Obama’s response remains troubling
There was a contrast of style in the presidency that was on clear display during the past several days.
President Obama, when suspected traitor Bowe Bergdhal was released after the U.S. traded suspected terrorist prisoners for him, made a splash. There was an appearance with Bergdahl’s parents, a statement of unwavering support for the man who some say simply walked off his post in Afghanistan and wound up in the hands of the Taliban.
Obama, when a video surfaced of the beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley, remained on vacation. There were pronouncements and statements but nothing approaching the public relations fervor shown for Bergdahl. There never was an offer of ransom for him, nor does Foley’s family show much support for ransom paid to terrorists.
We get that Bergdahl was at least representing his nation in its armed services, while Foley was a journalist.
There is an image of service to country that is afforded Bergdahl, even amid the traitorous accusations, while there is always the image of the foreign correspondent as some kind of swashbuckler who puts himself in danger.
To use that stereotype is to trivialize and denigrate the work that Foley and countless others have provided through the ages of reporting on happenings on war fronts around the globe, keeping the people back home informed and sometimes playing a watchdog role.
Obama, who, like all politicians from townships up to the presidency, uses the media to advance his own purpose. He seemed to have taken Foley’s death as an excuse for more sabre rattling talk that the nation so far has shown not to have the stomach to back up with boots on the ground again in Iraq.
No one accused Foley of turning his back, even for a moment, on his nation. Though he wasn’t in the armed forces, he was in the service of his people overseas in a war zone.
He deserved better than having his violent death used for political advance.