ISIS taunts President Obama - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

ISIS taunts President Obama

“I’m back, Obama.” Terrorist taunts president Obama before beheading second American journalist.

A video has purportedly been released by ISIS showing the ghastly beheading of thirty-one year old Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist to be beheaded by ISIS. The video is now in the process of being authenticated, but I think we all know what the verdict will be: they have done it again. Speaking under obvious duress moments before his beheading, Sotloff says on video, “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing. Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?”

Then his executioner speaks. “I’m back, Obama,” the executioner says. Our president now has terrorists taunting him personally right before carrying out a vicious and atrocious act upon a decent and innocent man, a man who, to the terrorists, represents both America itself, and all they can and want to do to us. Can change happen quickly enough in both Obama’s heart and his mind to keep all of us — we the people — safe? He has never understood that a position of might is not the same as abuse of power, and that the world is far better off when America’s generosity is matched only by her awe-inspiring military capabilities and her (at least up to now) unwillingness to relinquish the role of world’s leader, in both peace and in turmoil, to lead and to serve.

A second videotaped beheading of an American citizen. Can this be? Even a plea by Sotloff’s mother directly to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, was obviously sneered at. She has gotten her answer from al Baghdadi, in the most heartbreaking and most permanent way possible. She will never see her son again; never hold him in a mother’s embrace. Shirley Sotloff, like James Foley’s mother, will not even be able to carry out a parent’s sacred and solemn duty to bury her son at home.

We need a strategy for ISIS now, not yesterday, and not a year ago — which is when, it has today been leaked by a former Pentagon official, Obama started getting warnings about the growth of ISIS in his daily briefing. A year ago – more than enough time to build a strategy. Has he been hiding the comic strip page from the Washington Post in his Daily Briefings binder, reading it instead of the ominous warnings about the emergence of a new terrorist regional superpower in the Middle East?

How can he not have realized what these perhaps at first distant rumblings meant as the days and months ticked by; days filled with visionary, campaign-style speeches and persistent fund-raising, nights filled with Beyoncé and other glittering celebrities? He has no leadership experience at all, that’s how. He has a bone to pick with his own country, that’s how. He is so busy bringing us down a peg or two – shame on us for being proud of our past “lines in the sand” militarily, and for having those big ol’ giant corporations that have the nerve to employ people and encourage them to strive to be the best, and for being a nation based on certain annoying rights – that he has not paid nearly enough heed to the dire warnings about a well-funded and well-disciplined group that can change the face of the world if not stopped immediately. (You don’t get off easy, either, Hillary. As Secretary of State if you did not know about this, then you too were busy chuckling over Dilbert on your taxpayer-funded luxury airplane, getting ready for your next Presidential campaign interview (ahem, I mean Secretary of State interview, of course) for some elite glossy magazine.

VICE via YouTube

VICE via YouTube

There are a few steps that might help as we move as a country into this uncharted territory: we need worldwide consensus on the payout of ransoms as it pertains to using governmental coffers to free kidnap victims. European governments routinely pay large sums to retrieve their citizens from captivity, raising the stakes for Americans held captive – a family or a corporation cannot ever hope to pay what a government can, and this puts Americans at a life-threatening disadvantage in the kidnap game.

“What’s so unusual about that case is it illustrates a larger problem is that he was held with European captives,” David Rohde told, speaking about the James Foley kidnapping and subsequent murder. Rohde was held captive by the Taliban back in 2008 for seven months, until he was able to escape his captors and make his way to freedom. “There were French journalists held by the Islamic State, Spanish journalists, a Danish journalist; all of those European governments paid ransoms. Those European journalists went home, the U.S. refused to pay and Jim Foley died.” This seems to be very straight-forward logic; all governments must agree not to pay ransoms, thereby hopefully making kidnap-as-income less frequent.

If we for one moment think, however, that this means that beheadings will stop, it is wrong and also naive – we are dealing with an emerging terrorist superpower that is accepting many disenfranchised, disillusioned youths from other countries, thuggish and disturbed, desperate for a cause and filled with unbridled and unfocused hate. Also, I don’t know that any American can survive ISIS; they hate us that much. (Ironic, isn’t it? After the Arab Spring and all?) One drawback that will be both an informational and societal shift – we will probably lose the world’s journalists that cover the Middle East from the Middle East, if we haven’t already. Our news about the events there will not have the immediacy or the accuracy we enjoy now with journalists in-country. But what news organization or individual reporter now wants to take that risk?

The second thing we must do is to go after ISIS militarily, and at full force. American strength must once again be irrefutable and Middle Eastern terrorists need to fear our response should they harm Americans. “Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty,” Sen. Bill Nelson, (Democrat – FL)  said today, after this alleged second beheading. As much as no one wants to see young men and women get snarled up in another war, this is different. This would be limited and targeted, with our reasons for deployment clear. I believe if you asked any service man or woman if they feel that our involvement in eradicating ISIS is a worthy cause, they would answer in a hearty affirmative. We must gather a world coalition to wipe this evil, a perversion of one of the world’s leading faiths, off the planet.

Please, President Obama, step up and become fully engaged in this battle. Be the man — and the President — there is still time to be.

About the author

Deirdre Reilly

Deirdre Reilly has written one humor book, and authored a syndicated family life column for Gatehouse Media for 13 years. She has won a Massachusetts Press Award for humor, her op-eds have been published in the Boston Herald and The Hartford Courant, and she has had short fiction published in literary journals. Deirdre was raised in Columbia, Md., and now lives outside Boston, Ma. She enjoys outdoor pursuits, and is obsessed with the care and happiness of a retired carriage horse named Nello that she bought for a few hundred dollars on a menopausal whim. Contact the author.