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What should be done about American journalist James Foley and ISIS?

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    With the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS members, as a message to the United States to cease bombing Iraq or else, how do you think Obama and his administration will respond? Better still, how should they respond? ISIS is threatening to kill yet another journalist by the name of Steven Sotloff, if the bombings continue.

    I thought this was a topic worth creating its own forum for. I know that we already have a few going right now on Iraq and ISIS. But I suppose this topic is more wide ranging than a specific conflict. Its more a question of how do you respond to a violent ultimatum?

    To be clear though, I understand this situation in Iraq with ISIS can't be easily looked at in a vaccuum. It's not nearly quite as simple as some would like to say it is, where the narrative is something like: righteousness vs terrorism. ... We have killed innocent people in Iraq, time and time again. We send hellfire missiles into their country. We send drones, flying killing machines into their land with intent to destroy human souls. Our hands are nowhere near clean in this conflict. What's more, we have weaponized and partially funded this ruthless, piece-milled militia.

    But, then there's the innocent life of a reporter that was just ruthlessly beheaded for trying to do his job, and help his fellow reporters out of a bad situation. He did not deserve to die, especially in such a gruesome manner.

    What should be done? What would you do, if you were Obama?
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    Obama is doing the right thing! If he sends in more "shock & awe", he will be blamed as a war monger. He does nothing than he gets blamed for be heartless and not showing concern for the plight of thousands caught up in terror. The case in point is exactly what he said to the press and the media. The world has animals and cruel inhumane people that prey on others without regards to humanity. These people are not supported by any sane religion, other than to create anarchy, hate, murder, mayhem, rape and theft of life. ISIS is supported by criminals that enslave other people for their evil agendas. ISIS has no enduring qualities that support a religion and it is stupid to even suggest that Islam is their religion. It is their Islam brand, which has no God and anybody that suggests they rule with stout Islamic principles, do not know what it is to be Islam.

    If you read the Christian Bible with it's Old Testament and stick to only specific verses without studying the entire Bible, you will come up with the same reaction that these ISIS groups fight for against Americans and other religions. Islamic teachings is plenty on love for mankind, but you will find hate for mankind if you do not read the entire Book of Koran. People are so ignorant to study and refuse to become knowledgeable for the sake of humanity. People read what they only "want" to read, such as the famous Biblical verse, "an eye for an eye". IF you read the entire Chapter where that is written it does not read as people say it does. It's similar for the terror groups like ISIS, who make references for the brutal killing of people.

    As for the Foley, he knew what it was all about and it was not the first time he had been captured in terror. His bravery for getting the news sets him on a high pedestal of performance. I'm sorry for his brutal death and for his family, but news people know the dangers of getting the news for the people around the world.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    AmcmurryFreedom Wrote: Obama is doing the right thing! If he sends in more "shock & awe", he will be blamed as a war monger. He does nothing than he gets blamed for be heartless and not showing concern for the plight of thousands caught up in terror. The case in point is exactly what he said to the press and the media. The world has animals and cruel inhumane people that prey on others without regards to humanity. These people are not supported by any sane religion, other than to create anarchy, hate, murder, mayhem, rape and theft of life. ISIS is supported by criminals that enslave other people for their evil agendas. ISIS has no enduring qualities that support a religion and it is stupid to even suggest that Islam is their religion. It is their Islam brand, which has no God and anybody that suggests they rule with stout Islamic principles, do not know what it is to be Islam.

    If you read the Christian Bible with it's Old Testament and stick to only specific verses without studying the entire Bible, you will come up with the same reaction that these ISIS groups fight for against Americans and other religions. Islamic teachings is plenty on love for mankind, but you will find hate for mankind if you do not read the entire Book of Koran. People are so ignorant to study and refuse to become knowledgeable for the sake of humanity. People read what they only "want" to read, such as the famous Biblical verse, "an eye for an eye". IF you read the entire Chapter where that is written it does not read as people say it does. It's similar for the terror groups like ISIS, who make references for the brutal killing of people.

