Aug 21, 2014

Remember Daniel Pearl: Beheading of One of Our Journalist Brings Back the Memory of September 11th

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This week the nation learned that one of our journalists had been beheaded by a brutal group known as ISIS (also ISIL), a name referencing the goal of this group to establish an Islamic state over in the Middle East that includes Iraq and Syria.  They have made successes in Iraq and Syria; although our recent air strikes and military aid to the Kurdish forces have rolled back some of the group’s advances in Iraq.    This beheading of an American journalist and the capturing of the murder on video for the world to see is not the first occurrence of an extreme and violent group using this sort of tactic on an innocent civilian to influence U.S. policy and to put terror in the hearts and minds of Americans. 
This time, the victim is James Foley. This group has another American journalist in captivity, Stephen Sotloff, age 31 that was also captured while working as a journalist oversees.  Right now, it appears as though rescuing Sotloff from the same fate is quite tricky as any known attempt to rescue him will likely lead to his immediate execution.  This situation, however, is still unfolding, so the United States’ options remain to be seen. 
  
ISIS is not al-Qaeda and ISIS has not committed a terrorist attack against the United States.  So why does this incident bring back memories of the attacks on September 11, 2001?  Some may have forgotten, while others, such as my students, were too young to remember details in the events leading up to and after 9/11.  One such event was the killing of a captured American journalist.  This brutal and grotesque murder was committed by a- Qaeda about 6 months after 9/11.  Like the James Foley killing, the American journalist was beheaded, and the beheading was captured on video and shared with the world.  In the first few months of 2002, Daniel Pearl, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, was captured in Pakistan while investigating a possible connection between a fumbled attempt to bomb an airplane here in the U.S. and al-Qaeda.  Pearl was forced to make statements and then beheaded by a prominent operative of al-Qaeda who has since been capture, tried and hung.  The circumstances of Daniel Pearl’s death and the fight of his wife, Marianne Pearl, to get to the bottom of his capture and murder became the subject of a book, A Mighty Heart, and movie starring Angelina Jolie. 


Daniel Pearl’s beheading shocked Americans still reeling from the horrifying September 11th attacks.  I remember feeling unsafe in my own country for the first time as a result of the attacks in New York and D.C.  Yes, there is the threat of death that hangs over us every day, whether it comes in the form of a car accident, a stray bullet, or an aneurism.  But we mentally adjust with that possibility looming so that we can function on a day to day basis.  The September 11th attacks introduced a new fear into the equation; one that most Americans had never considered.  I pondered for days, weeks and occasionally still do the reality of those poor souls on board an airplane headed straight for a building.  I pondered the choice of those that were left in the burning towers with nowhere to go and no choice but to suffocate, burn, or jump.  I wondered what I would do in that same situation and it horrified and saddened me to know that someone who just showed up to work had to make this very decision and experience so much fear and pain in doing so.   When D.C. was attacked in the third intentional downing of a commercial jet that day I shuddered and became overwhelm with sadness and fear.  For the first time I felt that my country, which I thought to be an indestructible superpower, may not be the safe refuge I believed it to be.  Additionally I feared that my government was under attack in a way that I had only read about in history books concerning other countries.   At the time of the attacks, I was a history and political science major at Georgia Southern.  That morning I planned to get some reading done for my “U.S. as a Global Power” class that would begin shortly after lunchtime.  Instead I was glued to the television after I heard about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center.  I then saw as it happened the news coverage of the second plane, the falling of the towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the downing of a fourth plane in a field.  The fact that all classes were cancelled at GPC, only served to heighten my sense of uncertainty, fear, and insecurity.  None of us, after witnessing these events on the television, had no idea what to expect next.  The hours and days following the September 11th attacks were filled with suspense and fear that something else was going to happen, since what had happened already was so inconceivable for most of us. 

