What did James Foley die for? It’s a very different question from asking why he died. The ‘what for’ delves into the orientation and motivations of Foley; whereas the ‘why’ is much more formulaic.
He was captured in Syria, a country ravaged by civil war. He was beheaded by IS, a Jihadist militant group with which the US will not negotiate. Although Foley had not fought IS nor posed them a threat, he was presumably executed in order to send a message to the West. Both a message of intent and more importantly, fear.
These ‘why’ explanations are of similar deductive logic to Cluedo’s “I suggest it was Professor Plum, in the Billiard Room, with the Candlestick.” They are looking for answers to his death through reason but as James himself reflected, what if none are to be found? For journalists such as Foley, the warzone is not a…
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