Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What Did Margaret Hassan Die For?

With any luck, the murder of Margaret Hassan may have finally assigned the Islamofascists to the category of “barbarians” in the minds of those all too eager to given them the benefit of the doubt.

In the south of Fallujah yesterday, US Marines found the armless, legless body of a blonde woman, her throat slashed and her entrails cut out. Benjamin Finnell, a hospital apprentice with the US Navy Corps, said that she had been dead for a while, but at that location for only a day or two. The woman was wearing a blue dress; her face had been disfigured. It was unclear if the remains were the body of the Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan, 59, or of Teresa Borcz, 54, a Pole abducted two weeks ago. Both were married to Iraqis and held Iraqi citizenship; both were kidnapped in Baghdad last month.

If it is true that the orgy of violence that buffets Iraq is the fault of the Americans, how then do you explain killing a woman who devoted her life to helping Iraqis in need, who became an Iraqi herself, and who vehemently opposed the war now being waged against her murderers? If murdering Hassan furthers the goals of the insurgents, what exactly are their goals?

"She came to help us and give us prosperity," said Hashim Hassan, a 41-year-old security guard at a surgery. "These terrorists are outsiders ruining Iraq's image. Iraqis would not destroy their own country."

Unemployed Yusuf Ali, 35, said attacking or kidnapping aid workers was a development that would only harm the nation.

"The enemies of Iraq are attacking power stations, oil pipelines and kidnapping foreigners and aid workers at a time when we need them most. Aid workers would be flowing into Falluja right now if they didn't fear decapitation," he said.

As Tariq Ramadan might ask, who gains from such barbarity?

A destabilized and weak Iraq might please the Theocracy in Iran. An anarchic Iraq would be one less worry for the totalitarians of the region such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Eygpt. And a nihilistic bloodfest seems to be the preferred mode of political expression for the Wahabbi wing of the Religion of Peace®.

And what do the perpetrators hope to gain? Power . . . of some sort. Even if it only the power to destroy. Even if it is only the power to take the life of a bound and blindfolded pacifist.

Should we (can we) negotiate with these people? Should we consider the conditions that have driven them to such actions? Or should we be more concerned about killing them as quickly and efficiently as possible?

Even the Arab world seems revolted by such a cowardly empty gesture:

Al-Jazeera, the Arabic news channel that was given the video and has aired the beheadings of several Western hostages, refused to broadcast what must rank as a new low even by the barbaric standards of Iraq’s insurgency: a woman executed during the holy festival of Ramadan.

Hopefully their disgust is broad and deep rather than circumstantial. Hopefully, the Muslim world will voice their revulsion and ostracize the minority who commit barbaric acts of cruelty in the name of Islam.

If not, we have enough Marines to kill each and every fascist jihadi. It will take time, and it will be ugly, but that is the direction we’re headed.

Or the Islamic world can reject the extremist cancer than infects it without the need for radical surgery performed by the English-speaking allies (with backup from Drs. Italy, Poland, and Vanatu).

That would be better for everyone involved. We can hope that the for once this fatalistic, self-defeating culture can defy expectations and behave like the wise civilization it claims to be.

That might just give some slight meaning to Hassan's death.

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