Next City: In a war, anything can be a weapon. In a particularly ruthless war, such as the conflict that has been raging in Syria for more than three years, those weapons are often turned against civilians, making any semblance of normal life impossible. Such is the case, experts say, with the way the nation’s water supply is being manipulated to inflict suffering on the population. According to an article posted by Chatham House, a London-based independent policy institute, water [read more]
Journalist James Foley (he corresponded with me as Jim) has been beheaded by ISIS. I choose not to remember him from the recent photographs, but as the wonderful young man he was. As a note to ISIS, I don’t believe a word he had to say while under duress. I knew him better than you did. You wasted your time with his confessions, or charges, or whatever you forced him to say.
We first corresponded during my blogging on the war in Afghanistan. I initiated the conversations with him, but he was very warm in his effusive praise and kindness towards me. He worked primarily for the Global Post, but did a good bit of embedded independent work. He was in Kandahar at the time, and politely recommended that I link his blog, A World Of Troubles, which redirects now to Free James Foley.
Jim was kidnapped in Libya early in 2011. I had also made significant use of his fantastic work in The Five Hundred Meter War. The U.S. Army later contacted me wanting the rights to use this video in training and analysis, and I directed them to Jim who (I hope) made some money from the work. He told me that he would gladly sell the rights for a small fee.
I have since reconsidered my position on long distance warfare, and concluded that it isn’t necessarily that the 5.56 mm round is all that ineffective at long distances, but that based on subsequent conversations with various officers, no one (Army or Marine Corps) teaches their men to shoot uphill. All of their ranges are flat. Then again, the 5.56 mm round does tend to yaw in flight, which causes problems at long distances. But Travis Haley has shown us that the 5.56 mm can be effective to beyond 500 yards, and my son qualified at 500 yards as a Marine.
But I digress. Suffice it to say that Jim was an important voice in bringing this feature of the war to our attention. Jim called me “an important voice in the war” in one e-mail exchange, but Jim’s voice was far more important. His reporting was at the same time fact-filled and accurate, and personal and engaging. Jim was the consummate professional, but a genuinely nice person.
I have long since left analysis of the war(s), given that we failed to negotiate a reasonable SOFA in Iraq and proved that we wanted to continue the social sciences game in Afghanistan rather than prosecute a war. I recommended that we leave without another drop of American blood spilled, and never looked back.
Sort of. I have often thought of Jim and what might be happening to him. There aren’t many folks from those days I know only electronically to whom I feel such a kinship. Tim Lynch and Michael Yon are a couple, but the list is short. People like that are the sort where if you met up with them somewhere it would be like meeting a long lost brother, and the conversation would flow without any effort at all.
It was hard to be accepted in military blogging with such parochial and hierarchical (even if unofficial) structure, and with the desire for control by a few. Jim’s acceptance and warmness was welcome, as it is with the folks whom I engage in my current interests of gun and gun rights (like David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh).
I will miss Jim. I give my warmest, most sincere and most heartfelt condolences to his family. Your family gave us a good and wonderful man. We are worse for this loss.
My brief note to ISIS is this. You screwed up. I’ve previously been told how good you are, how savvy, how connected to social networks you’ve been and how you’re coming for us.
I can’t speak for the folks up North since the collectivists may have disarmed my fellow countrymen by now, but I dare ISIS to come South and bring your brand of sharia to North Carolina or South Carolina. I dare you.
You don’t scare me in the least and you didn’t impress me by harming my friend Jim. Come to the land where the American insurgents beat up the best that Lord Cornwallis had to offer. Come try to plant your damn ISIS flag in my front yard, or try to force my wife or daughter to wear a burqa. The result will be swift and brutal, involving magazines full of 5.56 mm rounds and 230 grain fat boys. I have guns too, and mine still have their buttstocks unlike your dumb ass rifles that can’t be aimed. Mine can shoot 1 MOA, and I can do about the same. I see your stupid videos where you waste ammunition by shooting at the air. I’ve laughed at them.
I had previously lamented the plight of the poor Christians in Syria and Iraq, pleading with them and Christians around the world to arm themselves before it is too late. I have ridiculed the Christian church worldwide for its sloth, arrogance and self centeredness in refusing to help fellow Christians or even pray for them.
But this isn’t just a world away. It’s personal, for I knew Jim. You killed a friend, and I owe you. I pray that you end in hell, and that very soon, screaming out in agony from thirst while you suffer in the lake of fire for eternity. My only regret is that in all likelihood I won’t be the one to send you there. I don’t think you’ll ever get to my doorstep. You’ll die before you make it here because my armed fellow countrymen won’t tolerate you.