    As for the Foley, he knew what it was all about and it was not the first time he had been captured in terror. His bravery for getting the news sets him on a high pedestal of performance. I'm sorry for his brutal death and for his family, but news people know the dangers of getting the news for the people around the world.
    As usual you are on the wrong track; read Friedman's thread again; he's got it right. guess who created these fanatics? I wrote years ago about our world politics; before 9/11 we started already on the wrong foot related to Muslim countries, this has only more and more escalated, which in the end created ISIS; Al Quaida is holy compared to them. So again as I told you many times start at "a" then hopefully end at "z"; cause and effect.
    The more you hit them the more fanatic they get; if we (the US) think we can rule the whole world including the muslim world, forget it. Others tried and failed horribly.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    sbfriedman Wrote: What should be done? What would you do, if you were Obama?
    This is a difficult one, and I won't engage in the "would have, could have, should have" debate of how we got into the mess. If I was Obama, I believe I would be doing as he is doing...using our nation's superior air power to quell the onslaught of the advancing ISIS brigade of murderers that know no religion. They need to be stopped, and it is for the Iraqis and Kurds to lead the way with troops on the ground with support from the air by US and UK forces.

    Will it possibly result in the beheading of the other journalist? Most likely yes. But should that threat necessitate cessation of the bombing of ISIS by our planes to possibly save his life? We have no guarantee of that. Most likely at some point they'll behead him as well for political gain.

    I wish Obama all the best in these difficult times. I trust him to do what's right, whatever the political implications.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    At least we are doing more for this poor victim by continuing the sir strikes then we did for David Pearl!
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Yes, J.C. however they are not "sir" strikes; I agree that the airstrikes may help,however as Obama said it has to sink in by all the other parties in Iraq that they have to band together to get rid of these fanatics; however, I've got my doubts if they have the guts to do so; I do not hope we get drawn in any further then the airstrikes; the Iraqi's should wake up themselves, otherwise we have to call in Bush and Cheney to start an invasion again; they are experts in it.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    sbfriedman Wrote: What should be done? What would you do, if you were Obama?
    In short--nothing can be done that isn't lead by the Syrian and Iraqi people. They need to figure this out themselves, with as minimal help by the American military as possible. I'm okay with targeted airstrikes that have a detailed goal in mind, but I am not okay with us getting dragged back into a civil war and picking sides in it.

    With that said, we have to think long and hard before we bomb yet another country. Mr. Foley was not killed in Iraq, he was killed in Syria. If we are going to attack yet another Middle Eastern country that is involved in a civil war then I feel that the President needs to go back to Congress and ask them for the go ahead. I am tired of the Congress abrogating its Constitutional duties by refusing to vote to use force. If Congress wants to send our troops back into a combat zone, even if it is only by air and sea, then they should vote on it.

    It is terribly sad to see a journalist killed while covering a war, but that in and of itself is not a reason to alter our national policies. President Obama has been winding down the conflicts that our previous President got us into and we should not alter that course because some bad people are kidnapping and killing journalists. Iraq and Syria are quagmires that are impossible for for America to fix alone. The only way Iraq and Syria will get out of their current hell is by figuring it out themselves. America can't force peace on a warring people fighting a religious civil war.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    sbfriedman Wrote: What should be done? What would you do, if you were Obama?
    In short--nothing can be done that isn't lead by the Syrian and Iraqi people. They need to figure this out themselves, with as minimal help by the American military as possible. I'm okay with targeted airstrikes that have a detailed goal in mind, but I am not okay with us getting dragged back into a civil war and picking sides in it.

    With that said, we have to think long and hard before we bomb yet another country. Mr. Foley was not killed in Iraq, he was killed in Syria. If we are going to attack yet another Middle Eastern country that is involved in a civil war then I feel that the President needs to go back to Congress and ask them for the go ahead. I am tired of the Congress abrogating its Constitutional duties by refusing to vote to use force. If Congress wants to send our troops back into a combat zone, even if it is only by air and sea, then they should vote on it.

