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Losing Your Head

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By now, most everybody has seen or read about the video of Nick Berg, a freelance communications worker from Pennsylvania, speaking briefly before being beheaded by his masked captors in Iraq.

An al Qaeda-linked Web site, on which the video first appeared, said the killing was carried out by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a top ally of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

In a statement on the video, the Al-Zarqawi group claimed to be taking out revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners held by the US military at Abu Ghraib.

Yeah, that makes sense. To avenge Iraqi prisoners abused by the U.S. military, they captured and butchered a civilian to death. That makes about as much sense as when, say, somebody shoots and kills a relative of mine so, “to get revenge”, I go out and shoot a few innocent bystanders.

And not only was the reasoning, such as it was, flawed but so was the execution.

Case in point:

If you’re going to read a prepared statement, keep it to half a page at most. If you go on and on for like five or six pages, you’ve lost the audience before the end of page one and anything else you might have to say won’t be heard because, by that time, nobody cares! At that point, you have to pull out a real show-stopper to draw the audience back in and anything short of a beheading just won’t cut it.

Always read your statement in the native tongue of your target audience. As a rule, the decadent Western World hates subtitles and most people won’t even attend the showing of an award-winning foreign film at the local cinema if it hasn’t been dubbed in English.

If you’re planning to decapitate somebody on camera then, for god’s sake, hire a crew member whose job it is specifically to sharpen the knife. The last thing you need is a dull knife when the camera is rolling. It makes the whole production look unprofessional and slows the pace of the entire scene. And who the hell wants to be fucking around with a dull knife when you’re cutting somebody’s head off?

There should be no cheering after the deed is done. It makes you look arrogant. Nobody likes a terrorist and that goes double for an arrogant terrorist.

And who’s idea was this anyway? Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s? Yeah… brilliant plan, you idiot. Allah would be so proud. With the recent, and ongoing, release of prisoner abuse photos, support for the continuing U.S. presence in Iraq was waning domestically and further cemented opposition worldwide. If his plan was to bring his enemy’s enemies together, Zarqawi couldn’t have come up with a better way to do it. He’s also done more to help Bush’s re-election prospects than anybody currently in the Bush Administration.

In reaction to this despicable act, President Bush was quoted by CNN as saying, “The actions of the terrorists who executed this man remind us of the nature of a few people who want to stop the advance of freedom in Iraq. Their intention is to shake our will. Their intention is to shake our confidence. Yet by their actions they remind us of how desperately parts of the world need free societies and peaceful societies.”

Nothing like a single visceral and emotionally-charged act to rally the troops and give the U.S. president both the justification and resolve to continue an already protracted battle.

In response to this savagely inhuman deed, one can imagine the U.S. retaliating in such a way that makes the WWII bombing of Dresden look like a Fourth of July fireworks celebration by comparison.

Berg had gone to Iraq to work on communication towers and had been missing since April 9. Friends and family members described him as smart, funny and enormously generous. Which makes this another example of a smart person getting screwed when a bunch of stupid people get together to do what they do best — something barbarically stupid.

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About Pete Petrisko

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    I can agree with your point that I think you were trying to make about how we don’t want to give in to bloodlust, but frankly I think your title is in really poor taste.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Nothing like a single visceral and emotionally-charged act to rally the troops and give the U.S. president both the justification and resolve to continue an already protracted battle.

    In response to this savagely inhuman deed, one can imagine the U.S. retaliating in such a way that makes the WWII bombing of Dresden look like a Fourth of July fireworks celebration by comparison.

    And, I think you are desiring a nightmare, Peter. The last thing anyone should want is for the cycle of revenge to escalate. Yes, U.S. forces can abuse more innocent Iraqis. But, al Qaeda and other terrorists can also strike harder than they have so far, maiming and killing more innocent Americans. It seems that people like you did not learn the obvious lesson of 9/11: America is not impregnable, Americans are vulnerable.

