akin to a death notice to the effect of "Jeffrey Dahmer, noted connoisseur of banned dishes, dies at 34."

It was taken down after a storm of Twitter scorn, but... Why would a one-time pillar of American journalism do this? Are they just trying to troll President Trump, who took a victory lap this morning in an address to the country? They can't seriously consider one of the Muslim world's worst mass murderers to be a solemn student of theology, can they?

Here's the Commander in Chief:
President Trump, announcing the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, described him as dying "in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying.”

“He died like a dog, he died like a coward,” Trump said in a speech to the nation Sunday morning. ...

Trump said al-Baghdadi died while being chased down by U.S. forces in a tunnel, and that the ISIS leader was “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.” 
Normal Americans are gladdened by this news. The Islamic State (ISIS) grew to fill the vaccum left when President Obama abruptly pulled U.S. combat troops from Iraq in August 2010. If you read the WashPo "obituary," you'd think that al-Baghdadi was just a reluctant, yet patriotic prophet-warrior:
When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the reins of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010, few had heard of the organization or its new leader, an austere religious scholar with wire-frame glasses and no known aptitude for fighting and killing. ...

The man who would become the founding leader of the world’s most brutal terrorist group spent his early adult years as an obscure academic, aiming for a quiet life as a professor of Islamic law. But the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 upended his plans and launched him on a course toward insurgency, prison and violent jihad.

He was born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri in the central Iraqi city of Samarra on July 28, 1971. He grew up in a devout Sunni Muslim family that included several clerics and claimed to descend from the prophet Muhammad. That assertion later proved vital to Mr. Baghdadi’s efforts to anoint himself as “caliph,” or leader of the Islamic caliphate.

From his teens, he was fascinated with Islamic history and the intricacies of Islamic law. Acquaintances would remember him as a shy, nearsighted youth who liked soccer but preferred to spend his free time at the local mosque. ...
This is not just a background piece, designed by editors to give context to the man at the top of a brutal terrorist organization. It's an actual obituary. It's found in the Obits section, where you will also learn about the passing of a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, a famous artist known for using a broom to sweep paint across canvas and a scientist who studied the geology of the moon.

I'm starting to believe that this episode is just a poorly conceived troll job. Why?

It's certainly true that President Trump deeply offended al-Baghdadi's legacy and his (remaining) adherents. To say that he died in a cowardly fashion, being chased by dogs and crying at the end is a grave insult. Trump's words were carefully chosen to humiliate al-Baghdadi in death.


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