May 12, 2004
Just when you think the news can't get any grimmer or gorier, Islamic terrorists go and behead an American citizen and broadcast the video of the beheading for all to see.
This barbarism sickens me, as I'm sure it does anyone with a shred of moral fiber.
Nicholas Berg was an innocent American.
He was also an innocent Jew, like Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was beheaded by Al Qaeda forces in 2002.
For Al Qaeda, such butchery is doctrinal.
Back in 1998, Osama bin Laden declared it the duty of Muslims to kill Americans and Jews wherever they could find them.
And so Pearl and Berg were doubly suspect.
Not enough has been made of the crude and ugly anti-Semitism that runs through Al Qaeda's ideology and is ubiquitous in the shops and stalls of Iraq, according to reporter Nir Rosen, who mentions it in an upcoming article in The Progressive. This is toxic stuff.
Unfortunately, George W. Bush's policies have been enflaming Islamic hatred of Americans and Jews alike.
His unprovoked war against Iraq, the inept occupation that led to the grotesque humiliation and torture of Iraqi prisoners, and Bush's blessing for every unilateral act of Ariel Sharon--all these have served only to reinforce the basest prejudices that now circulate so widely.
Do not get me wrong.
Nothing, nothing, excuses the slaughter of Nicholas Berg.
The brutes who did it must be brought to justice.
Anti-Semitism, one of the most poisonous wells on the face of the Earth, must be drained.
And the freedom of American citizens to travel about the world must be ensured.
But Bush is going about all this precisely the wrong way.