Gina Florio
June 13, 2016 4:46 pm
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You won’t be hard-pressed these days to find a news program or a Twitter rant that isn’t about the threat of terrorism America is currently experiencing. A former CIA officer has come forward to say a few words on the matter as well, but you might be surprised at what rolls off her tongue.

AJ+, a global news source run by Al Jazeera Media Network, posted a short video on their Facebook featuring a Amaryllis Fox, a woman who worked in the CIA for 10 years in undercover on counterterrorism and intelligence. This is the first thing she says:

“If I learned one lesson from my time with the CIA, it is this: Everybody believes they are the good guy.”

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What ensues in the next three minutes is a powerful reminder that things aren’t always what they seem, and that we often have a difficult time seeing the full picture. Fox wants us to understand that the conversation about ISIS and the U.S. overseas is “more oversimplified than ever.” We believe wholeheartedly that ISIS poses an imminent threat to our country — and to the world — and that’s that. “That’s where the conversation stops,” Fox says.

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If you look at the other side of the world, where we imagine our enemy lives, Fox tells us that everyday people in Iraq and Afghanistan insist that America is waging a war against Islam. Yet, ask people here in the U.S. why 9/11 happened, and our response is, “They hate us because we’re free.” Fox encourages to step back and see what’s really going on.  She says,

“These are stories, manufactured by a really small number of people on both sides who amass a great deal of power and wealth by convincing the rest of us to keep killing each other.”

She’s not necessarily saying that one story is wrong and the other is right. Rather, she’s shedding light on the fact that maybe these beliefs aren’t really ours. They trickle down from a place that has a certain agenda in mind.

So instead of simply falling into the trap of believing that we’re the heroes who need to destroy the enemy, Fox says, “I think the question we need to be asking, as Americans examining our foreign policy, is whether or not we’re pouring kerosene on a candle.”  She continues, “The only real way to disarm your enemy is to listen to them.” She says you may be surprised to find out that if you’re brave enough to hear them out, you’ll find that you probably would’ve made a lot of the same choices if you’d been in their shoes.

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Fox then shares a tidbit from a debriefing she once had with an Al Qaeda fighter. He said some of our most famous and beloved movies — think Star Wars, Hunger Games, and Men in Black— are about a “small, scrappy band of rebels who will do anything in their power with the limited resources available to them to expel an outside, more technologically advanced invader.

The man then told Fox:

“And what you don’t realize… is that to us, to the rest of the world, you are the empire, and we are Luke and Han. You are the aliens and we are Will Smith.”

Yeah, we just got chills.

This former CIA undercover concludes the video by saying that people who are actually on the ground fighting overseas are there to make a better place for their children, and because there are specific policies that are cruel and unfair. “While it may be easier to dismiss your enemy as evil, hearing them out on policy concerns is actually an amazing thing,” Fox says. “Because as long as your enemy is a subhuman psychopath that’s going to attack you no matter what you do, this never ends. But if your enemy is a policy, however complicated, that we can work with.

The video has clocked in over 15 million views so far. (Whoa!) See it in its entirety below. And see if this badass woman, aka our new hero, doesn’t make you think long and hard about the state our world is in.

[facebook url=https://www.facebook.com/ajplusenglish/videos/744058605735649/]

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