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Reporter James Foley Beheaded in ISIS Video

james-foley-fbi

American journalist James Foley has been beheaded by the terrorist network calling itself the Islamic State.

CNN (“Video shows ISIS beheading U.S. journalist James Foley“):

A video released by ISIS shows the beheading of American journalist James Foley, who disappeared in November 2012 in Syria.

The video posted on YouTube contained a message to the United States to end its military operations in Iraq.

In the video, Foley is seen kneeling next to a man dressed in black. He reads a message, presumably scripted by his captors, that his “real killer” is America.

“I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope for freedom to see my family once again,” Foley can be heard saying in the video.

He is then shown being beheaded.

The National Security Council is aware of the video.

“The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information when it is available,” the agency said.

Foley disappeared in November 2012 in northwest Syria, near the border with Turkey. He was reportedly forced into a vehicle by gunmen; he was not heard from again. At the time of his disappearance, he was working for the GlobalPost.

The video also shows another American journalist. His life is said by the militants in the video to hang in the balance, depending on President Barack Obama does next.

The journalist is believed to be Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped at the Syria-Turkey border in 2013. Sotloff is a contributor to Time and Foreign Policy magazines.

A decade ago, al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists engaged in a series of videotaped beheadings of Westerners, mostly Americans. The practice stopped after a few months because it backfired so severely, undermining the very religious principles for which the Islamist radicals ostensibly fought.

Obviously, US policy in Iraq was not behind the capture of Foley in November 2012. At that time, US troops were out of Iraq and the president who had campaigned on ending American involvement there had just been reelected. Whatever the sick rationale for this barbaric act, it certainly wasn’t limited airstrikes that began nearly two years later.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    And with that bit of brutal stupidity the IS eliminates about half the media objections to bombing their asses.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 3

  2. Greg says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Indeed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. aFloridian says:

    Barbarians. The Caliphate is a contagion we’ve seen before. It’s more dangerous than most realize.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. ernieyeball says:

    Whose worse? Them or this guy?

    William Laws Calley, Jr. (born June 8, 1943) is a former United States U.S. Army officer found guilty of murdering 22 unarmed, innocent South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968, during the Vietnam War.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Calley#mediaviewer/File:My_Lai_massacre.jpg

    Meadlo described that during the day’s events, he was standing guard over a few dozen My Lai villagers when Lt. Calley approached him and ordered him to shoot all the civilians. When Meadlo balked at the orders, Calley backed off 20 feet (6 m) or more and opened fire on the people himself, and Meadlo joined in.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Calley

    http://www.georgelois.com/images/Esquire%20covers/esquire_calley.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  5. Tyrell says:

    It is past time to do what it takes to wipe this group out completely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. James Joyner says:

    @ernieyeball: I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. Calley was a misfit who never should have received an Army commission but did late in an unpopular war when standards fell. He committed war crimes, killing noncombatants against both international law and the code of conduct of his country’s armed forces. ISIS kills noncombatants as a central part of its identity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  7. ernieyeball says:

    @James Joyner:..I have no idea what point you’re trying to make.

    I was asking a question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball:

    But no one understands the point of your question. They are both bad. How does your question have anything to do with the situation at hand?

    And it comes off–and I’m assuming this is what you are implying–that we have no moral standing to question the beheading of a journalist because one of our guys committed atrocities 4 decades ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson:..and I’m assuming this is what you are implying…

    Never assume anything.

    …we have no moral standing to question the beheading of a journalist because one of our guys committed atrocities 4 decades ago.

    I did not say that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  10. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Then…what are you trying to say by asking that question?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. JohnMcC says:

    Between the endless depressing video loop of tear gas and Nat’lGuard in Ferguson to arguments about Lt Calley, I’m beginning to think I’m having one of those flashbacks I was promised. Except when I took the acid back then, it made me giggle a lot. No laughter in the 21st century, friends, No laughter at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. Matt Bernius says:

    @aFloridian:

    The Caliphate is a contagion we’ve seen before. It’s more dangerous than most realize.

    Can you unpack this?

