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Nick Berg was not executed in retaliation for prisoner abuse in Iraq. The truth is that he was decapitated for one reason: He was an American. Amongst the chatter on news programs, the testimonies on Capitol Hill and the overly politicized calls for the resignation of everyone Republican, we must get to the root of the issue. We are at war with evil people...and we must win.
Concerning the abuses at Abu-Ghraib and other prisons, let me be clear: These things should not have occurred, and those directly responsible should be appropriately punished. But some in the press and the anti-Bush crowd have completely lost all sense of proportion by labeling it a "scandal," calling the photos signs of "atrocities" and, no, I'm not making this one up, a "political Pearl Harbor." (I will not dwell on the fact, but it is worth noting that every year, even worse things occur in prisons around the world, especially in those countries so vocally condemning America right now.)
Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) publicly lamented the "deplorable" judgment of the Pentagon in prosecuting the war in Iraq and bemoaned the "ill treatment" of prisoners that "included pushing people around" and "insulting" them. John Kerry has repeatedly called for the resignation of Secretary Rumsfeld, which is mildly amusing since he is running a campaign to effectively oust Bush, Cheney, Rice and the rest of the administration, along with Rumsfeld.
Whether these feelings are true or whether they are feigned purely for political purposes, many people seem to be more outraged by the treatment of the prisoners than outraged by the acts that landed them in prison in the first place!
With components of chemical and nuclear weapons scattered and buried across the region, with foreign fighters pouring in from neighboring countries, and with organized resistance costing the lives of multi-national military personnel, news reporters and civilian workers every day, we need information from these prisoners. Keep in mind, these people are mainly the ones guilty of gassing the Kurds, raping Iraqi women, murdering the children of political opponents, and directing or participating in countless other atrocities, in the true sense of the word, for dozens of years.
So we need information. Fast.
No, we cannot allow individuals to cross the lines of the Geneva Convention and our own, arguably stricter, military codes. But interrogating the worst of Saddam's regime will never be pleasant business, even without the documented abuses.
Behind the Democrats' circus in Washington D.C., the Bush administration is actually taking care of the situation. While John Kerry uses the hazing of criminals to raise money, legitimate investigations continue. Due process (a concept completely foreign to most Iraqis) will ensure that justice is served, even though most of the victims of the abuse deserve no justice at all. We do it because we are Americans, and we hold ourselves to higher standards than most of the world. In fact, we hold to Judeo-Christian standards.
The ultimate positive that could come from the misdeeds of a few American soldiers and contractors in Iraq would be for all Americans to heed the Old Testament prophet's exhortation to "consider our ways." The Bible clearly teaches that we should avoid selfish practices and immoral acts that the terrorists and religious zealots are using to recruit members and incite deadly attacks against us.
However, we should not give in to the propaganda that the five terrorists committed this atrocity as the direct result of a few people's mistreatment of Iraqi criminals. They donned their hoods and savagely slaughtered an innocent American civilian because murder is embedded in their hearts. These killers were consumed with hatred and death long before Saddam and his henchmen were removed from power.
This is the real outrage.
Never in human history has such an evil, despicable, deadly, freedom-hating enemy reared its ugly head in such large numbers. This enemy will only be defeated by principled resolve, unshakeable commitment, courage and the patience necessary to endure a very long battle.
We must not give in to political rhetoric, pressure from amoral nations or the shame we feel for the mistreatment of a few detainees. We must stay focused on the all-important goal of overcoming evil with good. We must continue to fight the good fight, or we will leave our children and grandchildren in a world where beheadings are not a shocking rarity, but a regular occurrence -- and that would be the most horrifying outrage of all.