Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
Thursday, June 8: I was awakened this morning at 4:45 a.m. by a ringing telephone. A call that early in the morning often brings bad news – sometimes news of a death. I braced myself. The call was indeed about a death, but the news wasn’t bad. The messenger was a producer for a television show requesting that I, half asleep, join her morning crew to discuss the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
“He’s dead?” I replied. “Wow. That’s good news.”
By the time my wife arose, she found me grinning. I informed her of the reason for my excitement. She asked if I thought it was appropriate that I, as a Christian, celebrate someone’s death. She always hits me upside the head with these nagging, inconvenient questions of conscience.
I stammered out a response about how, given that Zarqawi was the world’s number one menace and terrorist mastermind – replacing Osama bin Laden, practically speaking, if not symbolically – and was responsible for the deaths of countless innocents and many of our troops, yes, I thought it was acceptable to be in good spirits.
Nonetheless, I judged it better to celebrate in a more subtle way. So I went back and privately reviewed some notes from January 2005, the month of a historic, profound election in Iraq. I found these items:
On January 23, Mr. Zarqawi said: “We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology.” In his dark dispatch from the underworld, as Walid Phares characterized it, the terrorist ringleader added: “Oh, people of Iraq, where is your honor? Have you accepted oppression of the crusader harlots and the rejectionist pigs?”
Shortly thereafter, the Iraqi people showed Zarqawi what they thought of his advice by turning out in droves to express a very basic liberty: the right to vote for those who govern them.
In response, Zarqawi showed his “honor” for the Iraqi people by murdering them by the bushel. In all, according to the Associated Press, Zarqawi’s “men of God” killed 44 people in Iraq during the January 30 election, the victims of 38 separate attacks on polling stations.
Among the victims was a young man with Down Syndrome, who Zarqawi and his faithful friends suited up in a suicide bomber vest and sent out to do their dirty work at a Baghdad polling station. The incident might have reminded them of the moment they sawed off Nick Berg’s head with a dull blade.
Despite the violence, the Iraqi people persevered; they embraced democracy. I vividly recall a New York Timespiece that reported how maintenance workers swept up charred chunks of human flesh from around the feet of Iraqis who refused to leave their spots in line as they waited to cast ballots, and then fearlessly stained their fingers with ink that would mark them as targets for Zarqawi and his merry band of brothers.
As I continued to page through my notes, I found some other interesting remarks in this stroll down memory lane:
“It’s like a wedding,” said Mohammed Nuhair Rubaie, the director of a polling station in Baghdad’s Sunni neighborhood of Tunis. “I swear to God, it’s a wedding for all of Iraq.” Added Ali Fadel, the ecstatic mayor of Baghdad: “We will build a statue to Bush. He is the symbol of freedom.”
Yet, the man who challenged Bush a few months earlier in the presidential election in the United States was notably unimpressed.
“No one should try to overhype this election,” cautioned John Kerry.
His colleague, Ted Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, responded by reiterating his call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, which, in a case of rather questionable timing, he had first issued on January 27, four days after Zarqawi’s statement about the “evil principle of democracy” and three days before the Iraqi elections. Kennedy also stood by his other comments of January 27, in which he compared the war in Iraq to Vietnam.
All of this leads me to contemplate this thought today: What will be the reaction to Zarqawi’s death? In Iraq, the killer’s minions are memorializing their fallen hero by, fittingly, exploding people with car bombs. That’s exactly how Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would have wanted it. Indeed, when this man called democracy evil, he should have been looking in the mirror.
But what about the response of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and senior Democrats? I would hope that they will see this as a positive – even though, yes, acknowledging a positive might mean crediting a plus in the column of George W. Bush.
Unfortunately, I expect them, and the New York Times, to move the goalpost yet again, perhaps reminding us that Osama bin Laden remains at large. That would be sad. The fact is that this is a great day for anyone who cares about democracy and human rights.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
I had to hire a babysitter so that I could go shopping or have someone come with me to push Caroline in her wheelchair.
Widespread agreement in Israel opposing Palestinian diplomatic warfare, commonly called “lawfare.”
Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.
We were devastated: The exploitation of our father’s murder as a vehicle for political commentary.
Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty
While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.
n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.
The Torah scroll which my family donated will ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier
The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.
I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.
Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.
The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.
Herbert Romerstein died last week after a long illness. With Herb’s passing, we lose not only a good guy but a vast reservoir of knowledge that is not replaceable.
Saddam Hussein grew up barefoot in a mud hut in the town of Takrit, north of Baghdad on the Tigris River. He never met his father. His mother, Subha Tulfah, was deeply disturbed, suicidal and homicidal. She repeatedly tried to kill the child in her womb. According to one, probably apocryphal, account, she jumped in front of a bus and screamed: “I am giving birth to the devil!” Some witnesses recalled the pregnant woman banging a door against her extended belly.
The incident might have reminded them of the moment they sawed off Nick Berg’s head with a dull blade.
The professor is too charitable to the “Bush-Lied-Kids-Died” crowd, whose line of reasoning is not so thoughtful.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/so-let-all-thine-enemies-perish/2006/06/14/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: