Monday, November 17, 2014

Obama Condemns Islamic State’s Killing of Peter Kassig

On Sunday the Islamic terrorist group ISIS released a horrifying video showing they had beheaded a fifth Western hostage, and threatened to kill more in retaliation for US airstrikes. President Obama confirmed the death of Mr. Kassig who went missing in Syria more than a year ago at a checkpoint while delivering medical supplies. While on Air Force One President Obama released a statement saying how Mr. Kassig “was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group…” The video seemed to show the same executioner as before, a man with a British accent. One glaring difference between this video and the rest was the quality and nature of the video. No beheading actually occurred on video and the video looked amateur and not choreographed. This could be a sign of US surveillance and drone strike making a difference, by making it so ISIS militants can’t stay out too long without fear of being detected.

-            Are US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq making a difference? If so how much of a difference?


Kelsey O'Donnell said...

This continued killing of Westerners by ISIS is atrocious and needs to be stopped, but that is easy to say. Like many other times in history, governments do so love giving out condemnations, or in other words a slap on the wrist. Bombing ISIS (or ISOL) is obviously putting some sort of a damper on their operations but is also obviously not doing enough. America has often held onto the belief that bombing terrorists will make them stop attacking westerners, but I would hope that by now they would have figured out that it doesn't exactly work. What really needs to happen is America needs to find a way to cut off ISIS's resources and get as many other western countries involved as possible, as ISIS is not just battling America but instead the entire Western world. Diplomacy seems impossible, but bombing also isn't working so the question of what to do next is a clearly difficult one. What I do know however, is that more of the same is not going to fix this huge problem.

ElizabethZhou7 said...

Like Kelsey, I believe that US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq are not doing much and that America should come up with a better solution for this current predicament. However, I have to disagree with Kelsey's suggestion that the United States should encourage other western nations to be involved in dealing with ISIS. I think that having more countries participate will only provoke ISIS more into committing these horrid acts of killing. Furthermore, the addition of western nations helping out will only put more attention on ISIS, and may encourage them to continue their actions and avoid compromising with the United States. Therefore, the next step the United States should take should be to try and prevent any further killings of Westerners as best as they can. Instead of bombing ISIS, they should find ways to ensure the safety of Westerners living over there by either stopping ISIS from receiving its resources or simply trying to not aggravate ISIS any further. I acknowledge the fact that this is very difficult to do, but continuing to bomb ISIS won't do anything in solving this growing issue.

Antony Cabuslay said...

Digressing from the intended questions, I want to express my distaste for the news coverage regarding ISIS, or more specifically, their executions. It seems as if every major article concerning this extremist group focuses solely on the monstrosities committed to "Western" hostages. The media weighs the coverage as if the death of a few US/Western aid workers is much more significant than the systematic slaughter of the natives, by both ISIS and the counter-terror forces. Albeit, the story that will greater sway the public as the consequences hit closer to home; in a way, this "Western life >Iraqi" mentality, no matter how unintended, gives credence to the extremists. In their eyes, this western involvement is an atrocity as the super powers do not value the lives or values of the locals. While I am in no way justifying what ISIS does, I personally believe direct western involvement is counter productive. THe bombings only provide more martyrs and dead children, which are used to recruit more terrorists, who are in turn martyred once more. The coverage (or lack there of) also stands to fan the flames.

David Diba Six said...

As everybody has said before and many after me will obviously say, I do not believe surgical airstrikes are very effective in any manor, however I feel the actual solution has been a little bit neglected as the primary focus of the US. The top priority for the US is not dropping bombs on educated guesses of where Isis members are supposed to be nor is it the training of Kurd to fight some kind of proxy war for the US and cause more death, but rather I feel the reform of the Baghdad government is US's highest chance of success and without loss of life. With the new prime minister coming in to power we need to make sure he is as open to Sunni Muslims as he is to the Shiite. Whether it is through negotiations or benefits provided from the US, it is there that we can alleviate a lot of tension that is causing violence. Of course that can't be the only solution, but perhaps if the US stops ensuing violence through our own aggression and put more attempts into peace talks it can create a much better situation than there is currently

Eddie Huang said...

Whereas it is quite tempting to go beyond bombings and put ground troops down to fight ISIS, it bears great importance to exercise caution in engaging ground troops in battle. Furthering United States involvement in a war that is, for the most part, foreign, and the United States certainly does not need another Iraq war equivalent.

On the other hand, we cannot simply ignore ISIS, as having an extremist jihadi group in control of large swaths of territory would not bode well for United States interests, nor the stability of the Middle East. Fortunately, ISIS's power is on the decline. ( However, a side effect of this decline is that ISIS, in an act of desperation, is more inclined to commit atrocities such as the beheadings of innocent Westerners. (

Unfortunately, these atrocities tend to catch media attention, and acts as an efficient means of widespread distribution for ISIS, allowing them to reach a larger base of foreign jihadi wanna-bes, and obscuring the larger scope of the issue: their slaughter of innocent locals and their still extensive territorial control.

Yes, the United States may need to do a somewhat better job of protecting its citizens abroad. However, putting this as the main focus would be missing the bigger picture. Though bombings (and possible ground intervention) may provide a temporary solution, instability will continue into the region until a political solution is reached, one that addresses the concerns of poor Sunni communities. Otherwise, this will remain another part of the war cycle in the Middle East, continuing upon the Iraq War, another instance of tension between the Sunni and Shia.