    I mean, we’re always looking for the next Nazis (btw, who were the Nazis before the Nazis). But it seems to me that, based on their reach and limited (in the grand scheme of things) successes, it’s hard to understand the ISIS “Caliphate” as a true existential threat.

    And, if we are being honest, was Al Qaeda truly an existential threat?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. wr says:

    @James Joyner: ” He committed war crimes, killing noncombatants against both international law and the code of conduct of his country’s armed forces”

    Which his country’s government and armed forces conspired to cover up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  14. James Joyner says:

    @wr: Sure. That’s not at all shocking given the tenor of the times. In addition to being an attrocity and a crime, it was a huge public relations disaster that potentially undermined the “hearts and minds” campaign in Vietnam, undermined domestic support for the war even further, and further damaged troop morale. The cover-up was itself a crime but it’s understandable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. wr says:

    @wr: Not that I know what this has to do with ISIS… but stil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  16. ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson: But no one understands the point of your question.

    You are the one claiming to speak for all. You tell me. Everyone you are speaking for might want to know too.

    …what are you trying to say by asking that question?

    If you play Strawberry Fields Forever backwards all will be revealed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  17. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Ah, so you don’t have a point.

    Or, more likely, you did–the one I inferred–and you realize now it was a d-bag point to make.

    So which is it? Are you being completely nonsensical, or did you actually have a point?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. socraticsilence says:

    I swear to god, other cultures misunderstand and misread American culture at least as bad as we misread them– this kind of stuff only serves to make even objectors to increased American attacks on ISIL want to wipe them out and unlike AQ where I think you could argue that they intended to provoke American attacks in order to try and achieve their goals (Bin Laden said as much before hand), ISIL seemed to be doing pretty well for themselves prior to this, I mean there were a decent number of non-hawks who wanted to wipe them out to prevent a genocide but deaths of Iraqi’s are something the public has largely become inured to over the last decade and maybe they could have backed off a bit and just pushed on to Bagdhad, but now, now they’re basically going to draw a full on air war which they lack the capacity to do anything about and which unlike say the Taliban with the caves and mountains and the porous Pakistani border they have no where to run and hide from (they can retreat to Syria but that might not be a great option given reports that they moved into Iraq because the rest of the Syrian opposition was turning on them).

    Hell, if you were going to be conspiratorial you could argue that this video would be an evil but brilliant move for someone like Assad to put out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. ernieyeball says:

    90% Red Thumbs…so far…Obviously this question should not have been asked on this forum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson:.so you don’t have a point.

    I posed a question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  21. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Yes, on a thread regarding the beheading of a journalist. And the question specifically linked the event, with your question’s subject matter. So I ask you–what was your point in asking it? How is it relevant to James Foley? Why is this a hard question for you to understand?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. ernieyeball says:

    Which is worse. Me asking a “doushebag” question? Or Shakespeare here cramming all these words into one sentence?

    I swear to god, other cultures misunderstand and misread American culture at least as bad as we misread them– this kind of stuff only serves to make even objectors to increased American attacks on ISIL want to wipe them out and unlike AQ where I think you could argue that they intended to provoke American attacks in order to try and achieve their goals (Bin Laden said as much before hand), ISIL seemed to be doing pretty well for themselves prior to this, I mean there were a decent number of non-hawks who wanted to wipe them out to prevent a genocide but deaths of Iraqi’s are something the public has largely become inured to over the last decade and maybe they could have backed off a bit and just pushed on to Bagdhad, but now, now they’re basically going to draw a full on air war which they lack the capacity to do anything about and which unlike say the Taliban with the caves and mountains and the porous Pakistani border they have no where to run and hide from (they can retreat to Syria but that might not be a great option given reports that they moved into Iraq because the rest of the Syrian opposition was turning on them).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  23. ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I withdraw the question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Definitely your question is worse. socraticsilence may need to edit a bit, but at least he’s discussing the subject at hand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. ernieyeball says:

    And it comes off–and I’m assuming this is what you are implying–that we have no moral standing to question the beheading of a journalist because one of our guys committed atrocities 4 decades ago.

    I deny that this is my point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  26. ernieyeball says:

    I guess the old saw that “the only bad question is the one you don’t ask” doesn’t apply at OTB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Aren’t these the same people Obama wanted to arm in their fight against Assad, and later called “the junior varsity?”

