The dead cannot speak, but how they are treated by the living tells us a lot about a people. Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or IS), otherwise known as Daesh, often desecrate the enemy dead. They do this in the most visceral and gruesome ways – not only to frighten their enemies, but also to heap shame and contempt on their victims. So how should the fallen soldiers of ISIS be treated?
There is a natural impulse to de-humanize those who commit atrocities, to dismiss them as savage or sub-human and, in some cases, to exact revenge. But to do so is to risk succumbing to the same irrational and inhumane drives that fuel all atrocities. More than this, understanding an enemy is essential in order to defeat them.