John Kerry: ISIS ‘Must Be Destroyed’

The secretary of State, who met James Foley’s family when the journalist was abducted, has strong words about the U.S. mission against the militant group.

National Journal
Marina Koren
Aug. 20, 2014, 10:19 a.m.

Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry vehe­mently con­demned the Is­lam­ist mil­it­ant group re­spons­ible for Amer­ic­an journ­al­ist James Fo­ley’s death.

“The world must know that the United States of Amer­ica will nev­er back down in the face of such evil,” he said in a lengthy state­ment, re­leased Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon after Pres­id­ent Obama de­livered re­marks about Fo­ley. “ISIL and the wicked­ness it rep­res­ents must be des­troyed, and those re­spons­ible for this hein­ous, vi­cious at­ro­city will be held ac­count­able.”

Here’s the state­ment in full:

James Fo­ley went to the darkest of places to shine the light of truth. Noth­ing could stop him from shar­ing with the world the real­ity of what was hap­pen­ing on the front lines in Ir­aq and Afgh­anistan, or the struggle against a bru­tal dic­tat­or in Libya, and he was just as de­term­ined to do the same from Syr­ia. He was brave and bold, and no masked cow­ard can ever steal the leg­acy of this cour­ageous Amer­ic­an who lived out the mean­ing of the word journ­al­ism.

I was a sen­at­or when James was first held in Libya, and we were first in­tro­duced to the Fo­ley fam­ily. His fam­ily was as de­term­ined in work­ing to­wards his re­lease as James had been dar­ing in cov­er­ing those war zones him­self. The sheer un­fair­ness and un­likely odds that this young journ­al­ist would again find him­self in cap­tiv­ity in an­oth­er con­flict was al­most un­ima­gin­able. It is im­possible to ex­press how much we all wanted this latest hor­ror to end with his fam­ily re­united, as it had been the first time.

Teresa and I, along with mem­bers of my fam­ily who got to know James’ moth­er Di­ane and his broth­er, are heart­broken for all of the Fo­leys. There are no words of con­dol­ence that can ad­equately con­vey our sor­row, our sym­pathy, or our an­ger for what has happened.

There is evil in this world, and we all have come face to face with it once again. Ugly, sav­age, in­ex­plic­able, ni­hil­ist­ic, and value­less evil. ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly in­sult to the peace­ful re­li­gion they vi­ol­ate every day with their bar­bar­ity.

We grieve for James Fo­ley. We mourn for his fam­ily and his loved ones. We hon­or the cour­age and pray for the safety of all those who risk their lives to dis­cov­er the truth where it is needed most. And make no mis­take: We will con­tin­ue to con­front ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despic­able hatred. The world must know that the United States of Amer­ica will nev­er back down in the face of such evil. ISIL and the wicked­ness it rep­res­ents must be des­troyed, and those re­spons­ible for this hein­ous, vi­cious at­ro­city will be held ac­count­able.

This state­ment comes amid re­ports from the AP that the United States is con­sid­er­ing send­ing new forces to Ir­aq.

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