The former Army Ranger did not address the camera.
It’s tough to take any solace when the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria commits a murder, as it made clear yet again on Sunday it had done with the release of a video of the apparent beheading of American Peter Kassig.
But as grimly depressing as the video was—this is the fifth recorded killing of a Westerner released by the group since August—it differed from those that came before.
The video didn’t feature as many high production values or multi-camera angles. Most startling, Kassig, an Indiana native, didn’t make a final statement into his captors’ cameras, as those who died before him had done (he did, however, speak to Time early last year before he was kidnapped).
Kassig, 26, “doesn’t have much to say,” said ISIS’s British-accented, black-robed executioner on the video.
There is speculation over why this video is different.
“The likeliest possibility is that something went wrong when they were beheading him,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the New York Times.
But there’s another possibility. “I don’t know how this went down, or if it really did,” tweeted Andrew Exum. “But I like the idea of the Ranger not saying a damn thing.”
Kassig became a Ranger in 2006, and served with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Iraq in 2007. Exum himself is a former Ranger, an elite band of soldiers that the Army declares to be its “premier direct-action raid force.”
Kassig knew what he faced, and he knew the Ranger Creed, which says:
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers…
Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some.
Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.
His family, and his nation, can take solace in Ranger Kassig’s silent courage before his country’s enemies.