I was, and still am, so in love with history and politics that as an undergrad in the few years before 9/11 I had every intention of moving to Washington D.C. one day to work for government and to be near the action.  9/11 changed that.  I still had the desire to work in D.C., but 9/11 caused me to begin considering that goal as dangerous in a way I had never imagined.   Prior to the attacks, I had begun to focus my studies on international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.  I had dreams of working at the State Department.  One direct impact of the attacks was to compel me to narrow my international studies focus to the Arab world.  I was extremely curious about the context, politics, history, events, struggle, culture, and grievances in the Middle East that could lead to an attack on Americans as devastating as 9/11.  I had even envisioned working in the Middle East, perhaps not through the State Department since I now feared that, but with a nonprofit organization such as a “think tank” or as an analyst for the CIA.  I included in that vision a plan to learn Arabic at a later date since it was not offered at Georgia Southern at the time.  My career visions changed yet again with the death of Daniel Pearl in February of 2002.And, as a direct result of the Daniel Pearl beheading I changed my perspective on working in the Middle East as another future endeavor.  I then found myself contemplating the possibility of a horrific death by beheading by a group looking for any American citizen.    I continued to contemplate those broad goals in the context of new personal obligations, but there is no doubt that my career plans were altered quite a bit by 9/11 and Daniel Pearl’s gruesome death.  I  did continue to specialize in Islamic civilization and Middle Eastern politics because of my interest in the religion, history, politics, and unrepresentative governments there; but I shelved an idea of ever visiting or living in the Middle East, whether for professional reasons or as a tourist.  Because of that, I have a great appreciation for my colleagues and classmates in international affairs that do visit the region, and I have a great respect for reporters like James Foley, Stephen Sotloff, and Daniel Pearl who risk their lives to bring us and our government information.  Some will say I am too worried and should not alter my life in fear; some will say they would do the same.  But in an era where we so casually demonize the Media, I hope we remember that the Media consists also of these brave journalists who do objective work with sometimes overwhelming risk.  I also hope that our government’s options with regards to the Middle East, and specifically ISIS, are weighed with a consideration of the risks and unknowns of each and every option. 


There are a few key differences between the ISIS developments and the events of 2001 and 2002.  First, we are no longer consumed by fear to the same extent we were in the immediate months and years after 9/11.  This undoubtedly will result in approaches to possible threats that are different from our earlier approaches.  Second, as a result of witnessing our own reactions and their consequences, we have learned a great deal and in a climate of reduced fear we can analyze our actions a bit more objectively.   We now understand the repercussions, for good or for bad, of decisions made in response to an attack by a foreign entity, the repercussions of decisions made prior to the attacks that were a factor.  We now understand the complexities of operations in that part of the world, and we know understand that there are other parties that may play a greater role in events, similarly to that of Pakistan during this time, that we do not fully understand, do not fully appreciate, and may not be fully aware of.  These unknowns will inevitably impact our ability for success, especially if we are not measured in our response.  It is worth noting, that ISIS, the murders of James Foley, formed from an al-Qaeda cell that had formed in Iraq after, and perhaps as a result of U.S. invasion of that country in 2003.  As a country, as a government, and as a society that has ultimate sway over the direction the country and government take, we have lost our ignorance, we have been burned, we have grieved and will grieve.  But we are now in a position to make smart and measured decisions that take into consideration our fears, our goals and values, as well as two important and unchangeable facts.  First, for every action there is a reaction; second, the fact that there are so many unknowns and ultimately a great deal that is out of our control, leaving us only the ability most of the time to  have an impact at the margins.  
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21 comments:

  1. I can not imagine how a person could be so extreme that belief in anything would lead them to act in such a way. The beheadings in all of the aforementioned cases were horrible. I remember just having given birth to my first son and recovering at home when awakened by a phone call from my mother-in-law saying to turn on the news (9/11/2001). I wondered where my cousins were; my grandmother; my brother. Communications were impossible. Learning that my brother left his office building to watch what he thought were clothes being tossed out of the window. Later to find out that people jumped to their death. The horror! Then hearing about the torturing of Americans by beheading; another terror tactic. The world had indeed changed in an emergent way; 911. I question how fearful I am thereafter. Like you I would certainly question my life direction. What makes these journalists so brave knowing the possibilities that lie before them if captured? Obviously passion. I just read an article of how common people were burned with their Bibles for having them. Christians have been just as extreme. Christians have created massive wars that history shows were religious based. Where did Jesus say kill those who interpret my words differently?
    I have learned that those within the same religion, but not of ISIS, disagree with such tactics as beheadings. So where does this come from? I have study many religions in high school. I know that there is so much peace, love, and respect in different ones that I don't know why we have to enlist Pearl as another person who was lost to an extremist group. My thoughts are with all the family's who have suffered such a loss. Whether American or not. America may not televise such brutal scenes and yet we know they exist. I hate no one, only their action and the mental condition that brings them to such decisions. Never shall I want hate to "corrode my values." May God keep in His memory the things that we do not see or know. May His love, wisdom, justice, and power prevail in His own due time. JAG

