News / USA

Obama: US Not Intimidated by Beheadings

Terrorist Video Claims Beheading of 2nd US Journalisti
September 03, 2014 9:57 AM
The Islamic State extremist group has released a video showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff. The U.S. government has confirmed the authenticity of the video, which was posted on the Internet. In it, the Islamic State again blamed President Barack Obama and the U.S. bombing of Iraq for the execution. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Watch related video report from VOA's Carolyn Presutti.
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President Barack Obama says the United States will not be intimidated by the beheading of a second American journalist, and vowed to build a coalition to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State extremist group.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Estonia, Obama said it will take time to "roll them back," or apply pressure to the group claiming responsibility for the murders of Steven Sotloff and James Foley. The video of Sotloff's beheading was released Tuesday and his identity was verified by U.S. officials within hours.

Obama said the killers have failed in whatever they are trying to achieve because the United States and the world are "repulsed by their barbarism" and will not be intimidated.

"Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists. And 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."

Later, in New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden used blunt language concerning U.S. resolve to fight the Islamic State. 

“If they think the American people will be intimidated, they don’t know us very well.”

“We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice because hell is where they will reside,” said Biden.

Kerry, Hagel denounce beheading

Speaking in Washington Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the murderers of James Foley and and Steven Sotloff should know that the United States will hold them accountable just as the United States has always held killers of U.S. citizens accountable. Kerry described the Sotloff beheading  as "medieval savagery".

"The real face of Islam is not what we saw yesterday, when the world bore witness again to the unfathamable brutality of ISIL terrorist murders," he said during remarks at a ceremony to honor the appointment of Shaarik Zafar, who will head up the department's engagement with Muslim communities around the world.

Kerry said the U.S. government has been using every tool at its disposal to rescue captured Americans, like Sotloff.
“For so many who have worked so long to bring Steven and other Americans home safely, this is obviously was not how the story was meant to end.  It is a punch in the gut," he said. “We need to reach beyond government to include religious leaders and faith communities, entrepreneurs, civil society groups, all of them working together to invest in a future that embraces tolerance and understanding, and yes, even love.”

Also Wednesday, speaking to CNN television, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the beheadings make him sick to his stomach.

He noted that more than 100 U.S. citizens are fighting with the militants in Iraq and Syria, and that the United States and its coalition partners have to do everything  possible to stop Islamic State now.

Meanwhile, some U.S. lawmakers are calling for urgent action to fight the Islamic State with an international coalition targeting militants with drones, airstrikes and Kurdish fighters. 

Video analyzed

A statement early Wednesday from the National Security Council said U.S. intelligence agencies analyzed a video showing Sotloff's killing and judged it to be real. A spokesmen for Sotloff's relatives said the family is aware of the video and is grieving privately.  The spokesman said the journalist was not a hero but someone who was a voice to those in the Arab world who have no voice. He said Sotloff sacrificed his life to bring their story to the world.

The extremist Islamic State group released the video Tuesday in which a black-masked militant with a British accent addresses Obama, saying Sotloff's death is retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against the group in Iraq. The killing apparently was carried out in a similar manner to the beheading last month of American journalist James Foley.  

In a speech earlier Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the beheading and other "brutal killings" of civilians by the militants.

"This is totally unacceptable, such kind of inhuman, brutal crimes, which is a crime against humanity," said Ban. "Those perpetrators must be brought to justice. And this is the firm policy of the United Nations."

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Sotloff's murder "disgusting and despicable."

The militant speaking in the video also threatened the life of British hostage David Cawthorne Haines, who has been described as a security officer for aid agencies.

After the Foley killing, Steven Sotloff's mother, Shirley, appealed directly to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to free her son. She said he should not pay the price for U.S. policies in Iraq.

The United States has been conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State in coordination with Iraq's government since early August.  

Sotloff was taken captive in Syria in August 2013, about a year after Foley was abducted. He worked for Time and Foreign Policy magazines.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday the U.S. will continue airstrikes to disrupt Islamic State's ability to put U.S. personnel and facilities at risk. He said the airstrikes also will support humanitarian aid to those persecuted by the extremists. 
Pam Dockins contributed to this report from Washington; some material for this report was provided by Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Karin from: USA
September 06, 2014 10:57 AM
The last thing you want to do is to try and reunite the US population under this incident. Sorry, but I do not want to reunite with my rapist or the guy, who tried to kill me just because we are both US citizens. It's good to remember that there are good and evil Americans out there. I wish these sadists had picked some evil American to kill instead.This journalist seemed so innocent. As per Americans themselves, it's ok to kill evil people, that's why they kill Iraqis that are evil. Although Americans do have a really hard time telling the difference between a terrorist and innocent person, therefore, they kill and ruin millions of innocent people while trying to identify terrorists. Many innocent people fell prey to those Americans, who were seeing terrorists in people, who had absolutely no evidence of being terrorists but were forced upon an association. If you think about it, this is one helluva double standard.