    At least he started taking the right steps by ordering the air strikes. A good start in the right direction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  28. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball:

    As soon as you illuminate us regarding what your point was, I’ll withdraw the insinuation. Until, I cannot think of a context that your question was asked in which this was not the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  29. ernieyeball says:

    @Hud:..Definitely your question is worse.

    I’ll tell you what would be worse.
    Me to stop asking questions because you don’t like them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  30. Rob in CT says:

    The “I’m just asking a question, I didn’t take a position” is gutless BS, and I’ve seen it before. I consider it a form of trolling.

    Jenos:

    Aren’t these the same people Obama wanted to arm in their fight against Assad, and later called “the junior varsity?”

    I thought that was McCain who was gung-ho about arming Syrian rebels only to find out they were a bunch of terroristic nutjobs. Obama was never enthusiastic about backing the rebels, specifically because it was unclear there were any “moderate” rebels to arm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  31. ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson..I don’t care care about your insinuations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  32. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Yeah, considering how much McCain and Lindsay were on the Sunday morning shows talking about arming the “moderate rebels,” and that we aren’t doing enough, it’s really bizarre to blame Obama for wanting to fund them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. Tyrell says:

    @Rob in CT: That was always the problem in that Syria deal.
    There are no good guys.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. anjin-san says:

    I don’t think there will be too much bitching as we end some of these assholes with drones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Aren’t these the same people Obama wanted to arm in their fight against Assad, and later called “the junior varsity?”

    The only thing worse than a troll is a boring troll. Yes, I am talking to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Once again, you read until you find something you can selectively quote and whine. You missed the part where I said Obama had taken a good first step in ordering the air strikes.

    @socraticsilence: Well said. They really think we are intimidated by this kind of crap. There are very few examples where the United States was cowed by such action, and many, many more where it just pissed us off in a very, very painful way for the other side.

    Hell, in one case, it now looks like the “provocation” was actually an accident on our part (sinking of USS Maine and the Spanish-American War), and we still beat the crap out of those that we thought had attacked us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  37. michael reynolds says:

    Had we actually tipped the balance against Assad, ISIL would now own Damascus. Waiting to hear from someone why that would be a good thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Had we actually tipped the balance against Assad, ISIL would now own Damascus. Waiting to hear from someone why that would be a good thing.

    As noted, McCain was pushing for it. Obama threatened to do it unilaterally. I’d ask them — or their supporters — why they thought it was a good thing.

    I was on record here saying that there were no good guys in that fight, and we should stay the hell out. And when one of the regular idiots later accused me of supporting the anti-Assad forces, I got seriously bent out of shape.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Had we actually tipped the balance against Assad, ISIL would now own Damascus. Waiting to hear from someone why that would be a good thing.

    I had to think about it a bit, and here’s one idea: these psychos are, historically, really sucky at governing. Conquering they can do, but govern? Nope. So they might have gotten bogged down in Damascus and fallen apart.

    It’s a long shot, but I took your comment as a challenge…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: And Jenos…ironically makes sense for once and Reynolds is the wingnut…who could have guessed?

    (Cue downvotes in 5,,,4…3…)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:
    What is it you think I’m suggesting?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: Your confusion is caused by something that I have trouble accepting myself: I’m agreeing with reynolds.

    I took his “how could this have worked” comment as a challenge, and put my creative energies into finding some way where helping ISIS in Syria could have had a good outcome. And I think that I was way too imaginative and totally unrealistic.

    That you seem to think my fantasy about ISIS makes sense… all I gotta say is “wow.”

    Oh, and stop Bogarting the good drugs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. A says:

    @ernieyeball: They are. The person you mentioned has been found guilty already & has since stopped killing over in Viet Nam.

    ISIS/ISIL hasn’t been stopped …. yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. anjin-san says:

    psychos are, historically, really sucky at governing. Conquering they can do, but govern?

    Are you talking about today’s conservatives?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Please, anjin… go piss up a rope. It’ll actually be more productive than stalking me from thread to thread with asinine, off-topic attempts to bait me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1