President Obama said today that the fiery murder of a 27-year-old Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot by ISIS “just indicates the degree to which, whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt.”
Obama briefly commented on the grisly, expertly produced ISIS video when prompted at the end of a previously scheduled White House event intended to highlight Obamacare success.
“I just got word of the video that had been released. I don’t know the details of the confirmations. But should, in fact, this video be authentic, it’s just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization. And it, I think, will redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated,” he said.
“…We’re here to talk about how to make people healthier and make their lives better, and this organization appears only interested in death and destruction.”
The White House later released a more crafted statement, with Obama saying Americans “join the people of Jordan in grieving the loss of one of their own.”
“Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh will forever personify the bravery of a true son of Jordan, one who honored his family and country by his seven years of military service. Along with his compatriots and other Arab and international members of the coalition, Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh was in the vanguard of the effort to degrade and defeat the threat posed by ISIL,” Obama’s statement said.
On Christmas Eve, ISIS released the ID card of 1st Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh and paraded parts of his downed plane, as well as images of the pilot in a soaked T-shirt and stripped from the waist down with blood coming from his mouth. ISIS’ magazine ran an “interview” with the pilot and referred to him throughout as “murtad” — apostate.
“Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh’s dedication, courage, and service to his country and family represent universal human values that stand in opposition to the cowardice and depravity of ISIL, which has been so broadly rejected around the globe,” the president’s statement continued. “As we grieve together, we must stand united, respectful of his sacrifice to defeat this scourge. Today, the coalition fights for everyone who has suffered from ISIL’s inhumanity. It is their memory that invests us and our coalition partners with the undeterred resolve to see ISIL and its hateful ideology banished to the recesses of history.”
King Abdullah of Jordan was in Washington today, but meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden instead of Obama.
He made plans to hop on a plane back to Amman after the news broke.
The White House said Biden offered his condolences to the monarch and “condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the brutality and violence that ISIL has consistently shown to its captives and to the people of Iraq and Syria.”
“The Vice President called for the release of all those held prisoner by ISIL. The Vice President also reinforced America’s ironclad support for Jordan and his appreciation of Jordan’s contributions to the coalition against ISIL. As the Vice President made clear, this horrific video exposes ISIL’s true nature for all to see. It only reinforces our resolve to defeat ISIL together.”
Kerry said the fact that Kasaesbeh was murdered “after his father’s plea for compassion reminds all the world that this foe has no agenda other than to kill and destroy, and places no value on life, including that of fellow Muslims.”
Kasaesbeh, one of eight children, had married just a few months ago.
British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to “not stop until these evil extremists and their poisonous ideology are defeated.”
“These terrorists’ brutal behavior will only strengthen our resolve. We stand in solidarity with our Jordanian friends and we will continue to work with them and our other Coalition partners to defeat ISIL,” Cameron said in a statement from 10 Downing Street. “Together we are making progress.”