The Islamic State has released a second propaganda video using John Cantlie, a British hostage, as the "host." The first video of this kind was released just five days ago, with the promise that it would become a recurring show.
The new video addresses how the Islamic State is perceived by the Western world and most specifically, American media and politicians. It pulls from speeches of from former CIA officer Michael Scheuer (a critic of the Iraq-War), former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean (who ran the 9/11 Commission), and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Clearly a script Cantlie is forced to read, this video is ISIS's most recent attempt at recruiting new troops to their movement. Though Cantlie reads in English, there are Arabic subtitles. Experts believe the execution videos of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines were intended to be shown in ISIS-occupied regions for recruitment purposes. They have also released a movie trailer style video, "Flames of War," attempting to glorify combat against the U.S.
The Wire has transcribed the text of the video in full below, please note that while the nature of the content is not graphic, it may be upsetting to some readers:
Hello there, I am John Cantlie, the British citizen abandoned by my country and a long term prisoner of the Islamic State.
In this program, we will see how the Western governments are hastily marching towards all out war in Iraq and Syria without paying any heed to the lessons of the recent past and how they are using the persuasive approach to lure the public back into the conflict.
So, let's get straight to the point with a quote from former CIA Chief turned vigorous anti-intervention campaigner, Michael Scheuer. 'President Obama does not have the slightly intention of defeating the Islamic State,' he says, 'which would require the aerial slaughter and boots on the ground demolishing of the mujahideen.'
Michael Scheuer, whose knowledge of the Muslim nations and the complexity of their societies is considerable, adds, '18 years into our war with the Islamists, the US government has given no public sign that they have the slightly awareness of what their enemies are fighting for.'
Now, there are two solid points here. The Obama administration is so perplexed as they march back into Iraq but they are tap dancing around the issue in a, 'We are getting involved but we are not really getting involved' kind of way. You know, air strikes only, no troops on the ground, limited operation time, no mission creep, all of those pre-combat agreements that tend to get forgotten after the first six months of nasty tough stuff.
The pre 9/11 Afghans are already back in control of large areas of Afghanistan while the full might of the American war machine could not destroy the Islamic State in Iraq before. So now the State is far stronger than ever it was, what is this latest ill advised foray really supposed to achieve?
And Scheuer's second point is aptly made. As ever, the entire reason as to why we are at war with the Islamists and what they are fighting for is brilliantly avoided by all. Senior US politicians seem content to call the Islamic State nasty names, awful, vile, a cancer, an insult to our values, but such petty insults don't really do much harm to the most powerful jihadist movement seen in recent history.
That the Western governments were caught napping by the sheer speed of the Islamic State's growth is now a given. 'Intelligence officials failed to anticipate the emergence of the Islamic State,' says Tom Kean, a former New Jersey governor. 'We certainly did not anticipate them going across the border into Iraq and declaring themselves a caliphate.' Obama and his allies were well and truly caught by surprise.
The President once called President Bush’s Iraq conflict a dumb war and couldn't wait to distance America from it when he came into power. Now he is being inexorably drawn back in, but as he pains to point out, this is not the equivalent of the Iraq War. Indeed, it is far more complicated and prone to failure. There is a newly elected pro-American Iranian regime in Iraq. They wait eagerly for further American intervention to strengthen the Iranian crescent in the Middle East. But the appointment of a new puppet is an important piece of the puzzle in America’s Gulf War three as it allows them to get involved quickly via a proxy. 'Iraq’s leaders should know that the United States will stand shoulder to shoulder with Iraqis as the implement their national plan,' gushed John Kerry on the 9th of September, 'meaning our national plan to tackle the Islamic State.'
Everyone now is getting involved. Denmark and France have sent air power. Britain is arming the Kurds. Iran is sending troops. Contractors are being sought in Iraq. And even Bashar al-Assad, until earlier this year the most hated and villainized tyrant in the Arab world, is being approached for permission to enter Syria. 'Can the Islamic State be defeated without addressing that part of their organization that resides in Syria?' asked General Martin Dempsey. The answer is no.
It is all quite a circus. Airstrikes, the creation of last minute puppet governments, advisory teams on the ground, wooing previous enemies to join in, and trans border incursions into a country that has been in a state of civil war for three years, all the while completely underestimating the strength and fighting zeal of the opponent. Not since Vietnam have we witnessed such a potential mess in the making.
Current estimates of 15,000 troops needed to fight the Islamic State are laughably low. The State has more mujahideen than this. And this is not some undisciplined outfit with a few kalashnikovs.
We started with Michael Scheuer, so let’s give him the final word, for now. 'Think what you will of the Islamists and their brand of war making, but they have been in the field fighting since 1979 and their movement has never been larger, more popular or well armed than it is today.' Join me again for the next program.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.