A story in the Washington Examiner notes that General Stephen Townsend, commander of the American backed coalition that is battling ISIS in Syria and Iraq, is busily trolling that rapidly shrinking number of Islamic State terrorists. In particular, he has some choice words for Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. Noting that the so-called caliph of the Islamic State is on the run somewhere on the Syria Iraq border, General Townsend stated, “When we find him, I think we'll just try to kill him first. It's probably not worth all the trouble to try and capture him." Townsend is likely applying a little psychological pressure but he does raise the question, do we try to catch or just kill the monster?

The case for killing Al Baghdadi

Of course, plenty of examples exist for just blowing Al Baghdadi or sending in some Navy SEALs to give him a tap in the head. Osama bin Laden was ended courtesy of a visit by American commandos. Numerous Al Qaeda and ISIS leaders have met their well-deserved ends through the use of predator missiles. Taking out the terrorist chieftain involves no fuss, no muss. He will be sent to his ultimate judge whose verdict, according to all of the major religions, he will not like even a little bit.

The case for capturing the ISIS leader

On the other hand, capturing Al Baghdadi has its satisfactions as well. Nothing will be quite as pleasurable to a world made weary of terrorism to see one of its chief architects led away in chains to Guantanamo.

However, the question of what to do with him next arises.

Presumably, the ISIS leader would be put on trial for his crimes. But where? Quite a number of countries have a claim on him, from Iraq and Syria where the Islamic State existed like a tumor on the land, to a number of European countries as well as the United States where ISIS committed terrorist outrages.

Al Baghdadi not only carried out enough war crimes and crimes against humanity to astonish a World War II era Nazi Party official, but a number of individual, shocking crimes involving kidnapping, rape, murder, and sexual slavery. The atrocities visited on Kayla Jean Mueller come to mind.

If Al Baghdadi is captured, perhaps some Nuremberg style tribunal could be formed to put him on trial and pass judgment on him.

The arrangement may prove complicated. European countries do not have the death penalty, even for someone guilty of such crimes as the ISIS leader. The United States does exact the ultimate price, and the Arab states who may participate in such a trial will likely insist.

Indeed, the ISIS leader deserves a death more awful that any civilized country is likely to exact. Al Baghdadi would be well served by an ending at Kim Jong-un would devise. The rope or the needle would be more mercy than he ever granted his victims.