Obama and Kerry Address Beheading of James Foley

President Obama today addressed the beheading of reporter James Wright Foley.

“The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”

Here is John Kerry's statement.

And make no mistake: we will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil. ISIL and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.

The Defense Department says it conducted 14 strikes today.


Since Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 84 airstrikes across Iraq, the release said, and of those 84 strikes, 51 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam.

Also today, the U.S. is considering sending 300 ground troops to Iraq. The U.S. and U.K. are trying to identify Foley's English-speaking executioner.

They have confirmed through his accent he is from Britain, probably London, and think he is one of three guards of foreign prisoners in Syria. He may have been a negotiator in the release of other prisoners.

The militant who appeared on the Foley video, who called himself John and is believed to be from London, was said to be the main rebel negotiator during talks earlier this year to release 11 Islamic State hostages – who were eventually handed to Turkish officials after ransom demands were met.

Here's more on the prisoners released in 2013.

From the video, he's left-handed. How many left-handed British executioners in Syria can there be? I think he looks a lot like one of the two guys on the left in this non-violent video with ISIS commander Abu Omar Shishani taken at a prison in Syria. They even shuffle their feet like the guy in the execution video.

Shishani addresses mujahideen in prison, saying that they should know the mujahideen are in Syria and are in “Vilayat Hasaka.”

Here's a similar one.

Many more are here (some have violence.) Then again, there are so many photos and videos of ISIS in Syria, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.

On a related note, Brian Fishman's "Don't BS the American People on ISIS, Iraq and Syria" is getting a lot of praise on Twitter today. Brooking's Charles Lister says, "Excellent by @brianfishman, took the words out my mouth: "Don’t BS the American People About #Iraq, #Syria & ISIL". Aaron Yellin also recommends it.

Also ISIS related, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has released a report finding that ISIS gained 6,300 foreign fighters in Raqqa and Aleppo since July -- one month. Most, around 5,000 are from Syria. Around 800 defected from opposition militias such as Jabhat a-Nusra. The rest are from all over the world. They are using the Turkish border to reach ISIS. The attraction is partly financial: Many are poor and ISIS is paying a stipend of $400 a month per fighter and another $100 for wives and $50 for each child.

< Wednesday Open Thread | U.S. Made Rescue Attempt of ISIS Prisoners in Syria >
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  • Display: Sort:
    400 a month (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:42:23 PM EST
    With a family bonus must be a lot of money on that part of the world.

    Equivalent to Blackwater? (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:44:17 PM EST

    No idea (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 06:02:33 PM EST
    Wiki says a skilled worker in Iraq gets about 10 bucks a day unskilled less that 4.50.

    So I guess that would be considerably more than a skilled worker.


    Yes (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 06:07:31 PM EST
    Mercs all the same, IMO

    Except Blackwater's Erik Prince was/is a Christian Crusader.


    Well, except that when Blackwater peaked (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:13:33 PM EST
    The military was begging for people to re up.  All sorts of waivers, and the cutoff age became 45.  So Blackwater mercs could have made regular wages in the real military.  Doubt that the fighters joining for the ISIL stipend make any money where they currently are.

    Wonder what information they would share with our intel for a price?


    Paying for fighters? (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:22:21 PM EST
    Do they realize they are ripe for infiltration?

    ISIS videos.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 05:07:57 PM EST
    now that the US is engaged just seem to run the risk of tipping off the CIA about identities, whereabouts and other clues. Whatever benefit ISIS used to have by posting terror videos now seems to be outweighed by the potential information they provide.

    If there's any hope for the family of the second journalist in that video, it's that CIA capabilities aren't just the myth of Hollywood, that the CIA can determine identifications, locations and other helpful information from yesterday's video and that something can be done.

    The propaganda video backfired (none / 0) (#6)
    by Politalkix on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:19:04 PM EST
    Even Germany is willing to arm Kurdish forces now.

    Wonder if they have the saying (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:35:29 PM EST
    "Be careful what you wish for"

    Backfired? (none / 0) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:37:50 PM EST
    That would depend on what the goal of the video was.

    Good question (none / 0) (#9)
    by Politalkix on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:57:41 PM EST
    It seems that they post gruesome videos to recruit sadists and psychopaths and instill fear among their adversaries. It is also likely that they killed the journalist in such a horrific way to bait the United States into heading back to war.

    However, they are turning the whole world against them very quickly. That cannot be good for them!


    All good points, (none / 0) (#11)
    by NYShooter on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:17:13 PM EST
    but, you have to wonder why would a group that came upon the scene so quickly, and, so successfully do something now that seems (apparently) so stupid?

    I would call it PTSD (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:19:23 AM EST
    It isn't just US soldiers who develop it.  People exposed to all sorts of extreme violence can develop a really bad case of it.  From what I have seen, particularly from soldiers who deny they have it, is a sort of daily brutality visited on others. They have lost the ability to emotionally relate to and understand human beings in civilized emotional states and situations.

    They have a new normal, they have no idea how what they are doing is affecting individuals who are not war torn and traumatized.


    I'm still wondering.... (none / 0) (#13)
    by unitron on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:51:22 AM EST
    ...about how they seemed to appear out of nowhere and "zoom to the top of the charts" so quickly in the first place.

    It seems so scripted.


    Agreed (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:55:42 AM EST
    And, yes, ISIS may have mis-calculated. Baiting over-reach.

    Thank god Obama is so clear headed (none / 0) (#16)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    No idea if you are a Christian (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:15:12 PM EST
    But if you are does Fred Phelps speak for you?

    Not at all (1.00 / 0) (#22)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:11:18 PM EST

    but to imply that ISIL is not religiously motivated indicates the man is out of touch with reality.

    That they are killing Muslims of the wrong type changes that nary a taste.


    For fvcks sake (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:49:16 PM EST
    The fact that they are religiously motivated does not mean they "speak for a religion"

    i.e., Fred Phelps


    Seriously? (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:46:10 PM EST
    but to imply that ISIL is not religiously motivated indicates the man is out of touch with reality.

    He was neither stating nor implying any such thing.  He was clearly stating that ISIL does not speak for Muslims - just a Fred Phelps does not speak for Christians.

    The way you guys strain to attack sometimes is pretty funny.


    And GWB also said the same thing (none / 0) (#23)
    by Politalkix on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:29:55 PM EST

    "Bush said, his back to the brilliantly tiled prayer alcove facing Mecca.

    He quoted from the Koran and fervently defended the Islam faith: "Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace, they represent evil and war."

    GWB also said that the terrorists did not speak for Islam.


    And (none / 0) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:16:41 PM EST
    You conveniently  omitted what he said about most of their victims being Muslim

    You (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 03:46:43 PM EST
    are interfering in their desire to have a holy war. It's all about Christianity vs. Islam for these guys. I'm kind of suprised they aren't cheering ISIS killing off Muslims.

    Muslims killing Muslims (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:01:21 PM EST
    Is sort of like Obama killing Osama.

    Quandary of quandaries


    The inmates (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:08:41 PM EST
    are running the asylum over at GOP central it would appear.