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Welcome to Bizarro World

Posted by Richard on March 16, 2007

Welcome to Bizarro World, where one of today's most ruthless butchers confesses/brags about his atrocities, and moonbats and media outlets everywhere denounce his captors, accuse them of crimes, joke about his terror plots, doubt his guilt, sympathize with his plight, and defend his humanity

Khalid Sheik Mohammed seemed to be especially proud of one particular atrocity:

"I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan," Mohammed is quoted as saying in a transcript of a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, released by the Pentagon.

"For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head," he added.

There are indeed. In fact, the video is readily available. Should you watch it? Jeff Jacoby addressed that difficult question at the time:

June 13, 2002 — The video of Daniel Pearl's beheading is searing and nightmarish, but the key to its power is not that it shows him dead. It is that it shows him alive. You look into his eyes, you hear his voice, you all but smell his fear as he tells the camera what his captors are forcing him to say.

"My name is Daniel Pearl. I'm a Jewish American from… Encino, California, USA. I come from, on my father's side, a family of Zionists. My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I'm Jewish. My family follows Judaism. We've made numerous family visits to Israel…"

The three-minute video is a piece of Islamist pornography: A frightened Jew — even better, a frightened American Jew — confesses his Jewish roots and denounces US foreign policy. Then his head is cut off and brandished triumphantly as English words scroll up the screen: "And if our demands are not met, this scene shall be repeated again and again."

When CBS aired the first part of that video, Pearl's mother was outraged. Jacoby acknowledged the family's pain, but saw things differently:

Who cannot understand her fury and anguish? Whose heart doesn't go out to the devastated young widow, whose infant son will never know his father?

And yet this video, depraved and evil as it is, does something for Daniel Pearl that has been done for virtually none of Al Qaeda's other victims: It makes him real. It allows him to be seen as a flesh-and-blood human being, a guy with a face and a voice and a house in Encino. Countless Americans who never knew him in life will experience Pearl's death as a sickening kick in the gut. His murder is an atrocity they will take personally — because they will have seen it with their own eyes.

Islamist terrorists butchered more than 3,000 innocent men, women, and children last Sept. 11. And before them there had been more than a thousand other victims — in the Marine barracks in Beirut, on Pan Am 103, in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, at the Khobar Towers barracks, in the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, on board the USS Cole. Yet who, their families and friends excepted, knows what any of them looked like? Who remembers any of their names?

The Pearl family's ire is understandable. But I wonder if it isn't the loved ones of all the other victims who have the better reason to be angry.

There are times when no good purpose is served by publicizing a terrible image. The repeated broadcast of race car driver Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash last year was gratuitous. Nothing was gained by replaying, over and over, the beating of Rodney King.

But the beheading of Daniel Pearl is different. It conveys with a force no words can match the undiluted malignancy, the sheer evil, of the enemy we are fighting. Yes, it is a horror. Yes, it is barbaric. But we are at war with barbarians, and what they did to Pearl, they would gladly do to any one of us. This is no time to be covering our eyes.

I won't tell you that you should watch the video. It's pretty awful. Maybe you don't need to in order to fully appreciate who and what Khalid Sheik Mohammed is. But if you're one of those who feels sympathy for the man or worries about him being robbed of his humanity — well, I hope you do watch. So you can see that he wasn't robbed of his humanity — he rejected it.

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