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  2. I remember my principal in high school telling all the teachers to turn on the class television to the news because a plane has crashed into the world trade center. I didn't even know at the time that W.T.C. was in New York, or that it was a major financial hub in the United States. As he was speaking I watched the second plane hit, I remember how graceful and slow it was as it glided toward its intended target. In retrospect, I comprehend how the plane and buildings were massive, and the loss of life and how it affected the people and their relatives who were caught in the catastrophe were also. A lot has changed since then, a lot of legislation has been passed, the the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, that has effected the liberty in this country. When I went to the State Department website to look at the travel warnings for American who want to go abroad, there are A LOT of warnings. Some places in the world we are not even allowed to go according to U.S. policy.
    So as an American I can see your apprehension for wanting to expand your horizons career-wise and academically, its a shame that these events have affected everyone so detrimentally.

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  3. I cringe at the slim line between giving in and never giving up. When we change the path we desired to walk based on fear is the terrorist winning with one life at a time? When we continue our path despite indications of threat do act ignorantly? We live in such a egocentric world where the notion of being your way and my way rarely exists. Even in trivial matters it's my way or my double barrel. We live in American terror in some instances yet we leave our houses. For all the souls lost in the fight against slavery there was an unseen, inexperienced victory. They should not be forgotten. Nor should American, British, or any civilian, from Palestine, Iraq, Iran.. globaly be forgotten in an attempt to live life in peace and freedom. The world was not created for what we see now. I wait patiently until true change can come. JAG

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  4. As the article mentions, current events make us remember similar past events. Daniel Pearl's tragic death was one of the first of its kind. Because it was broadly televised, all who chose to watch knew that the infliction of terror of the objective of the attackers. Now that these tactics are resurfacing, it is vital to consider how to respond. As stated in the article, countries do not fully know how outside collaborations can influence how effective a response can be. JAG

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  5. Because I am only 18 years old, the event of 9/11 is very faint to me, therefore I had no clue about the American journalist Daniel Pearl. It is sad to know there are people who will go beyond any means to prove a point. To kill unarmed, no affiliate persons, is just unruly, but what should people expect fighting against a group who has no sentimental value of life. I was very young when 9/11 occurred and truly felt nothing towards it, which is understandable because I was only six years old. Of course as I got older each year there would be a nation wide remembrance of 9/11, from there I learned in detail about the devastation. Till this day I do not look at the middle east differently and fear because of the attack of 9/11. I look at the middle east as a religious homeland. With so many different religious beliefs coming from one region of course there is going to be friction, on what religion will end on top. When religion comes into play people act out of character and mentally change. Some people get so intertwined into their religion that the thought of reality or humanity disappears. Beheading random people to show supremacy or to use as a scare tactic is wrong! But again if you were lost into some demonic, terrorising, religious group that did not fear life, killing someone would be no biggie. ISIS is one of many religious based groups who are using similar tactics to gain power, money, and fear. Think about it, there are so many barbaric groups around the world, Africa, parts of Asia, and even closer to the United States, South America. As you stated in your blog, “we now understand the complexities of operations in that part of the world.” If ISIS was a true a threat, I feel as though the American people would not be given as much information of them, as we do now. ISIS using the same tactic of beheading and recording for public view across the world, to me was only a publicity stunt. They want attention and sure they will obtain it, when committing gruesome crimes. The U.S has the decision to try to end one small group out of the thousands that exist or still developing, whatever our government chooses, there will always be many more groups to stop, so which one is worth the fight?