    It is terribly sad to see a journalist killed while covering a war, but that in and of itself is not a reason to alter our national policies. President Obama has been winding down the conflicts that our previous President got us into and we should not alter that course because some bad people are kidnapping and killing journalists. Iraq and Syria are quagmires that are impossible for for America to fix alone. The only way Iraq and Syria will get out of their current hell is by figuring it out themselves. America can't force peace on a warring people fighting a religious civil war.
    Jared, I completely agree; I just saw a interview of Hagel and "Dempsy" (the circus clown; who could have dressed down a bit by just a jacket with four stars on it; He must love himself looking in the miror with all that junk on his old age body; I'm way above Obama look at all my junk)
    The interview asked why did they not provide the ransom money like the Europeans did; they were asking 150 mil; I just wonder we've got plenty of multi billionairs, they would not have missed a couple of millions; peanuts for them!! However we go way out for a "deserter" in Afghanistan to save his butt.
    They "wanted" ( the General's word) to save this guy by a special mission, which failed because the guy and other hostages were not there. So what was the "backup plan"? I guess none. They got into Syria with "radar" protected helicopters, but still got into a fight with ISIS militants. Sure that gives a signal to these guys; that we do not negotiate; so the next "heads" will certainly roll. Where does it end? Right now ISIS got a huge bankaccount; so how many weapons producers close their eyes and "smell" the money? I just wonder are our old (ready for retirement) generals only interested in more junk on their chest and do not realize that you are not fighting "army's" as Napoleon or Hitler did, but a "fanatic religious based bunch of ruttless thugs" which you got to attack differently than any real "army"
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Dutch Wrote: Yes, J.C. however they are not "sir" strikes; I agree that the airstrikes may help,however as Obama said it has to sink in by all the other parties in Iraq that they have to band together to get rid of these fanatics; however, I've got my doubts if they have the guts to do so; I do not hope we get drawn in any further then the airstrikes; the Iraqi's should wake up themselves, otherwise we have to call in Bush and Cheney to start an invasion again; they are experts in it.
    Sorry Dutch, sometimes my gorilla fingers get ahead of me!!
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    With reports that ISIS (or ISIL for the Islamic State of Levant) is being highly successfully in recruiting Jihadists from around the world including the USA, one has to look deeper into what appeals to young people to join ISIL.

    New York Magazine has an article that features an interview with with John Horgan, a psychologist at UMass-Lowell who specializes in terrorism. Horgan has interviewed members of terrorist groups about how ISIL is able to appeal to potential recruits through slick media efforts.

    Why ISIS Is So Terrifyingly Effective at Seducing New Recruits

    There are many different reasons people join ISIS or other terrorist groups. But according to Horgan, "people who join these groups are trying to find a path, to answer a call to something, which would basically mean that they’re doing something meaningful with their lives. That is a common denominator across the board. There’s typically a very, very strong moral pull. You often see recruits are driven by this passionate need to right some perceived wrong, to address some sort of injustice, to restore honor to those from whom it’s been taken."

    Horgan continues:

    "The one thing that this movement has done far more effectively than any other terrorist movement is that they’re masters at packaging the fantasy deal. ISIS has a reality distortion field that only Steve Jobs would have dreamt of. In the past, in the other movements I’ve studied, like the IRA, would-be terrorists have had to work very hard, psychologically speaking, to justify to themselves, their families, and others the path that they’re on. ISIS has made that journey of navigating the self-doubt much, much easier. The only real obstacle is actually getting there, geographically, and that certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing people down at all."

    "Doubt, fears, jobs, money, even children, all the trappings of everyday life — these are all the ingredients of the predictable, mundane existence that would-be recruits are living, and which they can transcend, ISIS argues, by joining the fight."

    "They’re offering an opportunity for people to feel powerful. They’re making disillusioned, disaffected radicals feel like they’re doing something truly meaningful with their lives."
    ...This is not your grandfather’s terrorist propaganda. This is very, very polished, highly choreographed, and highly persuasive messaging."

    ISIS appeal has grown as they have demonstrated results, a snowball effect of sorts, where their capture of weapons and territory has served as a recruiting tool in itself. Indeed the person that beheaded James Foley is believed to be a home grown British citizen as evidenced by his accent. Ultimately, Horgan states the the movement may lose steam as the recruits become disillusioned with the murderous tactics being used...or perhaps disagreement with ISIS leadership. But we may have to wait much longer for that.

    From my own perspective, one has to also look at the social and economic environment environment of those that have chosen to join up. Does the word "inequality" enter into the discussion? Disillusioned young people that cannot find a job and have been cast aside or marginalized by society are exactly the people that ISIS is looking for...and they do not have to look hard.

