Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Monstrous

The events in Iraq are hideous. I think that those that killed Margaret Hassan may have overstepped the bounds even of what the other insurgents will tolerate (this article mentions that al-Zarqawi actually told these kidnappers not to execute her), and so I hold out some small and probably over-optimistic hope that this slaughter of hostages will lose momentum.

And of course, the unfolding story concerning the soldier who shot the wounded terrorist is terrible to contemplate. But I have my reasons for not commenting on it here, and if there's anyone who is violently opposed to the war and the spreading violence, I hope that I can make an appeal that reaches beyond politics.

The pursuit of justice that we Americans are used to seeing on every screen and hearing on every airwave -- let alone weighing in on through the blogosphere -- is not as important right now as the lives of the troops, their allies and the civilians at risk if we insist in replaying the footage and reacting violently and publicly. Remember that Nick Berg was beheaded in response to Abu Gharib. That our enemies would take this merciless action is something we can't control. But we can control at least one of the catalysts that lead to those actions.

All terrorists feed on extremism and covet publicity. Don't provide it. Those with strong opinions can say them, they can phone friends, they can e-mail and say what they need to say privately. But I really believe that this is not the time when honorable people either create or participate in a media firestorm. The effects of that storm won't be felt here where we're safe, but overseas where men, women and children are at risk. The armed forces are investigating this -- the soldier is innocent until proven guilty. Please don't compound this tragedy with others.

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