The news is reporting beheaded corpses in Iraq. Just another new horror. It seems to me that beheading a person, while an effective means of killing them, is not particularly efficient, particularly where one has a number of people, as above, to kill. It sounds like work. Too much effort for the result.
That tells me that the beheading part of the murder has ritual significance beyond the mere killing of another human being with malice. And as the killers are most likely motivated by some sort of religious zeal -- jihad -- it is a nearly unavoidable conclusion that the ritual beheadings are a religious ritual that finds a comfortable home in their religious heritage.
In other words, religion of peace, my perfect, aging ass. You can't see these people as criminals to be handled in a justice system that aspires to notions of due process. They aren't criminals in their own mind; they are behaving with religious purity. And you can't see these people as simple soldiers in a war of opposing uniformed armies sharing cultural notions of military fair play, holding prisoners of war for the duration and for eventual repatriation. Their religion apparently rejects those cultural notions both for themselves and for their captives.
It occurs to me that we should not long adhere to our own cultural notions of decency in this regard. The conflict is something more primal, more "red of tooth and claw." I think once we got beyond the problem of distinguishing between ordinary Muslims and the spooky, dangerous jihadists who conceal themselves among them, it's time to set aside decency to look to efficiency in our treatment of jihadists. No jail. No imprisonment. No internment. Just kill them.
They'd do it to you.