by: Tepid from: US
September 04, 2014 9:51 PM
Based on what Obama said in his statement, his intent, by no means, was not to stop or prevent such massacres, otherwise they'll never stop. Perhaps, he needs, at least, some knowledge of human psychology, particularly, the knowledge of the middle eastern culture and religion, in order to understand, and make it his goal and purpose, to stop this once and for all. This would require giving a completely different message to anyone who intends to perpetuate such acts in the future!!!!

Obviously, the intent of those militants was not to intimidate Americans. It would be sad, if it was the only thing Americans cared about. Americans shouldn't use incidents like that as an opportunity to exercise power over people and intimidate them. Especially, people, who are not like them.

May be Obama should start by controlling Americans first, and making sure that they do not do anything to bring this kind of justice upon themselves. Plus, you do not need to administer justice to what was already a statement of justice. You'll incite too much hostility towards the US, and jeopardize its population. And that's what Obama should worry about and not some superficiality.

by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
September 04, 2014 7:17 AM
Germany and its alies stop the war in Iraq

by: P from: USA
September 04, 2014 3:53 AM
When does the blood shed stop and we start building a better relationship with all

by: Caleb from: Nigeria
September 04, 2014 1:12 AM
as long as the united states and her allies shy away from military action against terror in iraq, nigeria, etc, al-qaeda will continue to blossom under different names.

September 03, 2014 9:49 PM
USA cannot do this big job alone unless and until USA MUST speak sponsors of this terrorist group in very TOUGH language not to finance, training and health care on their soil. If USA CIA has no information about real back up then I would like to inform you. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordon and Kuwait. If CIA make its home work carefully then all relevant information can gather easily then decide with Harsh Hand against Sponsors and Terrorist group. In Past USA and EU was also responsible for financial back up, weapons and training to these terrorist group against ASAD & CO. This is the same group came from SYRIA after killing More then 200,000/= helpless and poor Syrians. When they were killing in the same manner to Syrians no body came to rescue Poor Syrians from these human killers, rather they got all types of help from USA AND EU to make as much as destruction in Syria in the name of FREEDOM FIGHTERS. This is true but sad story consist of FOUR YEARS.

by: Hannah Bui from: Canada
September 03, 2014 9:29 PM
Too many conflicts around the world to follow these days...I don't know what is the cause but war or retaliation will never be the solution. My heart goes out for the hostages but let them be the heros for the entire human race. Otherwise, the more we get involved, the more excited those radicals will become with their plan. They've got us well distracted from building up the good but focusing on the bad, and wasting tons of money as well as resources as a result.
I don't know much about politics but I think we don't need to react to every barbarism like this. There isn't such a thing called a perfect world on earth. We need to know where we should draw a line, which land we are standing for and how far we should reach out without getting hurt.

by: Jlynch from: US
September 03, 2014 4:25 PM
They will never stop. They are like cockroaches. They seem to be spreading all over. Bomb them? The survivors will just go somewhere and gather more. Don't give them a chance. Carry out the threat of destroying them. Nuke them.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 03, 2014 3:48 PM
If you're not intimidated by the terror group, then send more people there either to be beheaded or to defeat the group. It is not enough not to fear the group, what is required now is strategy to not only defeat it but to destroy it entirely. USA knows the root of ISIS and USA also knows how to stop it - ask Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar if you have forgotten. This is not a time for many words. The level of barbarism with the ISIS is beyond comprehension. If the US continues to fraternize with sunni muslim countries which are behind this terror, then USA has no moral justification to tell anybody that itself is not the sponsor of terrorism when its aid, friendship and support are only passed through the so-called friendly nations to the proxies at terror.

We can hit the nail on the head, and that means USA must tell its allies in the region to their face what it knows about their activities with terrorism. The CIA cannot have failed this dismally not to find out the sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East, even though right now both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are crying out against the group, Turkey appearing complacent as though less affairs while Saudi Arabia threatens that ISIS will target USA and Europe if not quickly curbed. Why not Saudi Arabia itself? It is not about not feeling threatened, it is about doing the right thing to stop the terror group from both threatening others and doing more of the beheadings – US citizens or others.

by: Mrs. G. from: Cambridge, On
September 03, 2014 2:54 PM
Horrific, disgusting, heartless people. They should all be eliminated. If he is going to have this execution/beheading recorded, then at least be a man and show your face. Cowardly people!!!
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