A New York Times report concerning Barack Obama’s military policy towards Islamic State paraphrases the President as acknowledging the fact that the recent spate of ISIS beheading videos has helped the White House galvanize public opinion behind Washington’s policy in the middle east.
The article, Paths to War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama, explains how the President, “noted that gruesome videos released by ISIS had helped galvanize public support for action.”
Obama’s comments are attributed to “10 people who spoke with him in the days leading up to his speech Wednesday night” who quoted “his private remarks” to the NY Times’ Peter Baker.
According to the piece, Obama remarked that it would have made more sense for ISIS to release three beheaded hostages, adding that, “ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.”
The comments beg the question – if the alleged ISIS beheading videos only serve to bolster Washington’s agenda in the region, why is the terrorist group repeatedly releasing propaganda that actually harms their crusade to establish an Islamic caliphate?
Prominent British experts who analyzed the James Foley beheading video noted that it was probably “staged” by means of “camera trickery and slick post-production techniques,” adding that Foley may have actually been killed off camera.
As we have pointed out, ISIS’ brutal reputation for slaughtering thousands of innocents is seemingly inconsistent with the fact that the three beheading videos do not show any actual beheading, a strange characteristic given that the group is by no means squeamish about publicizing its barbarity.
In the most recent video which features British hostage David Haines, the alleged ISIS executioner even bemoans the fact that Washington is arming Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. Again this only seems to legitimize Obama’s newly announced plan to send weapons to so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels despite clear evidence that FSA militants are defecting to and providing arms to ISIS.
Despite obvious sensitivities surrounding the beheading videos and the suffering of the victim’s family members, it would be naive not to ask questions about such propaganda given the fact that the videos clearly only serve to benefit Washington’s previously unpopular efforts to grease the skids for military intervention in Syria.
The attempt to exploit last year’s chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, which at the time was blamed on the Syrian government but later appeared to have been the work of Syrian rebels, reminds us that no matter how convincing and potent it seems in the moment, war propaganda all too often contrived to deceive populations into rallying behind conflicts that they otherwise would have vehemently opposed.