No justice, no peace: in the Middle East

James Foley's calling was documenting the ravages of war as a photojournalist. His tragic death this week is a call to recognize that ISIS is a strategic threat to the American people. President Obama has been slow to the uptake.

Steven Senne/AP/File
This May 27, 2011, file photo shows American Journalist James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., as he poses for a photo in Boston. The beheading of Foley has forced a new debate over how the United States balances its unyielding policy against paying ransom to terrorist groups and saving the lives of Americans being held hostage by some of the world’s most dangerous extremists.

I didn’t know James Foley, but I know well the university that shaped him.

He studied history and played rugby and thought about being a teacher in the inner city when he attended Marquette University.

Marquette inspires its students to make a difference in the world in whatever capacity they serve.

Foley’s calling was photojournalism, more specifically, documenting the ravages of war.

He braved terrible conditions, dangerous situations, and constant threats to his life and limb to bring home the news to a world-wide audience.

He was captured in Libya during the downfall of the Kaddafi regime. He was released after being held for 44 days by the strongman’s loyalists.  During that captivity, the Marquette community organized prayer vigils on his behalf.

He said in the Marquette Magazine:

Marquette University has always been a friend to me. The kind who challenges you to do more and be better and ultimately shapes who you become.

But Marquette was perhaps never a bigger friend to me than when I was imprisoned as a journalist.

Foley’s journey came to terrible end this week.

Two years ago, Islamic terrorists in Syria captured him again.

Unlike the Kaddafi thugs, these jihadists have a different aim. To establish an Islamic Caliphate, reshape the Middle East, and cleanse the region of Christians and Jews and Muslims who don’t agree with their radical brand of the religion.

ISIS is a strategic threat to the American people, although President Obama has been a bit slow to the update.

By beheading James Foley, a kind and gentle soul, they are making a bigger point.

It’s either us or them.

I know there is great reluctance to reengage in Iraq from most Americans.

But we can’t let these jihadists succeed.  We can’t allow this brand of extremism to flourish.  We can’t let them get away with beheading James Foley.

This terrible act should not be ignored. Justice must be served.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at

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