May 12, 2004

Murderous Bastards

Murderous Bastards. We should have gotten them when we had the chance.

You’ve probably heard about it long before I had a chance to get my thoughts together and write about it. Relief worker/American civilian Nick Berg was killed in Iraq by decapitation, and the graphic video is available on the WWW.

This is a horrible, horrible story.

The perpetrators are claiming to be/work for Abu Musab Zarqawi. They’re claiming this is revenge for the Abu Ghraib torture, but we can be fairly certain that this is just a convenient excuse. These al Qaeda affiliates are ruthless killers who know that the cycle of violence must periodically be refreshed with blood.

The horror, however, comes as part of a story. This story didn’t begin when the terrorists turned on their video camera any more than it ends when the last drop of blood ran out of Mr. Berg. Who is Berg’s murderer? Who is Abu Musab Zarqawi? And why is he still at large?

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has previously singled out al-Zarqawi as one of bin Laden’s closest associates. He said that after the fall of the Taleban, al-Zarqawi traveled to north-eastern Iraq, where he and his network helped establish another camp specializing in producing deadly poisons, including ricin.

He claimed that he was operating in parts of Iraq free from the power of Saddam Hussein but controlled by an Islamic group called Ansar al-Islam (Supporters of Islam).

See also this at the Independent.

We knew a lot about Zarqawi before the war, beyond Powell’s presentation. He was operating outside of Saddam’s control, in an area where he was vulnerable. Is it possible that this vital player in Bin Laden’s organization, someone said to be more important today than Bin Laden himself, could have been eliminated before the war on Iraq?

According to NBC news:

long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself - but never pulled the trigger. […]

“Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution. […]

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

What reason could there have been to allow this guy to continue to operate? It’s because Bush did not want to mess up his chance to sway the American people into a war with Iraq.

There was no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda. But there was this camp, outside of Saddam’s control. If we had taken it out, al Qaeda’s use of Iraq would have been eliminated. But, as we know now, the war on Iraq is not really about al Qaeda. And so we gave up three chances to take out a ruthless killer who was involved with the organization that enabled the 9/11 attacks—an important agent of arguably America’s worst enemy. We did this so Bush’s war, envisioned long before the 9/11 attacks, could become an expensive reality.

Americans have paid the price, and will continue to pay the price. A graphic representation of that price is the murder of Nick Berg.

Another odd aspect of this story is the statement made by Berg’s family. Michael Berg, Nick’s father is quoted as saying that his son might still be alive had he not been illegally detained by U.S. officials in Iraq. He was not charged and had no access to a lawyer. The family says he was being held by the military for 13 days and that after they filed suit in federal court, Nick was released. Nick had planned to return home in March, but his detention kept him in Iraq while the situation became more dangerous.

Details of that part of the story are bizarre and incomplete. But one thing seems clear to me. Zarqawi was our mortal enemy in the war on terror. And Bush let him go. Three times. After we knew just how dangerous these people were. If we need yet another example that the war on terror has suffered for Bush’s agenda, we have it. If we need another example of how facts and reasoned recommendations can be brushed aside for belief and politics, we have it.

They say “do not attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.” Just how much incompetence must accumulate before it defies explanation?

Posted by James at May 12, 2004 3:10 AM
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Someone on The Daily Show last week said "facts in Iraq have an anti-war agenda." I couldn't have said it better or more sarcastically myself.

It doesn't matter what the facts are any more. When the facts make the people in charge look bad, they blame it on "liberal media" bias. When the facts (or sometimes the obfuscation of the facts) make them look good, they complain that it doesn't make them look good enough. It's still technically a free press, but they're trying hard to neuter it.

It is hard to see things clearly through a haze of red. The bloodier things get, the harder it is to react intelligently and the easier it is to be fooled. So, damning as all this is, you can bet that all of this will be twisted into further justification for going after Saddam, and people will be more willing to agree with Bush than ever.

We can only hope that the twisting will get so far out of control that people will wake up one morning (preferably before November) and see how far this administration has strayed from the path of truth and reason. And finally get angry. And put Faux News (Fox Nooz) out of business.

Better yet, I'd love it if everyone just snapped out of it today without further twisting.

On another note, I've been waffling for four years between looking at Bush (just the man Dubya, not the whole administration) as a hapless, foolish puppet, or as an evil genius. Now I realize it doesn't matter who is pulling the strings, or whether he is smart or stupid. I just want it to be over.

Posted by: Julie at May 12, 2004 10:14 AM

"So, damning as all this is, you can bet that all of this will be twisted into further justification for going after Saddam, and people will be more willing to agree with Bush than ever."

Well, it'll go that way or this way: look at the fucking mess we're in now.

Considering this came right after the release of the pictures of rape, torture, forced masturbation (can you imagine?), dog attacks, and god knows what else we haven't seen, I say this: As ye sow, so shall ye reap. We can expect more of the same.

Posted by: at May 12, 2004 10:19 AM

Whoops, that was me. My info got dropped, probably when I wiped out the Massive Cookie and File Load yesterday.

Posted by: Patti M. at May 12, 2004 10:20 AM

Vatican foreign minister calls prison abuse a bigger blow to America than Sept. 11

By Associated Press, 5/12/2004 06:24

''The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11. Except that the blow was not inflicted by terrorists but by Americans against themselves,'' [Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Giovanni] Lajolo was quoted as saying in La Repubblica.

Posted by: Patti M. at May 12, 2004 11:08 AM

excuse me please.....

would you mind if we stopped the world.


thank you

Posted by: ken at June 23, 2004 6:37 PM

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