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Will US, Allies 'Destroy' Islamic State Group?


Students and supporters take part in a candle light vigil at the University of Central Florida, Sept. 3, 2014, in Orlando, Fla., to honor Steven Sotloff.

Students and supporters take part in a candle light vigil at the University of Central Florida, Sept. 3, 2014, in Orlando, Fla., to honor Steven Sotloff.


From VOA Learning English, this is In The News.

This week, Islamic State militants released a video showing the execution of an American journalist. Steven Sotloff was captured in Syria in August of last year. He worked for Time and Foreign Policy magazines.

His death and the earlier execution of another American journalist, James Foley, have angered many people in the United States. President Barack Obama says the “horrific” killing of Steven Sotloff will unite the country and strengthen its resolve in dealing with terrorists. The president spoke on Wednesday during a visit to Estonia. He said the United States plans to build a coalition to, in his words, “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State militants.

“We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists.”

Steven Sotloff was from the state of Florida. The state’s governor, Rick Scott, halted a political campaign event to announce the reporter’s death and condemn those responsible.

“The people who did this are evil. They are not merely wrong. They are not adversaries. They are evil.”

Members of the U.S. Congress have expressed concern about the threat from Islamic State militants. Some members are demanding intensive air attacks. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is likely to seek the presidential nomination of the Republican Party in 2016. Senator Cruz spoke to a political gathering a few days ago. He denounced the group known as the Islamic State, also called ISIS.

“Well, ISIS says they want to go back and reject modernity. Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

But other lawmakers appear willing to give the Obama administration more time to develop a plan for dealing with the Islamic State. Washington Congressman Adam Smith is a member of Mr. Obama’s Democratic Party. He appeared on the CBS television program “Face the Nation.”

“It takes time to build a coalition. We can’t simply bomb first and ask questions later. We have to have the right targets and the right support in order to be effective in stopping ISIS.”

There have been few public opinion surveys about the threat from the militants and what the United States should do about it. One recent poll taken before the murder of Steven Sotloff found Americans divided on the question of whether to intervene in Iraq.

Karlyn Bowman studies U.S. public opinion at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. She says many Americans are likely to see the Islamic State as a threat worthy of some form of military action.

However, public support is not likely to extend to the use of U.S. ground troops, says John Mueller of Ohio State University.

The American public will have many chances to express itself in the weeks to come. Congress returns to Washington next week. How the United States should react to the Islamic State is likely to be a major issue. Some lawmakers are already urging the president to seek congressional approval before launching a wider military campaign against the group.

And that’s In The News from VOA Learning English.

I’m Christopher Cruise.

VOA correspondent Jim Malone reported this story. George Grow adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter edited it.

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Words in the News

militants – n. people active in trying to cause political change, often buy the use of force or violence

coalition n. forces, groups, nations or people joined together

campaign n. competition by opposing political candidates seeking support from voters; a connected series of military actions during a war

party n. a group of people working together for a political purpose

Now it’s your turn to use these Words in the News. In the comments section, write a sentence using one of these words and we will provide feedback on your use of vocabulary and grammar.

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