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5.13.2004

Arab media reaction to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal and Nick Berg's decapitation 

The New York Times has a small sample of reactions to these events in the Arab media.

The Abu Ghraib torture scandal is undoubtedly a black eye for the American military, and one should hope that the military would prosecute the case in as forthright a manner as possible. Of course, everyone implicated in the scandal is trying to pass the buck up the chain of command.

There appear to be distinct methods of handling the news of Berg's execution. It seems that some Arab media outlets have paid less attention to the incident than might be expected. The stated motive is that playing down this horrific crime would avoid provoking similar behavior in other guerrilla outfits, though I'd have to say that this motive doesn't hold up very well, given that these savages have been committing atrocities like this for a while now. The other possible motive, and the one that seems to be less talked about, is that the media wants to avoid generating sympathy for the US.

But consider now the fact that some of these papers published pictures of a mutilated Israeli soldier on the front pages. Well, it's nice to know that they don't hate us as much as they hate Israel, I guess.

On the other hand, other Arab media outlets are featuring the story of Berg's execution prominently. In some instances it seems to be treated as the atrocity it is, whereas in others it seems to be treated as a predictable reaction to the events in Abu Ghraib.

The crowd at Tacitus has a much more thorough roundup of Arab media reaction to these events. Interesting enough, Hizbollah condemns the execution of Berg, even if it's only because it trumps the Abu Ghraib events.

The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent article here as well.

Over on this side of the globe, I really think some people who advocate a speedy withdrawal from Iraq should see the video of Nick Berg, just so they can see the kind of people who will have power in Iraq if we leave. (WARNING: THIS LINK IS NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN OR FOR VIEWING AT WORK.)

UPDATE: al-Jazeera goes into damage control mode by questioning the authenticity of the video. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

Did the bloggers that al-Jazeera quotes see the same video I saw? (WARNING: PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.) Nick Berg is clearly alive when the terrorists start reading from their paper. They then force him to the ground, and the reason Berg doesn't resist is because he's completely tied up and pinned to the ground by four guys. They then start sawing off his neck, and you can hear him scream for 5-10 seconds. Eventually they hit his jugular, and you can see a lot of blood spilling out. Presumably he lost consciousness shortly thereafter.

The video was circulated on jihadist websites, if I'm not mistaken. The terrorists most definitely had captured and killed Berg, since Berg's parents now have his corpse. What would the terrorists have to gain from shooting a fake videotape of his execution?

An eternity of fire, brimstone and torture would be too kind for these monsters.

UPDATE: The WaPo has a much better roundup of Arab media reaction to these events.

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