President Obama, speaking of slain journalist James Foley: “The entire world is appalled,” Obama said Wednesday. The president, speaking one day after veteran journalist James Foley was beheaded, promised that “justice will be done” to the Islamic State militants who killed Foley – cutting him and posting video to YouTube.
In the video posted Tuesday, Foley is seen kneeling and reading a scripted message that says his “real killer” is America, and saying he wishes he “wasn’t American.”
“I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government,” said Foley, reading the letter. “For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality. My message to my beloved parents: Save me some dignity, and don’t accept some minor compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with their recent aerial campaign in Iraq.”
Continuing to read aloud the forced script, Foley directs his comments to his brother John, who serves in the U.S. Air Force.
“Think about what you are doing. Think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family,” Foley said. “I call on you, John. Think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been. Think, John. Who did they really kill? And did they think about me, you and our family when they made that decision?”
“I died that day, John, when your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people, they signed my death certificate. I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”
The masked militant, holding and gesturing with a knife, then gave the following message as Foley knelt by his side.
This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims.
You are no longer fighting an insurgency. We are an Islamic army, and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide. So effectively any aggression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic caliphate as their leadership. So any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.
He then is seen pulling Foley’s head back and taking the blade to his throat.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Tuesday they were working to authenticate the video.
“We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by (ISIS),” Hayden said. “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 video and Foley’s death have since been confirmed.
Obama spoke briefly today at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusettes, where he is vacationing with his family.
“Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL,” Obama said, saying the nation was “heartbroken” and condemning the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which he called a “cancer,” for “an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world.”
Obama said Foley was a man “who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings.”
“His life stands in stark contrast to his killers,” Obama said. “ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.”
“Their ideology is bankrupt,” he added. “People like this ultimately fail. They fail because the future’s won by those who build and not destroy. The world is shaped by people like Jim Foley.”
Obama’s full speech can be read here, on the Wall Street Journal’s blog.
The NY Daily News had a different take on Obama's actions, blasting the president for a delivering a tough speech, one in which he promised a "relentless" pursuit of justice, then went golfing.
President Obama put his own spin on the oft-quoted advice of Teddy Roosevelt: Speak sharply and carry a big nine iron. The vacationing commander-in-chief, after promising a relentless hunt for the terrorist butchers of a U.S. journalist, teed off on a Martha’s Vineyard golf course just a short time later.
His ill-timed actions caught the attention of Liz Cheney, daughter of the former GOP Vice President. She took a "swing" at Obama, tweeting out:
Obama is more dedicated to golfing than he is to defending the nation.
Even French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius realized that Obama's actions were amiss.
“I know in Western countries, this is vacation period,” he said. “But when people are dying, you must return from vacation.”
Foley disappeared on November 22, 2012, in northwest Syria, near the border with Turkey.
James’ mother, Diane Foley from Rochester, N.H., took to social media to write of her son’s courage.
“We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” Foley’s mother said in a statement posted on Facebook Tuesday night.