Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wherein I (Mostly) Praise President Obama

I have never hesitated to say nasty things about Barack Obama.

However, he seems to be being criticized by some for having known in advance that James Foley might be executed, and doing nothing about it, which seems to me to be exactly the right thing to do.
President Barack Obama denounced the Islamist terror group ISIS on Wednesday after it released a gruesome video showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. 
But news emerged just hours later that the White House knew Foley's captors threatened to kill him if American fighter jets and drones continued airstrikes against them in Iraq. 
Foley's family received an emailed threat a week ago warning 'that they would execute Jim,' and made the White House aware of it right away, according to Philip Balboni, who founded the Global Post – a Boston news outlet that published Foley's photographs. 
[ … ] 
A senior administration official confirmed to ABC News Wednesday afternoon that the White House knew of the threat in advance of the video's release. 
Balboni said the threat was made directly to Foley's family, and that the White House was made aware of it. WCVB-TV reported that the administration did not engage in any negotiations for his release.
So … what was he supposed to do? Stop the air attacks? Pay a ransom?

Any such response would merely encourage further kidnappings and further threats, and thus multiply a tragedy.

One wonders, though, if ISIS was reacting to Obama's willingness to negotiate for Sgt. Bergdahl's release. If so, this could be an encouraging sign that Obama is capable of learning from his mistakes, something I've doubted.

(Okay, I admit it, I can't get through an entire post about Obama without including at least one bit of criticism).

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