By Branson Strasner
The United States government has announced that they with “99% certainty” killed ISIS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, more widely known as “Jihadi John.”
The nickname was given to Emwazi by his hostages, in reference to his English accent, which reminded the hostages of John Lennon of The Beatles.
Since August 2014, Emwazi has been featured in numerous ISIS-produced, grisly beheading videos, with his first victim being the American journalist James Foley.
Foley was a freelance war correspondent during the Syrian Civil War before being captured by the terrorist organization.
He became the first American citizen to be killed by ISIS, as well as the first of Emwazi’s 28 execution victims.
Emwazi was born in Kuwait, before migrating with his family to the United Kingdom when he was six years old.
He lived a surprisingly normal life, growing up in London, and receiving a Bachelor of Science at the University of Westminster, before defecting to ISIS.
According to the U.S. government, Emwazi was killed on Nov. 12 after leaving an ISIS compound in al-Raqqah, Syria, and getting into a vehicle.
Shortly after leaving, Emwazi was targeted by three U.S. drones that proceeded to fire two Hellfire missiles at his car.
Hellfire missiles are used by the United States military against armored vehicles and have become the weapon of choice for precision drone strikes.
The families of Emwazi’s prior victims have cited mixed feelings, saying that the United States should have put as much effort into saving Emwazi’s hostages as they put into hunting him down.
While I think that the reported death of Jihadi John is a victory for the United States, there are a couple of problems with it.
First of all, news reporters have been written as though Emwazi is definitely dead. In actuality, the government hasn’t officially announced his death, saying that they’re only 99% certain the terrorist was killed.
This leads to another problem: Drone strikes.
These strikes are unreliable and while they may be a way to keep American soldiers out of dangerous areas, they have a fair amount of shortcomings.
It is hard to distinguish with certainty whom a drone is targeting during high profile assassinations such as in Emwazi’s case, or, in the worst case, the death of innocent civilians.
Just last month, an American manned aircraft strike hit a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz, killing at least 16 people, and injuring 37.
The U.S. government stated that it was “collateral damage” while trying to oust Taliban insurgents who had taken refuge in the hospital.
Can the government really say that the war on terror is a just cause if all parties involved are killing innocent people?
There must be a point where we draw the line on collateral damage.
In my opinion, America needs to find a more effective and reliable solution to ending extremist activities in the Middle East.