Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In an absolutely horrifying repeat performance, ISIS has beheaded another American journalist—this time Steven Sotloff. Following up on last month’s sickening beheading of journalist James Foley, Islamic State released another video yesterday showing the brutal slaying of Sotloff, who’d been abducted in Syria and missing for a year.
The video opens up with the same chilling setting—the American journalist in an orange jumpsuit, kneeling before a militant clothed all in black, his face completely covered. The masked militant's voice, with its distinct British accent, suggests that it was the same murderer from the Foley beheading.
As was the case last time, the video, titled “A second message to America,” shows Sotloff reciting from a script and addressing President Obama:
You’ve spent billions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars and we have lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State, so where is the people’s interest in reigniting this war?
And yet again, the masked, murderous militant addresses Obama and the American people:
I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State . . . despite our serious warnings.
We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.
Just like last time, the video concludes with another threat of murder: this time of a British captive.
A Mother’s Desperate Appeal
Devastatingly, the video of Steven Sotloff’s brutal death was circulated mere days after his mother, Shirley Sotloff, released a heartrending video message directed at ISIS asking for the safe return of her son.
Directly addressing Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by his preferred title—”the Caliph of the Islamic State”—she asked for mercy for her son:
He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak . . . As a mother, I ask you to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over.
Using carefully worded language designed to appeal to the militants’ aims, she described how her son had traveled to the Middle East to report on “the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants.” She added that “I’ve always learned that you, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child.”
Crushingly, her desperate pleas were futile. Steven Sotloff was only 31.
Obama spoke this morning from Estonia with some sharp rejoinders to Islamic State’s threats. He vowed to “degrade and destroy” the Islamist extremist group “so that it is no longer a threat to Iraq, the region and United States.” He emphasized in his statement that "we will not be intimidated.”
Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.
Saying that he and Americans were “repulsed” by Steven Sotloff’s slaying, Obama stated that such “horrific acts only unite us as a country.”