Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Once again, I am sending a post with a very heavy heart.  Words cannot express the empathy that I feel for the family of Nick Berg.  Being from Philadelphia, this hits close to home.  These are my neighbors. The horrific description of their loved one's last moments is a weight that no one should ever  have to carry. 


We will never know the degree to which the abuses in Abu Ghraib prison contributed to the vicious nature of this young man's execution.  These terrorists have already demonstrated their brutality and the degree to which they disregard human life.   In western culture it is unimaginable that Nick Berg's death could be considered a response to the humiliation that the Iraqi prisoners faced.  In our culture this does not equate to an eye for and eye.  But that's just it, we are not dealing with western culture.  


The Iraqi people have their own culture.  And while Islamic religious fundamentalists and terrorists are as extreme to the tenets of their faith as the KKK and  Arian Brotherhood are to the tenets of Christianity, the core Islamic view of the roles of men and women and sex are vastly different than our own.  Therefore to have subjected the Iraqi male prisoners to sexual humiliation at the hands of American woman was probably the greatest offense they could have experienced.  A fact that I am certain was not lost on those that committed the abuses.  Regardless of rank was it wise to have female military personnel interacting with Iraqi male prisoners?  This is just one of many questionable decisions.   


It is time for those responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of the war on terrorism and ALL the personnel on the ground to wake up, smell the coffee and understand that they are not dealing with groups that are bound by rules of the Geneva convention or western rules of combat and fair play.  They are going to wage war using their rulebook and do so with the conviction that their God Allah is on their side.   No amount of negative press,  western news coverage ( liberal or conservative) or rhetoric will redefine their beliefs or their actions. The terrorists know who they are and what they believe and they are unified in their belief.


The question now is who are we as Americans.  How do we define our beliefs and how true will we be to them.  Are we one nation under God?  And, do we believe that the God of our faith(s) approves of our actions.  What unites us as Americans?  How did we create an environment that allowed abuses like those at Abu Ghraib?  How can people think that saying that they were just following orders excuses unjust actions?  We cannot change the views of terrorists and we cannot play by their rules.  If  our actions stoop to their level we have lost this war. We have to, by our actions, win the support of Islamic moderates for the cause of democracy and peace in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.  


In An Hour of Grief -- It is time for America to Define It's Identity

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