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Middletown Transcript
  • Jim Brock: This is not just our fight

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  • As of this week, two American journalists have been beheaded on video by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
    This barbaric act against two defenseless men who were not trained soldiers just shows us the type of people we are dealing with — cowards.
    According to a Sept. 2 report from The New York Times, the family of American journalist Steven J. Sotloff, 31, issued a statement saying it believed the Florida native had in fact been killed — that the video was authentic.
    This week the state department confirmed its authenticity.
    News about Sotloff’s death comes two weeks after the video of 40-year-old journalist James Foley’s beheading was released. The video warned that Sotloff would be next.
    The NYT report goes on to say that Sotloff was killed “despite pleas from his mother aimed directly at ISIS’s top leader seeking mercy for her son, a freelance journalist who was captured in northern Syria a year ago.”
    Apparently, ISIS is threatening at least one other prisoner and blames President Barack Obama and the U.S. military for the deaths of these men.
    In the video, Sotloff said before his murder that he was “paying the price” for continued strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq, the NYT report said.
    “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State,” said the masked killer believed to be the same British man who killed Foley.
    It would be unfair to blame the President for these murders — as our non-negotiation policy with terrorists is firm — but there is a moral imperative to intervene militarily. With every passing moment, ISIS is emboldened to continue its evil practices.
    There is already proof that they have recruited young Americans for their cause, and they are burning up the social networking sites with their demagoguery, looking to poison the minds of the downtrodden.
    So what are we doing?
    “Our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it’s no longer a threat — not just to Iraq but also to the region and to the United States,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference in Estonia on Wednesday.
    I hope our leaders will stop running for office long enough to work with the president on this.
    Regardless of your personal feelings about Barack Obama, we have an international crisis that won’t be solved by playing politics and appearing on talking head shows to throw stones.
    First thing’s first, maybe the world should see us stand together on something if we want to be taken seriously. People are up in arms about keeping “under God” in the pledge — which is not going anywhere — but we need to work on the “indivisible” part.
    Page 2 of 2 - The tone of the discourse among American politicians is not much different than what we hear on an episode of “The Jerry Springer Show.”
    We are a laughing stock.
    Secondly, what is our end game? If we dismantle ISIS from the inside out, how long will it take before succeeding leaders emerge and recruit an even stronger, more hostile group of followers?
    We are fighting an ideal, not an army.
    So how do we destroy an ideal?
    We keep treating the symptoms, but this seemingly incurable cancer only gets stronger and continues to spread farther into the world.
    It’s time we realize that the world isn’t our sole responsibility to protect. We need more cooperation from other nations — including our Middle Eastern and European allies — because they are just as vulnerable to terrorism. After all, not all of the so-called “foreign jihadists” are Americans; they are being recruited from all over the world.
    Let’s be honest with ourselves. The world is a much smaller place with the Internet. Photos posted online in Cairo can be seen in Salt Lake City, London or Sydney within seconds.
    NATO and the United Nations are as anachronistic as hall monitors in high schools.
    We need an international coalition that will act rather than debate; that will inform rather than obfuscate; that will work together to ensure the collective prosperity of all men, women and children.
    Fighting terrorism is a worldwide effort — not just an American effort.
    If we are going to a make change, it needs to be soon. The beheading of young men in the name of jihad is crossing the line. And at this rate, it will only get worse.
    Ponder that!
    ——
    Jim Brock is managing editor of the Nebraska City News-Press.

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