Understanding the Importance of
Keeping Up-to-Date with the News
BY LEAH CUMMINS
Until I took American Politics this semester, I never realized how many current events about which I did not learn. I noticed that a lot of college students ignore politics and say it does not apply to them (not including students majoring or interested in political science; this is just a generalization). However, many college students do not have a grip on current events. I personally am guilty of not always knowing what is going on in the world, but I still try to follow the news channels and see major events. After hearing the news every day in American Politics, I notice exactly how much I have missed when I do not take the time to learn about the daily news. Scrolling on Facebook or occasionally turning on the news is not enough for one to be completely caught up. It takes a little more. Currently, there is a large issue I think everyone has heard about, but not everyone has taken time to see what they do, and why they do it—the extremist group ISIS.
This terrorist group is led by a man named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The group controls territory in Iraq and Syria and has deemed themselves to be the Islamic State (IS), of which the United Nations does not approve. Their official name, “ISIS,” stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and was created in 2013, and they have also been called “ISIL” which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. ISIS originally stemmed from Al-Qaeda of Iraq (AQI), but after a period of crisis in 2008 and 2009, their old leader Omar Al-Baghdadi was martyred, and this was when their current leader rose to power. They lost connection to AQI in this period.
ISIS’s goal is to expand and establish their Islamic state. One strategy ISIS has done to make money is to threaten and steal money from banks. Recently (especially as shown in the media), ISIS has changed tactics. They now show videos of people in ISIS doing horrible things, such as beheading people and killing targeted groups. They have committed many war crimes as well as killed soldiers and religious or minority groups. The group has been held together by their ideas and beliefs in certain figures to keep moral up. ISIS’s strong foundation – built upon resentment of the Sunni branch of Islam – recruits new followers and keeps their plans moving forward.
Now, ISIS’s strategy is to capture cities and create operations to strengthen their group. There have been a number of suicide bombers, decapitations of Egyptian Christians, followers throwing a gay man off a roof as well as killing women for not subjecting to the rules, and much more.
In 2014, ISIS has killed 17,049 civilians according to CNN. This number continues to rise even with the United States current airstrikes against ISIS. The big question is should the United States send ground troops to fight against ISIS? Many Americans feel as though this idea will end in failure, others feel sending troops overseas is unavoidable. According to CBS News, 65 percent of Americans view ISIS as a threat as of February 2015. There are also some statistics that show more Americans becoming in favor of sending troops as the situation worsens and more people are killed.
Many people make decisions on ISIS without knowing the entire; this shows that knowing current events is important to forming opinions and being able to discuss these matters with other Americans. It is also important to read a couple different articles on the same subject. Different journalists write to persuade differently and also include different aspects of the story on purpose. Not to say it is wrong, but it is always helpful to gain a bigger perspective than just one opinion. Keeping up on current events, such as ISIS, is definitely important, especially as ISIS gains power and US involvement becomes a possibility.