It’s impossible to prove conclusively, I think, that ISIS is “systemically” beheading children, despite disturbing photographs and images that have surfaced online. But the United Nations has confirmed that ISIS is, in fact, murdering children.
As many as 700 have been “killed or maimed,” AFP reports; others have been trained as self-immolating mass murderers:
Islamic fighters in Iraq have killed hundreds of children including in summary executions and used some as suicide bombers, the top UN envoy on children and armed conflict said Monday.
"Up to 700 children have been killed or maimed in Iraq since the beginning of the year, including in summary executions," Leila Zerrougui told the UN Security Council.
Zerrougui said Islamic State (IS) fighters were recruiting boys as young as 13 to carry weapons, guard strategic locations and arrest civilians.
"Other children are used as suicide bombers," she added.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, children are also being impressed into ISIS’ army. ABC News ran a story last week, for example, reporting that newly kidnapped and indoctrinated children are being given “homework” assignments by their ISIS captors. These grisly assignments include teaching children how to…properly behead Westerners:
Some of the male children are then transferred to an adult military camp, where they are trained to use arms and fight. Sources familiar with activity inside the camp say in order to teach the children how to use knives, ISIS has distributed dolls with blond hair and blue eyes, like many Europeans and Americans, dressed in orange prison uniforms like those worn by prisoners in Guantanamo. The children are given large knives and told to decapitate the dolls.
Mohammed said that older kids were asked to show the rest of the group how to decapitate dolls. Anyone who failed to perform the task was punished.
A group that trains children to be suicide bombers, soldiers, and executioners cannot exist peacefully or alongside civilized societies. Hence why Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently took to the pages of USA Today, urging the current administration to “confront and eliminate” these murderers before they become even more powerful:
The threat ISIS poses cannot be overstated. This is the most vicious, well-funded and militant terrorist organization we have ever seen, and it is very quickly consolidating its power.
This is why I strongly believe the United States must lead an aggressive, international effort to confront and eliminate ISIS, including sustained airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. President Obama has now said that he intends to "degrade and destroy" ISIS. I look forward to hearing the specifics of the president's plan when he speaks on Wednesday. We either confront ISIS now or we'll have to confront it later — when it will be a much stronger enemy.
As Feinstein notes, we’ll know more about how the current administration plans to address this burgeoning threat tomorrow evening. The president, after all, is giving a major, primetime address laying out his strategy to destroy ISIS within a period of three years.