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  6. I was in first grade when the 9/11 attacks occurred. I don't remember a lot from that age but I remember this moment very very vividly. My principal Mrs. Yeager came into the classroom and told my teacher to turn on the television. As soon as she turned it on, the second plane hit the building. Of course as 1st graders, we thought it was a movie or something, but as soon as my teacher started to cry, I realized that what was happening was real. My mom teaches at the same elementary school i attended so she ran into the classroom and scooped me up like a tornado.
    As a kid, my grandpa always said "Ya get what ya give!" so naturally, I thought, why don't we do that to them? Now, as a young adult, I realize that always isn't the correct way to approach conflicts. When the recent ISIS incident occurred, Everyone's reaction was to get back. Senator John McCain was quoted saying "bomb them to hell, where they came from.". This reaction would only cause more conflict.
    A thing I strongly agree with from this blog is the fact that threat surrounds us daily. In the blog, you said threat could be a car wreck, struck by a bullet, or disease. The media controls what we as a nation worry about daily. For example, the Ebola virus. They made it sound like if you blink, you and everyone you love dies in three days. When that's not the case at all. That's why ISIS decided to put the video on the internet because they know how reliable it is to us. It worked for me. A small terroristic group with some trucks and guns can over take America or something. I understand they pose a threat and commited a terroristsic act, but they aren't as big of a threat the media made them out to be. Something needs to be done about them of course, but a bombing as McCain stated is unnecessary

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  7. I remember sitting in my Kindergarten class teachers were crying and being very overwhelmed. I was young and confused. I didn't knew what was going on. I remember getting up from my table and asking the teacher "Ms.Tickles(my kindergarten teacher name) what's wrong, why are you crying." She replied "oh darling you wouldn't understand." I was a bit confused why everyone was crying with deep sadness. My teacher then brought in a tv inside the classroom and turned it to the news channel. I really didn't understand what was going on. I thought she put the tv inside the classroom to watch a movie. As years passed by, I learned what was horrific about 9/11.It's been thirteen years since 9/11 happened, and the tormenting pictures are still vivid in my head how people were jumping off the building and the twin towers shuttering down like raindrops. Thousands of people injured. 9/11 situation made me realise throughout the years you cannot be safe in your own "home." SEcurity systems increased. It made it very difficult for many Americans to travel through airplanes. Many people think about the middle east in a different matter. People view them differently since the 9/11 attack. I bless each and one of every person died in the 9/11 attack. Each day is getting worse with all these ISIS conflicts, crimes, etc. Great point in pointing out that "threat surrounds us daily." Each day is blessing, and I could not imagine the pain and suffering people went through in 9/11. This earth should be in peace. People shouldn't be so ignorant, because whatever happens with government conflicts it affects us as well. We should strive for a better earth, and not destroy it. I hope one day there will be peace and love with everyone around and across from us. Violence should decrease, and not fight back with violence. American people please wake up and realise life is not granted. Money and power is not everything in life.
    (third blog post)

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  8. I remember sitting in my Kindergarten class teachers were crying and being very overwhelmed. I was young and confused. I didn't knew what was going on. I remember getting up from my table and asking the teacher "Ms. Tickles (my kindergarten teacher name) what's wrong, why are you crying." She replied "oh darling you wouldn't understand." I was a bit confused why everyone was crying with deep sadness. My teacher then brought in a TV inside the classroom and turned it to the news channel. I really didn't understand what was going on. I thought she put the TV inside the classroom to watch a movie. As years passed by, I learned what was horrific about 9/11.It's been thirteen years since 9/11 happened, and the tormenting pictures are still vivid in my head how people were jumping off the building and the twin towers shuttering down like raindrops. Thousands of people injured. 9/11 situation made me realize throughout the years you cannot be safe in your own "home." Security systems increased. It made it very difficult for many Americans to travel through airplanes. Many people think about the Middle East in a different matter. People view them differently since the 9/11 attack. I bless each and one of every person died in the 9/11 attack. Each day is getting worse with all these ISIS conflicts, crimes, etc. Great point in pointing out that "threat surrounds us daily." Each day is blessing, and I could not imagine the pain and suffering people went through in 9/11. This earth should be in peace. People shouldn't be so ignorant, because whatever happens with government conflicts it affects us as well. We should strive for a better earth, and not destroy it. I hope one day there will be peace and love with everyone around and across from us. Violence should decrease, and not fight back with violence. American people please wake up and realize life is not granted. Money and power is not everything in life.
    (Third blog post)

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  9. To kill someone just because you believe that he or she be killed if they do not share your beliefs or ideas is sickening. I was only 6 years old when 911 happened. I remember, I remember my mom crying and watching the television saying why do other countries hate the United States that bad that they would kill innocent people and themselves for reasons and beliefs that they felt it was their loyal duty to uphold for their country. I don't know why people feel that they have honored their country for killing people, but what I do know that they will be judged. We seem to always be in wars or conflict over money or some other materials, when will we ever stop fighting unnecessary wars that cause other countries to take it out on innocent people, such as Daniel Pearl and the victims of 911.