    I would expect that many of the future world terrorists that join groups like ISIS will have their roots in Gaza, southern Lebanon, Egypt, or even the good ole USA.
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    Al Jazeera had an excellent column about this topic this morning. It was written by a former New York Times foreign correspondent named Stephen Kinzer:


    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/8/james-foley-did-notdieinvain.html
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Arizona -- Yes I had read about the ransom demands and the fact that Europeans were routinely paying the huge ransoms...one of the reasons that ISIS is flush with money. As a former expatriate, we understand the risks of a foreign assignment. And I would never want to have a foreign government or company pay a ransom on my behalf, because that only encourages more kidnapping and more ransom demands. That's why there were so many hijacking of ships in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean...companies were paying huge ransom demands. It became a big business.

    Those that think we should have paid the $125 million ransom for James Foley are only looking at the moment. As Stephen Kinzer, the author of the Al Jazeera article states:

    "...whoever made the terribly difficult decision not to pay [the ransom] deserves more than congratulations. He or she or they deserve thanks from all Americans who travel in the Middle East and North Africa, especially from all journalists who work there — including me."

    "If Foley had been freed and were home today, it would be reasonable to assume that a ransom was paid. That would make me afraid to pursue some of my reporting in the Middle East. I’d feel that whoever paid that ransom had essentially painted a target on my back.

    "Now I can at least hope that in some desert hideout, terrorist organizations are calculating that it doesn’t pay to kidnap Americans because Americans won’t pay ransom."


    I agree...
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I was not aware of this bad situation. I agree that no ransom should have been paid. That would make the act more popular anytime you want to raise funds or pad you pockets. Plus if you pay 125 - 150 million dollars....you can bet your ass that next month another would be taken and the ransom would be 225 - 250 million. Because those Americans are tripping over piles of money.
    I heard an expert on TV last night and he refused to answer questions about US plans to attack ISIS in Syria. If I were Obama I'd throw out a veiled comment towards Russia such as "This country was a big concern for yourselves but you've watched like an unable spectator while things have gone from bad to worse".
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    Throwing out a comment on Russia standing on the sidelines..............not bad. In case your haven't seen this mornings news, Russia is sending that supposedly "Aid" across border into Ukraine without permission. Why? What is Putin hiding? Is this a calculated timed event while America is more concerned with Ferguson and ISIS or while NATO is back peddling on getting involved? Something is amiss here especially when the news is reporting combat proven drivers are bringing in the supposedly "Aid". I smell a rat, snake, skunk or whatever in those trucks. It isn't any new development that the world knows the Russian separatists are loosing ground and maybe requiring a refresh of Russian special forces and weapons. So, a Presidential comment by Obama about Putin's lack of involvement in the middle east is very worthy.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Getting back to my earlier point from the New York Magazine: Why ISIS Is So Terrifyingly Effective at Seducing New Recruits

    I covered some of the highlights of the article above, but I didn't want to lose a possible discussion of the psychological aspects of the ISIS propaganda that inspires young people from "Christian" countries like the USA, Canada, the UK and others to join their Jihadist movement. With the executioner doing the beheading most likely a British citizen, how does that change the perception of the enemy?

    We know there are also American born citizens that have joined ISIS as well. Are they now targets for American drones?

    Why would any American feel it is his duty to join ISIS? Could an American ISIS member be the next executioner? As per the Now York Magazine article:

    "Al Hayat, ISIS’s media department, are nothing if not effective amateur psychologists. They’re also adept marketers. These are great “Jihadi infomercials” — they’re presenting a limited-time offer, and encouraging potential recruits to act now. The Al Hayat media messages capture the “call of duty” to would-be foreign fighters. In fact, some of these videos rival cut scenes from the actual video-game series “Call of Duty” — they are carefully composed, well-edited videos that capture both the nobility and urgency of joining the fight, juxtaposed with pulse-pounding images and slo-mo video of adventure in battle. The language walks a fine line between trite and noble, but the overall message pulls it off quite well."

    As Dutch well knows from the World War II holocaust, ordinary citizens can be turned to behave in some of the most barbaric ways in killing their own kind. Are there parallels (although on a much smaller scale) between the psychological propaganda employed by Hitler on his citizens versus that being effectively used to recruit foreign fighters for ISIS?

    I don't have an answer. I'm open to discussion. But if this insurgency continues to grow, it will require some critical thinking instead of political posturing.