Jewish World Review May 12, 2004 / 21 Iyar, 5764

Martha Zoller

Martha Zoller
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The Real Faces of Evil | If anything, Americans and the American military err on the side of being too accommodating. When we appeared to have Osama Bin Laden in our reach in Tora Bora in December of 2002, we blinked by letting the Northern Alliance have a greater role. After all, wouldn't it be better for the people of Afghanistan if some of their own brought to justice the person that took their country for the goal of terrorism?

Then, we surrounded Fallujah and had other insurgencies going on around Iraq and instead of doing what the world knew we could do, destroy these places, we worked with the Iraqis to come up with a compromise that would put an Iraqi face on the negotiations. In the long run, history will show us to be right in the handling of both of these issues. Time will tell in this War on Terror that the United States was in the right place at the right time with the right leadership to save the world from this kind of terrorism.

This is clearly the most difficult time in the War on Terror. President Bush said that there will be good days and bad days and there would be successes we see and those we don't see. He was right. The bad days are here, but there are victories going on around the world that we are not hearing about. In a way, it is better that we are not hearing about them, because then the freedom fighters that are taking on terrorists where they live do not have to live under the glare of a seemingly irresponsible press.

The murder of Nick Berg, an American hostage, was broadcast around the world today on a militant Islamic website. The contrast of what the civilized world is and what we are up against is clearly defined. The President said that you are either with us or with the terrorists and this was a day like only a few others where that choice is clear. Either you are on the side of terrorists that advocate torture, dismemberment and murder of the innocent or you are on the side of the rule of law and due process.

No parent can imagine the pain that Nick Berg's father is going through. The pain is made even more unbearable because Mr. Berg did not support the war in Iraq. As the mother of three sons, my heart goes out to him and his family at the time of this loss. I do not know how you can breathe at a time like this, much less talk to anyone. Unbelievably, the press does one of the "how do you feel" questions to Mr. Berg after getting the news and it is not unexpected that Berg's father wants to blame the US Government for his son's death. The elder Berg was against the war from the beginning and with a mike in his face hours after learning of the details of his son's death, he lashed out. No one could blame him for that; the blame comes from the news media hounding him for a comment so soon after getting this news.

But Nick Berg looked at the war as bringing freedom to people who deserved it. He supported President Bush and his mission. The details of the last days of Nick Berg will come to light and we will have more judgments to make on this, but until then, his family should remember him as he wanted to be remembered, as a young man who believed in what his country was doing and tried to do his part and paid the ultimate price in that endeavor.

CBS News should be doing some internal analysis as well as whoever gave those pictures to CBS News. The story of the humiliation in the Abu Ghraib prison could have been told without the pictures. General Richard Myers called Dan Rather to ask him to tell the story without the pictures or at least to hold off while there were the problems in Fallujah and there were American hostages. He repeated that in testimony to the US Senate as well as on media outlets in interviews after the pictures were released. Soldier Matt Maupin is still a POW and we can only pray that he will not meet the same fate.

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The Pentagon was not hiding this story. The story was in press releases to the world in January and then followed up through March and it has continued throughout this process. The public and the press will continue to debate the role of CBS News in this. It was not too much to ask that CBS News withhold the pictures while we had hostages and POWs, and they went for ratings instead. They will continue to muddy the waters and make it impossible for the soldiers charged to get a fair trial by interviewing one of the soldiers charged in the prison scandal. Anything for ratings is the new motto at CBS News.

There are those that will make the moral equivalency argument and indeed it is already being made. Before the revelation of the beheading of Nick Berg, Sen. Kennedy (D-Ma) said on the floor of the Senate that "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management - U. S. management." Unbelievably, a man who would not take responsibility for a murder that he was responsible for is lecturing us, hardworking Americans, on what is right and wrong. Senator Kennedy has undone all the good of his career in one moment. If he will not retract and "apologize" for his statements regarding the War on Terror, which are treasonous at worst and irresponsible at best, then he should be taken off of the Armed Services Committee of the US Senate and he should resign from the US Senate. From the accusation that this war was cooked up in Texas for political reasons to the equating of our soldiers, even the worst of them, to the tortuous reign of Saddam Hussein, Kennedy is out of line and out of step with the American people.

The death of Nick Berg clearly draws the line and we see that the Abu Ghraib prison incident for what it is. It is not torture or murder; it was a breakdown in command at the battalion level that was being addressed at the Pentagon. Press releases were put out immediately, soldiers have been charged and the rule of law is being followed.

Unfortunately, the terrorists are changing their tactics. First it was the dismemberment and desecration of the bodies of civilians hanging from the bridge in Fallujah, then the beheading of Nick Berg and in Israel, Hamas terrorists displayed the remains (body parts) of six of the Israeli soldiers killed in a roadside bombing in Gaza City. Just as 9/11 changed the way we look at hijacking, recent events mark the desperation of the terrorists and a ramping up of the consequences. They think that at the sight of this carnage that we will abandon our mission in abolishing terrorism and freeing the Iraqi people.

Make no mistake; these are acts of desperate people that cannot believe that we are not weak and running at this point. These are people that hate freedom and want to rule the world with an iron fist where only they will live in it. Mort Kondrake said it best in reaction to the barbaric murder of Nick Berg. He said that we had to win this war because if we didn't, then the world would be run by people like the executioners of Nick Berg.

We are being tested and we must stand together in this fight against evil in the world and the perversion of a faith for selfish and evil purposes. Will we pass the test?

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JWR contributor Martha Zoller is a radio talk show host in Georgia. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2004, Martha Zoller