Ted Rall and a mixed bag of anger
According to today's New York Times, the CIA subjects its "high profile" torture victims to such medieval practices as "waterboarding"--strapping the subject to a board, then repeatedly dunking him under water to make him think he's going to drown. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, one of the many #2 Al Qaeda guys we've captured, was apparently subjected to this treatment. The FBI, meanwhile, has been ordered to avoid such CIA torture sessions to avoid impugning their future prosecutions. Anyone who knew about this, condoned it or allowed it to happen, Democrat or Republican, deserves the same treatment. The same goes for ordinary Americans who vote for these cretins this fall.Khalid Sheikh Mohammad has been described as the Kingpin of al Qaeda. He was the mastermind of Operation Bojinka, a pre-9/11 plot to assassinate the Pope, crash CIA planes and blow up passenger planes. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was the man behind the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings. He was the man behind the Bali nightclub attack and the murder of Daniel Pearl. Oh, and he was the alleged mastermind of that thing we now call 911. Pardon me for my barbarism, but I do think that waterboarding the man was the very least of what should have been done to him. But Ted Rall thinks that was too much. The horror! The outrage! And Ted wants you to suffer the same fate if you vote for Bush in November. Hell, I'd vote for Bush with less ambivalence than I have right now if he would order all people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to be treated as such, and then to be shot afterwards. Nick Berg never killed anyone. Nick Berg never plotted attacks against thousands of innocent civilians. Nick Berg never planted bombs or attempted to kill the Pope. Yet, what does Ted have to say about Nick Berg? The only mention Rall makes of Berg's beheading is to blame Bush for it and to come up with this bit of morality:
Cognitive Dissonance "I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated. Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people." —George W. Bush, May 4 "[The beheading of Nick Berg] shows the true nature of the enemies of freedom. They have no regard for the lives of innocent men, women and children." —White House spokesman Scott McClellan, May 11 When we commit crimes, in other words, they're aberrations. When they commit them, they reveal exactly who they are and what they're about.You stupid, stupid man. I almost feel sorry for people who cannot discern the difference between the crimes of a few and the beliefs of many, the difference between a few soldiers who did very bad things, to an entire belief system that allows a group of hooded men to hack and saw the head off of an innocent man on video, pull his body of off his head and hold it up for all to see while they shout praise to their god. What is wrong with Rall? What is wrong with all of the people who think like him? I have roundly criticized and condemned what went on in Abu Ghraib but I am well aware at how different the Berg's murder is from that. Guess what? You can be outraged at both. You do not have to pick one thing or the other. Nick, you did not die in vain, that is for sure. My eyes have been opened. So writes Jen, a person who really never writes about politics and I would not consider a conservative. Jen gets it. This is the reaction I am hoping for the Berg video to have. This is why I think people should watch it and hear it, even if it brings pain to your eyes and ears and heart. Read this opinion piece from today's Newsday (which also appears in Reason) Al-Zarqawi's self-righteous snuff movie is an act of lunacy, a gift to his enemies and, one hopes, an unwitting suicide note. So what will happen if and when we find Al-Zarqawi and kill him? Will Ted Rall and company call us barbarians? We they demand we stand trial for our actions? Will they find some kind of moral relativism clause that allows them to call us butchers and terrorists when we kill a butcher/terrorist? I really hope to find out because I am going to out myself as a death-mongerer right now and wish a long, ugly, torturous death on Al-Zarqawi and any one of his followers. I hope the death comes at the hands of an American. Preferably a Jew. Now, about this war in Iraq. Can we still win this thing? Can we come out of Iraq with a semi-democracy installed and our pride intact? Even though I supported this war from the start and I still support it now, I am getting more ill at ease every day and I wonder just how prepared we were to follow this thing through. Oliver noted in my comments yesterday that it is the troops who will pay for any failure to prepare on the part of the U.S. and he is right. I think that is where Oliver and I part ways because my solution is this: grow a spine, America. Stop worrying about what the Arab street will think of us. Stop worrying about the mosques and holy cities. If the insurgents find it alright to shoot at us from within those mosques and cities, then we have every right to shoot back. We are the stronger force and we need to make that fact known. We've been too careful about whose feelings we will hurt. The time is over to care about those things. If we don't act now, our troops suffer later. The longer we wait to bulldoze Fallujah (which is filled with terrorists now, so don't go on about women and children - if there are women and children there it's because your darling little insurgents are using them as human shields), the more coalition troops will be killed. The longer we wait to hunt down and capture al-Sadr, the more ambushes, kidnappings and attacks on our troops will occur. The longer we wait to show the radical Muslims that we mean business and we will KILL before being killed, the more Nick Berg type murders we will see. Remember what I said yesterday? The Iraq war is now tied tight to the war against al Qaeda. They have become one and the same because our enemies have joined forces.
