Nick Berg and Iraqi Detainees

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 13, 2004 | Go to article overview

Nick Berg and Iraqi Detainees


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The on-camera murder of Pennsylvania businessman Nicholas Berg should serve to remind us all what kind of enemies we are at war with in Iraq. Some in the press and Congress - repeating the propaganda line of the terrorists - assert that Mr. Berg's killing was committed in revenge for the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees by American guards that has dominated the news in recent weeks. This is absurd. Al Qaeda and its allies began murdering American civilians years ago: The September 11 attacks and the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl, for example, occurred long before the world learned of the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

During Tuesday's Armed Services Committee hearing on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners, Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, brought some sorely needed perspective to the congressional debate on prisoner abuse, which has largely degenerated into an episode of national self-flagellation.

Some senators are determined to turn the investigation into a circus aimed at destroying the Bush presidency. On Monday, Sen. Edward Kennedy compared U.S. troops to Saddam Hussein's thugs. "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management - U.S. management," Mr. Kennedy asserted.

No reasonable person will say that what occurred at Abu Ghraib was anything but bad, but bad as it was it never reached anything resembling the depravity in Saddam's prisons. As Mr. Inhofe pointed out (to the obvious dismay of Sen. John McCain and most Armed Services Committee Democrats), the Abu Ghraib detainees would have fared far worse in Saddam's prisons. Saddam's torturers, Mr. Inhofe noted, "would take electric drills and drill holes through hands; they would cut their tongues out; they would cut their ears off. …

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