Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with Jordan’s King Abdullah Tuesday not long after news broke that ISIS had burned to death a Jordanian pilot captured in the fight against the terrorist group. In a private session with lawmakers, the king showed an extraordinary measure of anger — anger which he expressed by citing American movie icon Clint Eastwood.
“He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn’t seen,” said Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., a Marine Corps veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, who was in the meeting with the king. “He mentioned ‘Unforgiven’ and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie.”
Hunter would not say which part of “Unforgiven” the king quoted, but noted it was where Eastwood’s character describes how he is going to deliver his retribution. There is a scene in the picture in which Eastwood’s character, William Munny, says, “Any man I see out there, I’m gonna kill him. Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah ibn al-Hussein, who has trained as a pilot, may fly a bomber himself on Thursday in the country’s retaliation against the ISIS.
Several Arabic-language newspapers reported late Wednesday that the monarch would personally participate in bombing raids on the terrorist group, citing his vow Tuesday to “strike them in their strongholds.”
The king was in Washington when news broke Tuesday of pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh’s demise at the hands of ISIS extremists. Meeting with the House Armed Services Committee shortly before leaving for Amman, he reportedly quoted the Clint Eastwood’s film “Unforgiven” and said that Jordan would pursue the jihadis until it ran “out of fuel and bullets.”
If he’s trained as a pilot, this feels less like silly Putinesque staged bravado and more like a Jordanian John Wick after vengeance. Or, maybe that’s just how I’d like to imagine it because it’s nice to imagine a leader of a country so righteously enraged by the brutal killing of his citizens and so skilled in the kicking of ass that he decides to engage in it personally. Even if it’s not the most practical of foreign policies to have each president enter the Octagon with these barbarians, I long for a modicum of the clarity that animates the impulse.
Today at the White House:
HENRY: “I want to go back to Jordan.”
HENRY: “— and ISIS. I’m confused by your answer to Michelle’s question about the executions that happened overnight —“
HENRY: “— when you said, ‘I don’t have a reaction to it.’ I mean, how can the president yesterday say, we are here, we support Jordan, they are a key member of the collation. They make this decision over night and you can’t say whether or not you support the executions.”