November 24, 2014

ISIS and the Intimate Kill

The Islamic State has made violence look easy. That’s what makes the group so terrifying.

A Kurdish refugee child joins others in paying respects to a soldier killed by ISIS during the battle for Kobani. (Yannis Behraki/Reuters)

It isn’t all shock and gore. Sometimes, it’s mock and bore. Consider the video that ISIS released a few weeks ago of the British hostage John Cantlie “reporting” from the besieged town of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border. The video’s theme is the unreliability of Western media coverage of the conflict in Syria and Iraq, expressed in a tone of mocking contempt. The larger theme is the invincibility of ISIS and the duplicity and weakness of the West. The video opens with some striking aerial footage of war-ravaged Kobani, filmed from a drone. But it’s a big yawn thereafter.

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