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  10. I feel as if we need to wake up and realize that these people are a potential threat to the world. Isis, Al-queda these terrorists are only growing in numbers. 9/11 is a reminder that these terrorists are nobody to joke with and they need to stopped before it gets unstoppable. RIP to Daniel pearl, what Isis did is just barbaric and horrific. 9/11 still hurts me till this day because I lost my cousin around that time so seeing stuff like this just sickens me.

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  11. I was seven years old in the first grade when 9/11 happened. I can barely remember that exact day. It wasn’t until and I got older and realized the impact the terrorist attack had on Americans. It’s unfair that more 3,000 lives were taken away from them so soon based on the solely decision of someone else. Even though the 9/11 attack happened almost 15 years ago, Americans are still consume by fear because another attack can happened any day at any time now. The deaths of James Foley and Daniel Pearl are very unfortunate and reasons why memories are resurfacing for Americans because the cases are very similar and more than one journalist or aid worker have been killed before the American eye. Although you posted this a couple months, there has been threats made towards the U.S. by the Islamic terrorist organization (ISIS). According to CNN and other media outlets, ISIS threatened to kill any military official and their families through social media. ISIS claim that if they can locate any military member through social media source, Twitter, Facebook, etc. they will enter their homes and slaughter their families. That is the recent threat that I have heard. Even though ISIS has nothing to do 9/11, Americans will always associate the Middle East as a huge ground pool of terrorism

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  12. I remember 9/11 as if it just happened. I was awoken by house members screaming and crying saying" they killing us, we under attack, we in war,and they just hit the twin towers with an airplane. Still sleep not fully accessing what they were saying I turned on the TV. At that moment the second plane was hitting the other twin tower. Overwhelmed with emotions all I could do was cry. Confused, Angry, Upset, and Sadden trying to figure out who would do such an hideous, vicious, extremist horrible crime that just unfolded and why. Then to find out it was an act of terrorism put the icing on the cake. I just cant understand why take innocent lives for no reason at all. If you are mad with the president at that time then the issue at hand should have been handle and directed toward him not the American citizens who have no clue what the issue might have been. Next, to beheaded those journalist because of a belief you have is absolutely insane. My heart goes out to the family of those life taken in those terrorist country. I know people want the full story but I(my opinion) knowingly wouldn't step a foot no where near a country that we are at war with because United States is not there at that present time to keep you safe. we know that majority of the countries Pakistan, Iraq.Iran.and Afghanastan just to name a few are extremist who don't care about dying because of the brainwashing the militants are doing to them. We been at war every since 2001 and really haven't seen any major change except they killed bin laden. the more we deploy and destroy their country the more they retaliate by kidnapping and beheading individuals, form new radicals extremist groups, and rebel. why cant we just tend to our own problems, and let them tend to their own problems,and focus more on making peace instead of funding war

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  13. Ajah Ochoa GPC

    Being in elementary school at the time of the attack on 9/11, I was affected be the event but I also feel a bit of a disconnect from it. Not being able to fully understand the situation at the time, I do not get as emotional about the event. Granted, I do feel terrible about what those people had to experience, but whereas the anniversary brings some people to tears, it doesn’t have that effect on me. It did however make me fearful. I knew at the time that something happened in New York, where my grandmother lives, but my parents soon assured me that she was ok. I remember my mother mentioning something about a beheading on the news. Being so young, she didn’t want me to see it of course, but just hearing about it was saddening and frightening.
    My travels began at a very young age, so I never really had a fear of plane crashes or visiting other parts of the world. As I got older and became more aware of what was happening around me, I did become more fearful because I realized that these things happen and they could happen to me, or my family, or friends, and other innocent people. I marvel at the bravery of the people who risk their lives and experience these tragedies. Terrorism is a big fear factor for Americans because we see ourselves as a world superpower, we don’t experience invasions and takeovers of government, we help other countries that do. Acts of terrorism evoke the fear of those things in Americans. Years after the 9/11 attack we still see the many effects it had on America, for example, airport security, people who are still afraid to fly; with ISIS being all over the news, fear is still alive in Americans.

