The face of the tiger

A few days ago, James Foley was beheaded by an ISIS jihadist, apparently British by upbringing and passport, if not in his primary identity. The decapitation of an American by an outfit he’d previously dismissed as the “jayvees” of jihad was sufficiently serious for President Obama to postpone his tee time, although not to any useful effect. Aside from the fake, tinny chumminess (all “Jim” this, “Jim that, just as for Ambassador Stevens it was all “Chris” this, “Chris that”) the commander-in-chief reserves for the victims of an enemy he assured us was on the run, Obama’s remarks were fatuous even by his own recent standards, and did not long delay his arrival at the links…

Thousands of people apparently enjoy decapitation, and certainly more than did in the late 20th century, and certainly far more British, Dutch, German, Belgian, and other European nationals than have done since medieval times. And many more citizens of western nations with no particular desire to behead anyone themselves nevertheless enjoy it as a spectator sport. Prissily declaring that something “has no place” is all too typical of Obama, a man who seems to think the 18th hole is the moral high ground. But what the has-no-place posturing boils down to is: its place is more secure than ever and he’s not going to do a thing about it.

My book, The Face Of The Tiger, takes its title from something I wrote twelve years ago – after another beheading, of another American journalist. It is deeply depressing a decade and more on to find all the delusional boilerplate virtually unchanged – not least the assurance that this is nothing to do with Islam, thereby absolving all those hundreds of millions of alleged “moderate Muslims” from the obligation to do anything about it.