Three ISIS Militants Were Found Dead By A River, And The Traces They’d Left Behind Were Astonishing

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Image: via BBC
Image: via BBC

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?

Image: via BBC
Image: via BBC

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.

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Image: via BBC
Image: via BBC

In February 2017, BBC journalists Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati were traveling with members of the Iraqi police special forces’ Emergency Response Division (ERD) near the war-ravaged city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The discovery of three dead militants by a farmhouse on the banks of the Tigris River was nothing remarkable under the circumstances. What the patrol found in the possession of one of the fallen, however, was extraordinary…

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