Vengeance and the Beheading of Another American Journalist

Before I write anything else, and for what it’s worth, I’d like to express my condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of journalist James Foley who was brutally murdered by ISIS terrorists today. It’s easy for us at The Daily Banter to sit in our comfortable offices, typing-up our cute little screeds all day, but James had the courage to cover the Iraq story on the ground, risking his life in the pursuit journalism. If only we all possessed his integrity, his bravery and his dedication to the truth.

But here we are, once again, engaged militarily in the Middle East and, once again, another American journalist has been captured and his head sawed off on video by Muslim extremists. Honestly, I’ve never seen the Daniel Pearl video, I haven’t seen the photos of the little Iraqi girl who was recently beheaded, and I refuse to watch the new James Foley execution video — but we don’t really need to see either one to process the savagery, especially those of us with sharp-enough imaginations to merely envision the horrifying scene.

Without seeing a single frame, I have to admit: I want swift revenge against the ISIS murderers who did these things. I want our weapons of war, be they missiles or predator drones or military aircraft, to immediately pulverize these monsters into vapor for what they’ve done. I have to agree with my friend and colleague, Chez Pazienza, who tweeted earlier, “Kill every last one of them.”

Clouded by anger and repulsed by ISIS’s ongoing atrocities, it’s impossible for us to clearly evaluate the ramifications of such vengeance or whether this is precisely what they want us to do. Fortunately, and thank goodness, we’re not in a position of leadership and therefore aren’t tasked with deciding how to respond. Fortunately, we’ve chosen leaders partly based upon their capacity to dispassionately weigh all of the factors involved with retaliating or not.

Despite the views of some, America isn’t a nation of vigilante justice and we can’t, as individuals, engage the launch codes and take out our personal anger and grief at everyone who wrongs us. We’ve chosen proxies from both parties for this who will, in the best case, take into consideration the rule of law and the long term consequences of every move we make on the international stage. We simply do not possess the information nor the experience to facilitate such decisions, which is exactly why we’ve appointed experts who, in turn, appointed other experts, and so on, each trained in these matters, and each — we hope! — with an eye on our best interests.

If you’re not feeling as belligerent as I am right now, I envy you. I truly do. May cooler heads prevail and all that. But if the culprits of this murder should somehow be killed today or tomorrow or next year, I definitely won’t lose any sleep over it.

Bob Cesca is the host of the Bob Cesca Show podcast, a twice weekly political talk show. He’s also a contributor to Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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