On Tuesday night, Phil Robertson from the reality television program “Duck Dynasty” stopped by the Fox News show “Hannity” to share his thoughts about the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS. In a month’s time, members of ISIS have executed hundreds of people, including two American journalists who were beheaded on video to avenge American air strikes in the region.
And to say Robertson was upset by these murders would be an understatement.
“In this case, you either have to convert them, which I think would be next to impossible. I’m not giving up on them, but I’m just saying either convert them or kill them,” the bearded wonder said. “One or the other.”
As if this wasn’t unrealistic enough, Robertson went even further.
“I’d much rather have a Bible study with all of them and show them the error of their ways and point them to Jesus Christ,” he said. “However, if it’s a gunfight and a gunfight alone, if that’s what they’re looking for, me personally, I am prepared for either one.”
Although I can understand Robertson’s anger—as well as his desire to convert everyone to Christianity, which so many people believe to be the cure for society’s ills—I can’t help but ask myself one basic question: Who gives a shit what this guy thinks?
Getting diplomatic advice from Robertson is like asking Sarah Palin for her opinion on anything. Nobody cares! To make matters worse, I fear that Robertson’s opinions may be seen as reflective of all Americans: if ISIS members won’t conform, then kill them.
I’m sorry, but isn’t it possible that a misconception like this could cause even more violence in the future? The answer is obviously yes, so my advice to people like Robertson is simple: shut the freak up and perhaps fewer Americans will lose their heads!
Within hours of posting an article entitled Headless—about a New York City man who decapitated himself in broad daylight in the Bronx recently—members of the Islamic State known as ISIS beheaded yet another American journalist: Steven Sotloff.
Sotloff was kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in 2013 while reporting on the war in Syria. And sadly, he worked only as a freelance reporter for several publications; this was not his full-time job.
A three-minute video just released by ISIS shows Sotloff moments before his head is removed from his body, which is shown in graphic detail. Fortunately, the video has been removed from major websites and should be nowhere to be found online. One can only hope this is true for the sake of his family and friends.
Sadly, this horrible video comes mere weeks after a video showing American journalist James Foley’s beheading surfaced. And as you might imagine, they both fueled international outrage… and understandably so. What a terrible way to die.
I’m not sure what ISIS hopes to gain from executing innocent people—especially journalists who are simply reporting the news and pose no real threat—but I’m also certain this won’t be the last disturbing video we receive from these extremists. My hope is that they realize just how counterproductive such measures are and find a new, constructive and non-violent way to address their issues.
In other words, I don’t think Allah or any other deity would appreciate the slaughter of innocent people, even if it is performed in blind obedience to a religion some followers obviously don’t understand.
In 2002, American journalist Daniel Pearl was abducted by Pakistani militants and beheaded by Al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Omar Sheikh, who was subsequently hanged for this gruesome crime. Pearl’s murder ignited a firestorm of retaliation by American forces and eventually resulted in the killing of numerous Al-Qaeda leaders.
Well, it looks like the Islamic State—the extremist group formerly known as ISIS—has followed Al-Qaeda’s horrific example and beheaded another American journalist, James Foley. After being abducted last November in Syria and reportedly held near Damascus, Foley appeared in a recent video with an ISIS executioner, who apparently hacked off his head on camera.
Fortunately, the video entitled “A Message to America” was removed from YouTube shortly after being posted there, but a transcript of its message went something like this:
“This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and have gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq; your strikes have caused casualties among Muslims.”
I share this only because I’m struggling to understand why beheading innocent people seems like the right approach for ISIS or any Islamic militants, for that matter. All it really does is piss off America and lead to more death and destruction, which these days come in the form of unexpected drone attacks. If death is their ultimate goal, then this certainly is an effective way of achieving it. They may label it as jihad, but it seems much more like suicide if you ask me.
Another thing that boggles the mind—at least my mind—is this: Why in the world would any journalist volunteer to cover the Middle East? Are they as suicidal as the jihadists who eventually kidnap and murder them? Or is covering the Middle East considered “paying your dues” as a journalist—kind of like those rookie meteorologists forced to cover every hurricane while high winds and rain bombard them?
Whatever the case may be, the obvious answer to the question of peace in the Middle East is this: it will likely never come. As long as violence and murder supersede love and compassion, there may never be a lasting peace. America needs to realize this and do something it should have done long ago: get the hell out of there. Otherwise, I fear more innocent people—including the 20 journalists still missing in Syria—will pay the ultimate price.
And personally, I don’t care about Middle East news coverage if it costs more American lives. Do you?