A Congress in recess began to react late Tuesday to the horrific beheading of journalist James Foley, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stressing that Foley won’t be the last American to die at the hands of ISIS unless the Islamic State is stopped.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who represents Foley’s native state and where his parents live, said in a statement that “our hearts are broken for the Foley family.”
“James was an innocent civilian who was bravely performing his job as a journalist,” Ayotte said. “This barbaric and heinous act shocks the conscience and highlights the truly evil nature of the terrorists we confront, who must be defeated. My thoughts and prayers are with James Foley’s family at this extremely difficult time.”
Ayotte replaced Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) as the third senator in the powerful national-security trio including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Neither McCain nor Graham has yet spoken on the Foley murder, but they have been the loudest voices in the upper chamber for some time warning that President Obama let ISIS get out of hand. “Our senior military, intelligence, and national security leaders have all stated that ISIS is a direct threat to the United States, and we should delay no further in taking the necessary actions to counter it,” they said in a joint statement the day before the gruesome execution video was released by ISIS.
Five days ago, an MSNBC piece accused Graham of “fear-mongering” on the Islamic State.
Foley’s other home-state senator, Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), noted that Foley “was a respected and accomplished journalist who devoted his life to one of our most important freedoms – the freedom of press.”
“Everyone who knew him recognized his dedication to his work and his commitment to sharing his eye-witness reporting of world events,” she said in a statement late Tuesday on her Facebook page. “His murder was a cowardly act of terrorism and underscores the threat that ISIL poses to the freedoms we hold dear. My thoughts are with the Foley family and everyone who knew and loved James, both in New Hampshire and around the world.”
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R-N.H.), who’s aiming to unseat Shaheen this November, quickly issued a one-sentence statement after the devastating news: “If anyone needed further evidence of the utter inhumanity of Islamic terrorism, this is it. ISIS is pure evil, and they must be stopped.”
Rubio issued a lengthy statement around midnight calling the murder “the latest example of the evil and barbarism of these terrorists.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Foley family and with other Western hostages who at this hour are still being held.”
The Daily Beast reported in January that terrorists hold a cache of journalists and aid workers, and moved them east and away from the reach of the Free Syrian Army when they expanded the Islamic State.
“Just as Al Qaeda’s initial killings of Americans abroad foretold the carnage they would unleash within our borders, this barbaric beheading of a defenseless hostage is the clearest indication to date that ISIL has declared war on the United States, on the American people, and on freedom loving people everywhere,” Rubio said. “For more than a year, ISIL has been murdering civilians, raping women and young girls and enslaving them, and carrying out a systematic genocide of anyone who does not share their warped and extremist Islamist views. ISIL cannot be reasoned with, they can’t be negotiated with, and their view of the world is irreconcilable with civilized society.”
Rubio added that he remains “deeply concerned that despite the preponderance of evidence that proves ISIL is a fundamentally evil and dangerous terrorist threat to the United States, President Obama continues to appear unwilling to do what is necessary to confront ISIL and communicate clearly to the American people about the threat ISIL poses to our country and to our way of life.”
“ISIL is not a problem for only Iraqis or Syrians to solve. A piecemeal approach will not eliminate the growing threat to the United States and our allies. If we do not do more to assist our Iraqi partners and those moderate Syrians who are fighting ISIL and directly target ISIL’s leadership and networks in Iraq and Syria, I fear that James Foley will not be the only American to die at their hands.”