Tuesday, May 11, 2004

torturing & killing in iraq

The video of Nick Berg's death is horrific: Yahoo! News - Al Qaeda Leader Beheads U.S. Civilian, Web Site Says. It will not be surprising if it incites further atrocities committed by American/coalition forces in Iraq.

But in the end, the only ones hurt are the innocents caught in between two mortally angry groups of people. Nick Berg was presumably innocent of everything except being an American. The tortured civilians at Abu Graib and other prisons certainly had never been found guilty of anything except possibly ignorance, and, according to the Red Cross, fully 70-90% of Iraqi detainees are innocent of any crime.

So will we up the ante, increase the midnight raids on homes, round up stray pedestrians on the street, steal their possessions and threaten their families, all in the name of Nick Berg?

All Iraqis--all Arabs and Muslims--are not alike. They are not, as I've heard several mouth-foamers scream, all dirty animals. Just as Nick Berg was not a surrogate for people who have brought (or enabled) death and destruction to the Arab world over the past 30 years, neither are random Iraqis acceptable stand-ins for the people who wielded that knife on camera.

The saddest part of all this is this secret fear that not one of the people caught up in the Abu Graib atrocities had done anything to deserve the treatment they got.