As per TV Tropes, the Moral Event Horizon is the point in a story where a character goes from possibly redeemable to irrevocably evil--it's the point at which some action means there's no going back to a sympathetic character--no matter how "misunderstood" or horrible-their-back-story or whatever. In real life, just as in academics, people can argue when that line has been crossed.
Yesterday the Taliban attacked and killed over 100 people in a Pakistani school--most of them, apparently, children. ISIS has released a pamphlet that justifies (and explains the rules around) taking non-Islamic women as slaves. Of course Boko Haram has, of course, split the difference by taking school girls for slaves (although they were probably Muslim).
There are pragmatic reasons for this behavior: in the under-sexed Islamic culture with far too many young men without prospects, the idea of getting a woman as bounty is a recruiting tactic (so is less permanent jihad-justified sex). The Pakistani school attack may have been done to shore up internal conflicts and prove the Taliban is still relevant. Brutality as a tactic is useful for breaking the enemy's morale and terrifying them into submission (as has happened repeatedly with ISIS's cross-desert push). Finally, certain atrocities, like the journalist beheadings, are designed to draw ransom dollars and/or maneuver the US into a ground war where the battle-space assets the terrorists have (suicide bombers) may be used more effectively than against a lazy-paced drone-war (as well as legitimizing the caliphate).
That said, it really does appear that radical Islam, as a whole, has taken Google's mission statement and made it one word shorter.
The Torture Documents
Senate Democrats, for what are probably political reasons, have released an analysis of the CIA's torture program (called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Do they read Orwell at the CIA? Hell yes, they read Orwell). It details a variety of things such as "rectal feeding" (which is, at least, a medically accurate description of the technique until you get to the word feeding). While various parties have defended the actions described (it was early days after 9/11! We did get valuable intel! It was medically necessary!!) the facts in question are not disputed: We actually did these things. It was sanctioned by the government.
There will be no judicial reprisals.
What's Your Mission Statement?
The Omnivore is not making the case that the acts depicted in the torture document equate to the magnitude of the atrocities that radical Islam (ISIS, the Taliban, Boko Haram) are perpetrating. They don't--and if you think they do, by some moral objective moral index, The Omnivore can't help you there. That's not what's interesting about these two observations.
What's interesting to The Omnivore is that if "character is what you do when you think nobody's watching," then whatever it's called when it's printed under your letterhead is a very strong statement about not just your values--but your public attestation of your values. The CIA torture program was done in the dark (and, The Omnivore believes, the partisan divide in defense of it hews to the partisan divide in general: if it had been an Obama administration performing the torture, The Omnivore suspects that many of the Republicans who are okay with it today would decry it*).
However, whether or not that is the case, the idea that torture is a "core value" of America doesn't pass the sniff test and there's just no denying that torture is a "core value" of radical Islam (same with beheading, targeting children, slavery, etc.) The Omnivore isn't sure there has ever been such a media-visible divide in existence.
Certainly, just prior to the Civil War, there was a lot of debate about slavery--but the gestalt we see today is, The Omnivore believes, leagues beyond even that. To be sure, things like the British Empire's exercise of colonial muscle contained atrocities that the 'folks at home' were probably okay with--so long as they were happening to browner, less English-speaking, and less protestant people--but The Omnivore isn't sure there was a much-better peer example around at the time.
What the colonial forces of the BE were doing was, The Omnivore thinks, kind of par for the course at the time. Today, ISIS has rolled their Standard Operating Procedure right back to the middle ages--but with video cameras and the Internet.
This juxtaposition might be new.
The fact that it is a 'successful' strategy (ISIS, with its conduct fully acknowledged and public is able to, for example, recruit westerners) is, to The Omnivore, amazing: possibly there has never been as easy a way to cross the Moral Event Horizon just by crossing a boarder (with blogs and tumblrs to help you out). Even the Nazi death-camps were done more or less done "in the dark."
We have a stark example of two different competing morality models that are not just varied--but are literally almost diametrically opposed. There is a generally agreed upon world-wide morality ratified by the United Nations and includes numerous member nations both in the east and west. There is the black-flag and banner of radical Islam that wears its monstrous morality publicly on its sleeve.
Like a black hole that morality attracts those who enter its orbit--those who are susceptible to radicalization--who are influenced by its message of victimization justifying anything--and using damaged religious ideology to enable its adherent's disease--radical Islam is vacuuming up people who are willing to accept its worldview as legitimate.
Horrible things and people have always existed--and they have sometimes (perhaps often) reached positions of power over others--but today we have the naked singularity out in the open. We can look down from satellites and see them out there: standards bearers of a level of darkness even Stalinist Russia sought to hide from the world at large, spin away, or obfuscate under layers of Utopian objectives.
Radical Islam may not represent the existential threat the Nazi regime did but it exceeds it in embrace of an abhorrent and public ideology.
The Black Hole is here. It's drawing people in--and every time it gets one, it gets a little stronger.
* At least The Omnivore hopes so. And while we're here, on the left there is a tendency to try to draw various equivalences between various evil forces and the American government (especially what is going on in Guantanamo and CIA black sites).
The things going on there are atrocities--and need to be stopped (and, ideally, punished)--but they are NOT America's mission statement and arguing that they are is an argument that only benefits the terrorists and their apologists.