BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 21 — An Islamist group said today that it had beheaded the second of two Americans seized with a Briton last week, according to a Web site that has proven reliable in such matters.
The Islamist Web site said that the killing of the hostage, Jack Hensley, had been announced in a statement from the group and that a video of the execution would be posted later in the day. Western news agencies and the Arab news service Al Jazeera also carried reports of the killing, citing statements posted on the Internet.
“The lions slaughtered the second American hostage after the end of the deadline,” one such statement attributed to the group said.
The families of Mr. Hensley and the Briton, Kenneth Bigley, had pleaded earlier in the day for officials to help get the men released hours after the group beheaded the other American, Eugene Armstrong.
The Islamist group, One God and Holy War, led by the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, posted an Internet video after midnight showing the decapitation of Mr. Armstrong, a 53-year-old engineer kidnapped from his home in the capital last Thursday. The group threatened that the other two men, also engineers, would meet a similar fate in 24 hours if its demands were not met.
[In Washington, a C.I.A. official said that the agency had assessed with “high certainty” that the voice of the man who carried out the beheading on the first videotape, showing Mr. Armstrong’s death, was that of Mr. Zarqawi.]
I’ve heard of people wanting to nuke Mecca for this sort of thing. There are other people suggesting even worse things on a global scale. I think it’s unlikely we will, or should, do either. But either the U.S., the Russians or some other nation state will get very, very heavy handed if this sort of thing continues much longer. After the election Bush will likely not be nearly so restrained. The problem is that we don’t have many options. There is nothing to negoitate when someone insists you must convert to Islam or fight. I’ve mentioned some of the things here before that have crossed my mind. From the rational to the angry and vengeful. There is another way that probably would work and would save Islam from being targeted for extinction one way or another. If the vast majority of Muslims would publically denounce the beheading and the taking of innocent hostages. The Islamic culture as a whole, must turn on the extremists that cannot tolerate non-believers and point them out to the authorities for capture or extremely close observation. If they don’t the civilized world will be convinced of the necessity to destroy the entire religion.