Sep 04 2014

ISIS Offers Grim Bait, US Eagerly Takes It

President Obama has vowed to respond swiftly and strongly to the Islamic State’s video taped beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff. Vice President Joe Biden did not mince words either. He said in a speech, yesterday, “When people harm Americans, we don’t retreat… They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they’re brought to justice, because hell is where they will reside.”

Biden’s harsh words are the latest US response to the actions of the Sunni rebel group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS. ISIS earlier beheaded journalist James Foley who was held alongside Sotloff. There is a third man, David Cawthorne Haines, who is British and who may be the next victim. ISIS also says it has two more Americans in captivity, one of whom is apparently a female aid worker. The black-clad man in both videos appears to have a British accent, igniting fears that some Westerners may have joined ISIS.

The online videos of the beheadings are clearly meant to elicit the harshest response from the US, which has been bombing ISIS positions in northern Iraq and may extend those operations to Syria. Republicans have jumped at the chance to roundly criticize the Obama administration of not having a clear plan in response to the group.

GUEST: Dahr Jamail, co-author of The Mass Destruction of Iraq: The Disintegration of a Nation: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible

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