We are fighting a war in which our media is seen as a weapon to be used against us. We are a free and open society. We are, on the whole, a kind and caring people. We are also enormously self-critical, to the point where it sometimes seems as though we despise ourselves more than we do those who seek to slaughter us wholesale. Terrorists know this, and they play upon these traits to convince us that maybe we're the ones who are wrong, that maybe we should just retract into our shells and stop fighting. But didn't we try that already? We tried not fighting after hundreds of Marines were killed in Beirut. We tried not fighting after the first World Trade Center bombing. We tried it after Khobar Towers, Kenya and Tanzania. We didn't fight after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. According to the theories of the peace movement, shying away from these fights should have brought us peace. Instead, it led directly to September 11th.That's Evan Coyne Malone. That last paragraph should be tattooed on the forehead of everyone who thinks that talking, mediating and kissing up to the Arab street is the way to win this war, or at least end it. Who do you want to be? Do you want to be Ted Rall? Do you want to be the guy passing around theories that Nick Berg's murder was actually a U.S. ploy to wag the dog? Do you want to be standing in the middle of your city as the buildings fall or the chemicals spread and think, gee, maybe we should have gone after them a little harder? Or maybe you want to be one of those bloggers who immediately jumped on the "this Nick Berg video is bogus psy ops propaganda" bandwagon that al Jazeera is talking about? That's right. Al Jazeera has a story on blogger who doubt the authenticity of the video. Do you think I was exaggerating when I said that anti-America Americans want to bring their message to the Arab street? Thanks for that, guys. Thanks for giving al Jazeera, the voice of Muslim terrorists, more propaganda material. Way to go.
Revolting millions around the world, the video footage of an American citizen's execution has also raised numerous questions concerning its authenticity. Even at first glance, internet bloggers were asking on Thursday why Nick Berg was wearing an orange jumpsuit – just like US prisoners wear. Other net surfers point to the unlikely timing of the executioner's dubbed announcement that Berg was to die for "Iraqi prisoner abuse".That's right, Mr. Lawrence Smallman of al Jazeera. You go ahead and write that crap. Go stand next to your al Jazeera buddies. I know that Nick Berg's father is not in a very I Love George Bush mood right now, but I can also bet that he thinks the murder of his son is a very real thing and, while his finger pointing may end up in a different place, he pretty much agrees on who did the actual beheading. And, on the subject of the media, Robert Stewart wrote this on Wednesday: bq. In the midst of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and near-constant American deaths in a still unstable Iraq, national resolve began to ebb. Support for continued American presence in Iraq declined as the bad news grew, and political rhetoric against the Bush administration and military chain of command reached near-crescendo levels. That all changed when the video was released.
Rather than pictures of prison abuse in Iraq, news of terrorists attacking an American civilian will now blanket the front pages of newspapers and lead the nightly news – at least in nations with free and open media. Reports of Iraqi prisoners – who, as Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said at yesterday's Armed Services hearing, were "not there for traffic violations" – being abused by a handful of troops will pale in comparison to the brutal attack on an unarmed American civilian. I wish I could say that Stewart was right. Unfortunately, he's not. Nick Berg's beheading is not top billing news anymore. We've gone back to Abu Ghraib, moved on to other things. It's really, really unfortunate. We do live in interesting times. A cartoon defaming a heroic dead man is selling for thousands. People are making excuses for the brutal murder of an innocent man. There is condemnation for the water torture of a man who is at least partly responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. There are people who want us to lose this war so Bush loses the election, never minding how that will affect the Iraqi people. There are people who would rather see more Americans dead than to dare insult Muslims by attacking their radical brethren. There are people who wish this country to be broken down into little pieces, its citizens crushed like ants and there are people in this very country who keep giving feeding their fire. No, these are not interesting times, I used the wrong word there. These are dangerous times. Forecast for Friday: rage, sadness and a few rays of sunshine. Update: Some strange stories are circulating involving Nick Berg and al Qaeda. I'm going to wait until I expand on this more, I'm doing a little research right now. Regardless of what Nick Berg's intentions in Iraq were, it does not take away from the pure animalistic display of murder that the terrorists videotaped. And shame on Nick Berg's father for using his dead son as a political tool. His behavior is revolting. That's all I'm going to say on that.