James Foley’s critics are the real cowards

James Foley. Image via marquette.edu
James Foley. Image via marquette.edu

And when I talk about his critics, I don’t just mean Charles C. Johnson (although, seriously, screw that guy).

Since news of Foley’s beheading by ISIS first broke, I’ve seen enough depressing Facebook “debate” that basically argues that gee, isn’t it sad that this journalist was slaughtered – but couldn’t he have been a little bit more “Braveheart” about the whole thing?

Where was the resounding cry of “FREEEDUUUUUM”? And how DARE he read an anti-American text before he was slashed to death?

OK, so, here’s the deal, you miserable idiots:

Heroism is going into a war zone to cover the kind of stuff that would make *most* people piss their pants before scampering off to cover the designer cupcake beat for Better Homes and Gardens for the rest of their lives.

Heroism is NOT telling everyone about how YOU personally would morph into Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and deliver a gorgeously backlit “Men of the West” speech while facing certain doom at the hands of an extremist maniac.

Death in conflict zones is often messy, horrific, banal and humiliating.

Death in conflict zones is NOT like the movies you watch on Netflix in the relative comfort of your safe home while jacking off to visions of yourself as a fearless commando and handsome battlemage.

Also, there are other captives there besides Foley. Who knows what would have happened to them had Foley tried to spoil ISIS’ gruesome PR stunt.

Also, you people know nothing. You don’t know what it’s like to deal with constant violence. You sure as hell don’t know what it’s like to be a hostage. Only the people who have gone through that know. Patronizing such people with your own bullshit version of what it means to be a “hero” exposes both your ignorance and childish desire to appear tougher than you are. And in the case of Foley, you’re playing a game of big dick willy with a dead person. Congratulations!

Isn’t it bad enough that Foley’s family has lost their son? Isn’t it bad enough that Foley is now being used both in nihilist jihadist PR, as well as death porn-style “journalism” popularized by the NY Post? Isn’t it bad enough that someone who was this brave, and this talented – and I really must stress the BRAVE part for all of you who have never known war and lawlessness and horror – is lost?

I’m not even going to get into the assertion that Foley basically deserved his fate because he wasn’t into guns and Mitt Romney. Whoever wrote that can go to hell.

Please read Max Fisher’s tribute to James Foley instead.

10 thoughts on “James Foley’s critics are the real cowards

  1. Well said. All the arm chair quarterbacks drive me crazy too! They think they know everything because they watch the news from 5-6. Disgusting!

    I just came from the funeral of a man who shot his wife and then killed himself. I taught their only child. Kathleen is only 14 years old. Picture all those good Christians in attendance who didn’t think he should be given a Christian burial. “After all he was a murderer and he committed suicide.” Yeah, good Christians! If they ever understood what Christianity was all about, they wouldn’t want to be one. They don’t understand forgiveness! I thought that I might slap someone before I left.

    I hope you and yours are surviving. I love you.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. The reaction to Foley’s death is indicative of how the culture of the hypermasculine obscures reality. It’s sad, tragic, and despicable.

    But I also think it’s very telling that you chose to write about Foley in this way and hero-worship him. I don’t recall you ever writing anything about the thousands of ordinary Syrians who are dying every day. But because he was a fellow journalist, a white Western male, and conventionally attractive (sorry to point this out – but tell me how this is not a factor), he was deemed worthy of one of your famous rants. I’m not saying this to minimize his death and suffering, and that of his family, but I do wish you would self-examine.

  3. It makes PERFECT sense for a journalist who KNOWS how tough the job can be to defend a fellow journalist’s memory from a braying mob of dumbasses.

    But you wouldn’t know that, Beth Ranch, bc you’re a pathetic piece of shit.

    “Conventionally attractive”? Really? Next you’ll be telling us that defending Trayvon Martin was wrong because the kid was easy on the eyes. I don’t know if you’re a feminist, a troll pretending to be a feminist, or whatever, but I’m glad you’re gone, baby!

  4. Beth – the people of Syria and their tragedy are not your props.

    Also, as someone to whom Syria is more then just a place in the news, I’d prefer it if people didn’t just write about it due to feelings of obligation, but because they knew what they were talking about and had something vital to add. The signal to noise ratio of the media about Syria is painful.

    Returning to the post in hand. How unspeakably awful for people to posture in this way. He had been missing for two years. I do not even want imagine what he went through.

  5. Good defence of Foley, but it makes me wonder why YOU’RE not reporting on the war in east Ukraine. Could it be that you just don’t care?

  6. Hi troll! Glad you asked (and glad you’re not pretending to be anything other than a troll):

    As a child, I experienced several incidents of violence that profoundly affected me. I decided early on in my career that I would avoid reporting out of conflict zones if I could help it, because I worried that past experiences could make me too vulnerable and/or cloud my judgment.

    It’s not a rule I will necessarily stick to for the rest of my life, but it’s one I’m sticking to now.

    Hope that answers you question. And hope it’s not too damp under that bridge!

  7. I legitimately feel bad now. I wish you would make this more public so that more people would understand.

  8. My son was a war correspondent who lived in Sarajevo, then Pristina, and covered the Afghan war reporting from Mazur-e-Sharif, Kabul and so on before moving on to work in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. He was not brave, nor a fool, and some of his reporting, like that on Srebreneca made, he believed, a difference. He “retired” when he married. His friends and he liked the “rush” sure, but believed in their responsibility to a larger world, to witness, to testify. The idiotic, and cowardly comments here about James Foley, and this blogger, reflect a narcissism that poisons reasoned discourse.

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