Washington Post Writer Says ISIS Leader Didn’t Die ‘As a Coward’ Because ‘He Blew Himself Up’

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
October 28, 2019Updated: October 28, 2019

Washington Post writer Max Boot suggested that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi showed bravery by committing suicide instead of letting himself be captured by American special forces in a raid on his compound in Syria over the weekend.

U.S. military leaders said al-Baghdadi was found hiding in a tunnel with several children. He detonated a suicide vest as soldiers approached, killing himself and the kids.

“He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way. The compound had been cleared by this time, with people either surrendering or being shot and killed. Eleven young children were moved out of the house and are uninjured. The only ones remaining were Baghdadi in the tunnel, and he had dragged three of his young children with him. They were led to certain death,” President Donald Trump said in an address to the nation on Oct. 27.

“He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.”

Boot, the Washington Post writer, posited in a Monday column that al-Baghdadi showed he wasn’t a coward by blowing himself and the children up.

“The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was contradicted by the fact that rather than be captured, he blew himself up,” Boot wrote.

Epoch Times Photo
A man walks into the Washington Post’s building in Washington on March 3, 2016. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Boot later deleted the tweet and updated his column, writing: “An earlier version included a sentence questioning whether Trump was right to call Baghdadi a coward. That was removed b/c it wrongly conveyed the impression that I considered Baghdadi courageous. As I wrote Sun: Baghdadi was ‘a sick and depraved man.'”

Boot also accused Trump of lying about the terror leader “whimpering and crying,” claiming there was “no audio” and that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley both declined to verify those details.

Milley told reporters on Monday that he wasn’t sure what Trump’s source was but said he knew the president spoke: “directly to unit members.” Milley had not spoken to the unit members but had spoken to the unit commander, the general said.

Boot’s suggestion that al-Baghdadi’s committing suicide was brave was opposed by many on social media.

“I dunno, seems a braver man would not sacrifice the lives of his children to avoid facing his enemies,” wrote one commenter.

“Great way to always take the side of the bad guys,” wrote another.

“This is a very nutty take,” added another, the Washington Free beacon reporter Stephen Gutowski.

Boot’s take came after his employer changed the headline of its al-Baghdadi obituary following heavy backlash. And reporters over the weekend also spread a conspiracy theory started by the former official photographer for President Barack Obama.

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