As we all know, some of the prisoners at Abu-Gharib were apparently tortured and humiliated, in a truly vicious and atrocious display of barbarity by our US soldiers. There is no excusing it. It was awful. Those responsible should pay dearly, court-martials, the whole deal. And as most of us are aware, this is what is being done. I won't compare this to the fact that this sort of abuse happens on a daily basis in just about every Arab prison complex in the world, not to mention some of our domestic prisons here in the US, because we need to be better than this if we are to succeed in Iraq.
Then we have the latest news about Nicholas Berg, the young man from Philadelphia who went to Iraq to try and repair some satellite antennas, basically help out. He was caught by some Islamic fundamentalists, and they made a video of his execution so the world could see it. He was beheaded, in a grotesque and barabaric display of inhumanity. If you have the stomach, you can see the video here (note-this is an EXTREMELY graphic video and be forewarned it is not edited for sensitivities-if you haven't the stomach, don't click the link).
What we have seen after the prison abuse story was immediate condemnation, apologies from our own president, eventual reparations to the abused, and general "oh the humanity" type editorializing in all of the major newspapers. This is pretty standard for our media these days, take a negative story from Iraq and sensationalize it, regardless of the consequences, while in the meantime ignore the thousands of other positive stories of schools and hospitals being built, kids playing soccer in the new stadiums being built, and so on. There are literally hundreds of stories ignored by the media on a daily basis of positive works done by our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this bothers me. It tells me that the media heads are undermining our efforts in the War simply to sell newspapers and get better ratings. I hope those columnists and TV producers sleep well at night, because I couldn't live with myself knowing I am de facto supporting the enemy.
Then we have the execution. What we WON'T hear from the leaders of the Islamic world is apologies, or condemnation, or attempts at reparation. In fact, instead we will hear support and praise for the executioners from many of the Imams and Mullahs, along with a few "I told ya's" from the more moderate Imams. But nothing coming even remotely close to an apology or condemnation. If you see it, please let me know. When you hear people say "but this is simply a small percentage of Islam, this is not true Islam"- remember that there are 1.5 billion muslims. 1% of a billion muslims is still millions of people. And it only took 19 of them to cause unprecedented destruction.
What this is leading to was the topic of todays bleat from James Lilek. He hits the nail on the head when describing the realities on the ground that few people seem to realize these days-
"The West doesn’t have the power to change Islam; it only has the power to destroy it. We have a lot of nukes. We could kill everyone. We could just take out a few troublesome nations, kill millions, and irradiate Mecca so that the Fifth Pillar is invalidated. The hajj would be impossible. Every pilgrim a martyr. I don’t think we’ll do either; God help us if we do, but inasmuch as we have the capability, it’s an option. But it would be a crime greater than the crime that provoked such an act, and in the end that would stay our hand. They know we won’t do it.
Strong horse, weak horse.
There is another path, of course. Simply put: if a US city is nuked, the US will have to nuke someone, or let it stand that the United States can lose a city without cost to the other side. Defining “the other side” would be difficult, of course – do you erase Tehran to punish the mullahs? Make a crater out of Riyahd? These are exactly the sort of decisions we never want to make. But let’s say it happens. Baltimore: fire and wind. Gone. That horrible day would clarify things once and for all. It’s one thing for someone in a distant city to cheer the fall of two skyscrapers: from a distance, it looks like a bloody nose. But erasing a city is a different matter.
Everyone will have to choose sides. That would be one possible beginning of the end of this war.
I hope that sooner or later the media uses its focus to expose this reality in a way that becomes crystal clear to the American people and the West in general. This is a world war of religious fanatics versus freedom espousing people. There is no whitewashing of this reality. Whether or not George Bush is president, there will be more Nicholas Bergs, and more screaming Jihadis calling for "death to the JOOOOS and America".
The lynchpin right now in this conflict is Iraq. Either we succeed in giving Iraqis a chance to become free and democratic, or we surrender the most important battlefield of this war that is out there.
Think about that next time NPR opens it's "all thing considered" with another story about the prison abuse, or the latest "horrible atrocity" commited by the US troops.
I almost threw my fucking radio through the window this morning when it came on. I really need to change the station.....