The video of the beheading of freelance journalist James Foley brings to mind the horrific murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in February 2002. As stunned as we are by the senseless and cowardly brutality, Foley's murder should not be viewed as a Pearl redux.
To some Americans, the brutal beheading earlier this week was their first awareness that the Islamic State group -- formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- even exists, just as Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida were relatively unknown before the Sept. 11 attacks. However, the assassination should be seen for what it is: another effort in a global advertising campaign for the Islamic State group.
The group is a more capable threat than al-Qaida. Through its weapons, training and tactical experience, it has demonstrated it is an army, not just a terrorist group hiding in caves.
It also is a sophisticated practitioner of global recruitment. It uses the Internet and is openly seeking enlistees on the streets of London. The fact that the executioner on the video of Foley's beheading has a British accent indicates the worldwide reach the group has developed.
Its sophisticated recruiting techniques include utilizing social media and web-messaging technology to attract recruits from the West. This is significant because in targeting Western recruits, the Islamic State will potentially enlist fighters who will be trained and combat tested for potential attacks on Western countries. Also significant is that if it can recruit in London, then it can attack in London. The import for the United States is clear: A threat against a European ally should be viewed as one step removed from a direct threat on us.