*Video link below
I can’t believe I’m about to say this but the news today is that ISIS has just released a new video that shows a second journalist, Steven Sotloff, being beheaded. James Foley, a fellow journalist, was beheaded on August 19, 2014, and it shocked the nation. The group, ISIS or ISIL, did warn us, though, that a “second message” was coming, and this appears to be it.
First, let me say that Steven Sotloff was just 33 years old, younger than I am now, and was a journalist for many years already. He worked for Time and several others magazines, and has appeared on CNN and Fox News more than once. Sotloff was kidnapped when he crossed the border into Syria from Turkey on August 4, 2013, or thereabouts. His family decided to keep the incident under wraps, feeling that would provide the best chance for Sotloff’s safe return. When the video of James Foley was released, though, Sotloff appeared in it and a member of ISIS threatened his life unless airstrikes were called off. As we all know, the airstrikes continued, and Sotloff has now apparently paid the price.
“We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” We have heard this line from our government many times before, but in reality, it’s inaccurate. What it really should read is, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists, unless we do.” When we traded five Taliban commanders for Beau Bergdahl, in my book, that was a negotiation, and it was one where we got bent over the conference table, actually. So, when ISIS asked for a ransom for James Foley, the truth is, we should have paid it.
Now, I’m no stranger to the argument that if you start paying off terrorists, then we will suddenly be inundated by ransom demands and kidnapping will increase tenfold. I am not so naïve to think that we live in a bubble where paying off ISIS would have no repercussions at all. Fortunately, though, we have one of the best intelligence services in the world, supported by some of the most advanced technology in the world. We could have paid off ISIS and/or rescued Foley and Sotloff without the world even knowing we did anything at all.
It’s not as if we haven’t made moves behind the scenes before. In fact, we helped to create the Taliban when we left our weapons in the hands of the Mujahidin in Afghanistan, and pulled out without helping to rebuild. During the Soviet-Afghanistan war (sometimes called Russia’s Vietnam), the CIA funneled stinger missiles to the rebel fighters in order to help down Soviet Hind Helicopters. A small faction of fighters eventually became the group we are so dead set on eradicating today. The general public didn’t find out about any of these activities until well after the war had ended, and this was a huge, multi-billion-dollar effort that involved several different countries. Yet, today, we still don’t know all the classified details.
Keeping that in mind, is the Obama administration claiming that nothing could be done to find and extract these hostages? Even if we didn’t send in Special Forces, why couldn’t we track the money being used to pay off the kidnappers? We have satellites that can resolve an object just 20 inches across, and that’s the satellites we know about. Are you telling me that the military spy birds that we don’t know about, aren’t able to track 20 million dollars in cash? Even if the journalists weren’t being kept where the money ended up, I’m sure we could get the information we need from whoever was there without anyone finding out. What it comes down to is a matter of cost to benefit, and journalists are just not that valuable to the Obama administration.
Let’s be honest, folks. Even the most stringent Obama supports among you have to admit that our President has a love/hate relationship with the media. As long as the reporting praises him, our commander-in-chief is happy as a clam, but the minute a network decides to criticize him, our Obama tries to shun them, investigates their reporters, and even calls them out by name. The simple fact is that this administration doesn’t think very highly of the press. There was even a petition posted on Whitehouse.gov asking Obama to do anything to save Steven Sotloff before he was killed. Obviously no one paid attention to that particular online document. I guess the phrase “any means necessary” was too broad for President Obama to understand. We will have to be more specific in the future, and use sentences like “save his life using our superior intelligence services and our almost infinite monetary resources.”
It is a shame we are here, once again, and another journalist has lost his life. Yes, ISIS members are acting like barbarians by committing these horrible acts of violence, but no one, at all, should be surprised. They so much as told us they were going to do this, and past conduct is a pretty good indication of future behavior. This was a test, and we failed miserably. Reporters that embed themselves with military forces and flock to conflicted and war-torn areas are some of the bravest folk out there, and they seldom get the recognition they deserve. They should be revered as their own brand of warrior, for they defend something that we hold in higher esteem than any other ideal – the right to free speech and freedom of the press. Some of them are even willing to give up their lives to do so, and we should attempt to protect them with the same level of conviction – whether we like what they are saying or not.
Education before outcry.
LINK TO THE FULL VIDEO: http://goo.gl/yLcIRD GRAPHIC! NSFW!