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  14. Even though I was only in kindergarten when 9/11 happened, I still know the fear placed in everyone’s hearts. I was actually living in New York during this time and when this information hit the news many parents, including mine, picked up their child from school and took them home. The reason so many Americans are worried about terrorism because we didn’t have many policies regarding what to do for terroristic threats. After a situation like 9/11, the U.S. was on top of things to ensure the safety of American citizens. I think a terroristic group like ISIS doesn’t really bring much fear in America unless they make a direct attack in the country.
    This article contributed to my argument that the world is a very dangerous place. It is unfortunate that these journalists were murdered because they were Americans. I understand your reason Professor Robertson for not pursuing your career in the Middle East. I would actually do the same if I were in that predicament. I was taught throughout my life that the Middle East is somewhere you should stay clear from. I finally understand this because there is an ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and it seems as if the people there won’t be able to settle their issues.

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  15. I was only four years old when the events of September 11, 2001 took place. I have read about the events and studied them in class like other historical events that I did not experience firsthand. Unlike those other events, this always seemed bigger and more personal to America. I have visited New York City and visited the 9/11 Memorial. I read the names on the plaques at the Memorial site. The events were much more personal to me than other events I have read about.
    Much like the events of September 11, 2001, the be-headings of journalists Daniel Pearl and James Foley seem unreal and impossible. Although the events are years apart, they sure feel the same to me. As Americans, we feel untouchable in a way. Since events like be-headings do not happen within our country, we are horrified when they happen in other countries, especially when the happen to American citizens. I am struck by what the author says about ISIS versus al-Qaeda: “ISIS is not al-Qaeda and ISIS has not committed a terrorist attack against the United States”. Taking an American against his will, keeping him hostage, beheading him, and then videotaping that event for the world to see certainly feels like a terrorist attack even though it might not meet the specific definition.

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  16. Caitlin Strawn-GPCMay 4, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    No matter how many different issues this country will disagree about, the fear of terrorism is something most all people will worry about. 9/11 was an event that really opened the eyes of American citizens. Ever since that time, people never really had that intense thought that there is a possibility that something bad like that could happen. Everyone has seen the terrorism movies, like Air Force One, but not many people had stopped to think about if they themselves were in that situation. 9/11 changed that. Even though I was 7 years old, I still remember my parents being glued to the TV. And every year on the anniversary of 9/11 I watch the astonishing documentaries on the terror the people faced. Innocent people not expecting it at all to happen, had their lives stolen away from them. It was an event that changed the way people thought forever. On top of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, as the article mentions, the beheading of the journalist took place about six months after the attack. Although I do not remember hearing about this, I could only imagine the shock. Not only did the country endure this devastating attack on innocent lives, but the terrorists still had the nerve to make the wound worse.
    Thankfully, we as a nation have rose up and built new ground. However, these heartbreaking videos that have been released consisting of the journalists’ executions remind us that there still are people out there who do not want us alive. They have clearly shown that they will sacrifice their own lives to have us dead. That is a scary thought. That someone would sacrifice their own life to have a stranger dead. The fact that these journalists were taken captive, and who knows what else they had to endure, is a devastating blow. However, this nation, if we play it right, can figure out a way to defend every innocent soul. There could be many different solutions, but whichever is chosen to be so carefully thought out that there is no way it could fail. If our enemies will fight so hard that they will take their own lives, it is imminent that we settle this in whichever was is most beneficial.

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  17. Jesse Saldana AraisMay 5, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    I don’t remember a lot about the 9/11 attacks because i was in elementary school. All I remember was watching the news in class. I didn’t really understand what was happening and whether it was important. Most of my classmates where clueless about what was going on. I never could have imagine how big of an impact 9/11 could have on the United states. Now that I’m older, I now understand 9/11 and how it changed America.
    Moreover, I pay more attention to the news and issues overseas. I really think ISIS and Al Qaeda are a huge risk not only to America but to other countries as well. If they can behead and slaughter hundreds of innocent people without remorse, I can't imagine what they’ll do if they got their hands on biological and nuclear weapons. Groups like this are better of dead. What I don’t really understand is why would an American want to join ISIS? I have heard on the news that teenagers are running away from home to be with these monsters. When will this madness stop?