    I also must ask you the same question I ask other people who make posts like this: If you are so eager for blood, why haven’t you volunteered to fight in Iraq?

  • http://worldofpete.blogspot.com Peter Petrisko

    Mac… I never said that’s what I wanted. I merely pointed out it makes a convenient pretext for an escalation in bloodshed.

  • Shark

    “…Nick Berg, a freelance communications worker from Pennsylvania… …one can imagine the U.S. retaliating in such a way that makes the WWII bombing of Dresden look like a Fourth of July fireworks celebration…”

    Maybe in the case of US military personnel, but a major military retaliation for a Jewish “freelance” worker who was told to get the hell out of Iraq more than once?

    You pays yer money and takes yer chances.

    — or —

    “Never give a foolhardy opportunist an even break.” — adapted from W.C. Fields

  • Shark

    “…the Al-Zarqawi group claimed to be taking out revenge for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners held by the US military at Abu Ghraib.”

    Yet another difference between Us and Them:

    We made the prisoners at Abu Ghraib simulate giving head.

    The Islamic terrorists actually do it.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “Yet another difference between Us and Them:

    “We made the prisoners at Abu Ghraib simulate giving head.

    “The Islamic terrorists actually do it.”

    Flounder, that was low. Admit it.

  • herman singleton

    i feel that we, yes i said we, were forced to coerce the iraqi prisoners by sexual humiliation. these are people ready to die for what they believe in. by saying that i mean how do you get someone to dish out information, who is ready to withstand anything(almost anything)? i’ll tell you how… (or betteryet rumsfield will)you take them by humiliation. whether its sexual or physical, or mentally. now you all know how we got people to tell where sadam was at. they were not expecting anything like that. hell, we weren’t either. but it works so we have to use this tactic. this is war people. many, not all but many were dancing in the streets on september 11. what type of mentallity do these people have? the mentallity to believe they will go straight to heaven if they kill themself and murder innocent victums. during war some times you haveto put your blinders on people.u hate it? face it. just embrace it. replace soldiers with ones that can take it.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Herman, keep that ‘we’ to yourself. Your abhorrent view that humiliation and torture of Iraqis are good things does not represent my thinking at all. I totally oppose the occupation of Iraq. In no way do I try to rationalize the abuse of those detainees. Millions of Americans feel the same way. Take that evil on yourself if you want to, but leave us out of it.

  • Sandra Smallson

    “Yeah, that makes sense. To avenge Iraqi prisoners abused by the U.S. military, they captured and butchered a civilian to death. That makes about as much sense as when, say, somebody shoots and kills a relative of mine so, “to get revenge”, I go out and shoot a few innocent bystanders.”

    Peter, the above excerpt from your post completely encapsulates my feelings about the madness of the Islamic fundamentalists. I don’t care if my reaction to acts like the above are seen as bloodlust or ignorance or racist or whatever. I refuse to understand that sort of barbaric reasoning. If that makes me a person who loves violence in the eyes of some..so be it. I can live with that. I can not live with trying to understand fundamental mental derangemnt.

    If I disagree with Blair, Bush or some things we do here in the Western world..that’s on one side and I will criticise as much as I want. I think Bush is a moron for a variety of reasons BUT I will not carry that view over to the otherside and use that distaste for Bush and his policies to find some understanding for the acts of these savages.

    Whether you support the War in Iraq or not is completely different from accepting and understanding barbarians. Unfortunately, some on this site are unable to distinguish their “anti-violence” views from acknowledging that these terrorists are on a different plane from us. These people are evil personified. I’m afraid, in my view, there is no similarity in going to War and unfortunately causing civilian casualties on one hand, and on the other hand, car bombing embassies, flying planes into buildings, suicide bombing universities and restaurants. There is no relation. There is no similarity. People who find a similarity in the two are differently clued.

    The Terrorists will butcher even those who try to support them if they know they can be headline news and get air time in their hoods.