James Foley Is Not a War Ad

September 16th, 2014 - by admin

David Swanson / FireDogLake & James Foley / Democracy Now! – 2014-09-16 02:29:48


James Foley Is Not a War Ad
David Swanson / FireDogLake

(September 12, 2014) — To the extent that the US public is newly, and probably momentarily, accepting of war — an extent that is wildly exaggerated, but still real — it is because of videos of beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

When 9-11 victims were used as a justification to kill hundreds of times the number of people killed on 9-11, some of the victims’ relatives pushed back.

Now James Foley is pushing back from the grave.

Here is video of Foley talking about the lies that are needed to launch wars, including the manipulation of people into thinking of foreigners as less than human. Foley’s killers may have thought of him as less than human. He may not have viewed them the same way. [See embedded video below — EAW]

The video shows Foley in Chicago helping Haskell Wexler with his film Four Days in Chicago — a film about the last NATO protest before the recent one in Wales. I was there in Chicago for the march and rally against NATO and war. And I’ve met Wexler who has tried unsuccessfully to find funding for a film version of my book War Is A Lie.

Watch Foley in the video discussing the limitations of embedded reporting, the power of veteran resistance, veterans he met at Occupy, the absence of a good justification for the wars, the dehumanization needed before people can be killed, the shallowness of media coverage — watch all of that and then try to imagine James Foley cheering like a weapons-maker or a Congress member for President Obama’s announcement of more war. Try to imagine Foley accepting the use of his killing as propaganda for more fighting.

You can’t do it. He’s not an ad for war any more than the WMDs were a justification for war. His absence as a war justification has been exposed even faster than the absence of the WMDs was.

While ISIS may have purchased Sotloff, if not Foley, from another group, when Foley’s mother sought to ransom him, the US government repeatedly threatened her with prosecution.

So, instead of Foley’s mother paying a relatively small amount and possibly saving her son, ISIS goes on getting its funding from oil sales and supporters in the Gulf and free weapons from, among elsewhere, the United States and its allies. And we’re going to collectively spend millions, probably billions, and likely trillions of dollars furthering the cycle of violence that Foley risked his life to expose.

The Coalition of the Willing is already crumbling. What if people in the United States were to watch the video of Foley when he was alive and speaking and laughing, not the one when he was a prop in a piece of propaganda almost certainly aimed at provoking the violence that Obama has just obligingly announced?

Foley said he believed his responsibility was to the truth. It didn’t set him free. Is it perhaps not too late for the rest of us?

James Foley on the Dehumanization of War:
Acclaimed Filmmaker Haskell Wexler Shares 2012 Interview

Democracy Now!

This is a clip Wexler shared with Democracy Now! from his 2012 interview with James Foley.

HASKELL WEXLER: What countries recently have you been filming, taping?

JAMES FOLEY: Libya, Syria. I was in Afghanistan with U.S. troops in 2010. And I’m really interested in the young guys, the ones that are just coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, those guys’ perspectives, you know, because that — that has a huge impact, you know. And if they’re giving their medals back, that’s — that harkens back, right, to the Winter Soldiers, right, essentially in Vietnam and Kerry and what those guys did, right?

So, I’m really interested in that young mentality. I’ve seen young vets that are in Occupy in D.C. and New York, and kind of gravitated towards them a little bit, because I think, I mean, they are the most authentic — they have the most authentic voice to criticize, you know, NATO right now. They were inside the beast. So…


JAMES FOLEY: Of course, I was, too, but I was just a journalist. You know, I was a journalist.

HASKELL WEXLER: So, to a certain extent, you have to be embedded, and in order to get your credentials and when you travel, passports, [inaudible].

JAMES FOLEY: Yeah, you’re totally — when you’re embedded in this era, you’re totally dependent on the U.S. military, for logistics, food, security, of course, everything. And, you know, you develop a certain bond with these guys, that you have to wake up and remind yourself every day, “I’m a journalist.”


JAMES FOLEY: “I’m not one of the soldiers,” you know, just to maintain your sense of objectivity, I’d say.


JAMES FOLEY: And it becomes very difficult, because you’re out there in the sticks or whatever or mountains with them. And, you know, some of those guys would — you know, they would sacrifice for you, and your question is, well, what do you owe them? And ultimately, you owe them the truth, what you see. So, it’s tough. It’s tough, yeah. But it’s a good opportunity to be away from the embed, too, because you’re only seeing like the Afghans, for example, through that lens.

You really can’t get any real knowledge of what the Afghan people really think, when you’re walking around with 15 guys and getting out of an armored vehicle and using an Army interpreter, you know? You’re not really getting an idea of what’s going to happen in the future of Afghanistan, you know, when we leave.

HASKELL WEXLER: The one thing that you mentioned, the feeling of brotherhood, in terms of valor, in terms of [inaudible] and so forth, is so bad, because that particular feeling, we all have and could be used for good things, you know?

JAMES FOLEY: Right, right.

HASKELL WEXLER: We should look out for one another and feel for one another.


HASKELL WEXLER: I mean, that’s — and the Army needs that, but so do human beings.

JAMES FOLEY: That is sad, because it’s some of the strongest bonds amongst young men, giving your life for your brother.


JAMES FOLEY: But to what end are we —


JAMES FOLEY: You know, to what end is the greater purpose? And that’s — I guess that’s the root question of NATO, right?


JAMES FOLEY: What end are fighting these wars against?


AMY GOODMAN: That’s journalist James Foley, who was beheaded last month by the Islamic State, speaking in 2012 with the legendary cinematographer, journalist, filmmaker, Haskell Wexler, in Chicago at the anti-NATO protests.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Message from Northern Iraq
Jon Stolz / VoteVets.org

(September 15, 2014) — Over the weekend, I received a message from one of my interpreters, a Yazidi from Northern Iraq, that I had to share. The English is obviously quite broken, but I hope you’ll read it and sign our petition to Congress urging them to OPPOSE sending arms to the Syrian rebels

“cant belive that american are sending weapon to guys are using it to kill my familly who are still trying to defence tgeresef on sinjare mount after i serve the american troops as terp [interpreter] for more than seven years starting 2003 […] if you really care about me and my familly and my peole stop it dont let it happened i serve truley with your guys dont send weapon to kill my daughter wich carry your name”

“my familly were so happy last few days cause i told them that my friends are coming to save us from isis […] then cant tell them they are giving weaon to them do my familly deserve to be killed by your weapon after all my services to american troops for more than seven years please dont do that my familly are still stuck in sinjar mount hungry and thirst old people are waiting for aid not for more weapon to the terrores no different syrian rebels are same isis”

For his safety, I removed information about where he served and who he served with. But his message is clear: after years of service to our country, he is terrified that the weapons we’re considering sending into Syria will be used against him, and his family, in Iraq.

VoteVets cannot support sending arms to Syrian rebels that many reports continue to suggest are still fighting alongside some of the same groups we fought against in Iraq, and are even reportedly entering into truces with ISIS.

It’s time to stand up to John McCain’s plan for Syria:

Sign our petition calling on Congress to oppose arming the Syrian rebels.

The House is set to vote as early as tomorrow. That’s why your letter is important.