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?