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  18. I was only in Pre-K on 9/11, but growing up 9/11 is certainly a day you learn to be in infamy. When I visited New York City, my family spent hours at the 9/11 memorial and museum. It is truly powerful and heartbreaking to see the names of all the lives taken too soon. I cannot comprehend the mindset of those who inflicted such pain, sorrow, and grief, but oddly it reminds me of how lucky we are in America. It shocks me how lives were taken, dreams were destroyed, and our sense of security disappeared all in just one day and one event. However, it only makes me thankful for the security we do have in our country. We are extremely blessed and safe compared to those living amongst the unrest in the Middle East.
    As for the recent beheadings of journalists, I agree that ISIS's actions are less threatening than Al Qaeda's terrorist attacks. However, America still stands strong in supporting and honoring those brutally killed for doing their job. Journalism is not a safe occupation but a necessary one. And it is disheartening how we have lost 2 American journalists.To this day we still see the effects of 9/11 and America is continuously changing in response to the angry world around us.
    GraceAnne Dukes

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  19. I was unaware of the beheading after 9/11 as I was to young at the time to fully understand what was going on so it's hard to recall the events and what happened. It was a truly horrific event in history that is one of the most personal to America. I feel as if America has a giant target on it's head because we are a power house, and we have a huge defense, but that doesn't mean we can stop every attack. We're making enemies of many communists countries as we try and control them. America is kind of like humans to nature. Nature happens naturally and things need to take it's course without intervention. America kind of needs to let that happen a little bit because we act like the bully at a play ground making sure everyone does what we want. When we do that we lose a lot of lives on our side and the other and it's very sad for both. I'm not saying we should let people destroy America, our reaction to have an attack after is completely valid, but going in everyone elses business when we haven't been attacked is getting us in trouble. I don't want to lose anyone as much as the next guy, so I think America should rethink going into different countries within reason. ISIS is definitely an impending threat, but they're very small and America is the largest power house out there right now so as much as we need to pacify any threats, maybe just let things play out and see how far they get?

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  20. Although much more has played out between this blog and my response, I felt it was very worthy of a read. 9/11 was a day that transformed the lives, and lifestyles of millions of people in America, and Middle Eastern nations. You can ask almost anyone what they were doing when 9/11 happened and they remember almost every detail. I was sitting in Mrs. Richmond's 5th grade class, our room didn't have a television, she came rushing in and we all were ushered to a separate classroom that had one. We just watched, most of us in awe of what was happening. I remember being so scared, my dad was working in New York that day, and my Uncle lives there, I had no cell phone and being a child didn't understand that the likelihood of him being there for his job was slim to none. I grew up in Pennsylvania, so news of the plane crash landing in the field there was equally as scary, I not it is also well worth the trip to visit the memorial. I can't say for sure that was the exact day, but as things developed over time, it is what led me to enlist.

    Before you deploy you go to all of these briefings, most of which deal with the cultural aspect of the people you may encounter, in all of our train up operations we had the chance to work with many veterans who had been there, and we had several interpreters who came from Iraq. It was really interesting to gain some perspective from them. I also became very close with my interpreter, who eventually was replaced with some cheaper white guy from Egypt which really upset me, but I always picked his brain about cultural aspects, and we talked much about how the world outside of the United States viewed us.

    All of these experiences have led me to have a huge interest in the developments with ISIS, especially being that it started in Iraq ( my old unit has a monument with dog tags from Fallujah for the fallen soldiers.) It is easy to dismiss them as an organization, because like you pointed out, aside from small incidents to the point of this article, they really had not done much to warrant them as a threat. They were a splinter cell of al-Qaeda called "al-Qaeda in Iraq" and had eventually been dismissed by Al-Qaeda due to fights with the Al-Nursa front in Syria, but they aren't similar in structure or approach to the enemy we are accustomed to. The difference being their use of social media outlets, they unlike Al-Qaeda, are able to plant themselves in peoples minds by posting graphic images on facebook, with movie quality, this is how they can recruit from all over, and have been able to establish threats from within our borders (so they claim). Only time will tell what they are really made of.

    I'd also like to applaud the recognition that you give these reporters, it is one thing to deploy and be armed to the teeth with weaponry in a combat zone, it is completely different when you are armed with a camera. They have put themselves in harms way, just to get the latest developments out to a public, that in more recent years, doesn't even seem that interested if it conflicts with the Kardashian's time slot.

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