The beheading of an American journalist by the Islamic State enables Americans to see the "absolute evil" of the terrorist organization, Gen. Michael Hayden told Newsmax TV's
The group, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), posted a video of the beheading of James Wright Foley on Tuesday and has threatened to kill Steven Sotloff, another U.S. journalist they are holding hostage. Hayden said that without intelligence information, there was "very little we can do."
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"We really did get a chance yesterday to look at absolute evil in its face. It's a reminder of what it is we're dealing with here in the Middle East," said Hayden, a retired Air Force general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.
The rise of IS came from "pre-existing pathologies within the Middle East," rather than the result of U.S. foreign policy, Hayden said. He outlined a three-step plan for how the United States could arrest the advance of the militant organization.
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The first step would be to "decapitate — to try to take its leadership off the battlefield," Hayden said. The next step would be to deny IS a "safe haven." The third step, which he said would be the "most difficult task," would be to "change the facts on the ground."
"How do we change the facts on the ground? If we prevent the creation of these kinds of people, this kind of an organization, that's a long-term project, and one that, frankly, will be very difficult for us to do," he said.
In light of events in Iraq, Hayden warned it is not prudent for the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan, as President Barack Obama has pledged to do before the end of his second term.
"The president has promised this withdrawal by the time he leaves office. By the time he leaves the Oval [Office], he's going to make Afghanistan look like Iraq. That's not a good plan," he said.
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