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Barbarians At The Gate
There's news about the cold-blooded slaughter of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. From a story by Massoud Ansari in the UK Telegraph:

Shocking video film of Pearl's murder, seen around the world via the internet, was in fact a partial reconstruction of what had happened a few moments earlier, officers have been told.

The camera operator made a mistake and missed the moment of his death, which his murderers then re-enacted, before decapitating the reporter.

...His efforts to converse with his captors were limited since they could speak only broken English. However, one said: "He made clear that he was a Jew and his wife a Buddhist. He used to imitate the way she prayed, and sing hymns and songs whenever he thought about her."

How do you kill a guy like this? And if that's what your "religion" teaches you, what are you?

Pearl apparently knew for several hours that he was about to be killed, but resisted attempts to sedate him. Ansari's story continues:

On the day Pearl died, two of his Pakistani guards were present: Ali Khan, arrested just two weeks ago, and Fazal Karim, an employee of Saud Memon. One recently told interrogators how the Arabs tried to sedate Pearl, first by injection, then by doctoring his tea.

"I think he understood that he was going to be killed and refused to accept tea or to gulp pills. He even did not allow himself to be injected."

Before he was murdered, they forced him to relate his Jewish background and express sympathy with detainees in Guantanamo Bay before putting the knife to his throat once - and then again, a second time, owing to the faulty camera.

One of those present told police: "When they were slaughtering him in front of me I thought it was a bad dream. I had seen the cutting of a goat or chicken many times, but had never seen a human being slaughtered in front me."

From one of Andrew Sullivan's readers:

I was a friend of his through high school and college and stayed in touch with him until before he left for overseas. I had many discussions with him about what motivated people and about the nature of evil and power. I have no doubt that the reason he refused sedation is that he did not want to make it easier, in the least, on the killers' consciences. So he was willing to go through hell fully conscious as the price.

Posted by aalkon at March 19, 2007 8:21 AM


One of the witnesses seems to have a bit of a conscience. It seems like he could have told the authorities a little sooner.

These people killed in the name of Islam. I wonder what it takes before Islam will start to clean its own house.

Posted by: doombuggy at March 19, 2007 4:07 AM

I'm still not looking forward to the Angelina Jolie movie.

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 4:45 AM

HBO aired a documentary called The Journalist and the Jihadi a couple months ago. Personally, I haven't see it yet. Been too busy.

Posted by: Joe at March 19, 2007 6:25 AM

I believe Islam has protections built in to keep it just the way it is.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 19, 2007 7:06 AM

All institutions are like that.

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 8:08 AM

And I mean, a lot of advantages available to commercial enterprises don't apply to oppressive ones like militant islam. They used to say the fax machine killed the Soviet Union, because they couldn't risk having technologies like that sitting around when they were trying to control people's minds... But free access to such tools became ever-more important to running an economic enterprise, so something had to give.

Maybe the Saudis could maintain an iron-fisted approach within their own borders if the rest of the world were a piece. But it turns out, there's this belligerent, non-Arab nation in the region who might be inclined to threaten them with their shiny new nukes. See this earlier Telegraph article:

Times are a-changin' over there, and would have been even if Gore had been elected.

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 8:33 AM

at peace, not a piece

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 8:35 AM

Interesting Iran article, Crid. I actually find it encouraging, because economic problems will serve to undermine the theocrats there.

I agree that times are changing, but I'm convinced that our response to these changing times would have been more well-considered under Gore/Lieberman. Not that it matters now. What is key for us now is what in the hell is the way forward. And that is a big damned problem that nobody seems to have a good handle on.

Posted by: justin case at March 19, 2007 9:15 AM

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 9:43 AM

A liberal blindly lurches into the truth...

I love the way she comes to terms with who/what the enemy is... evil. Then she dismisses Dubyah as politicizing evil by coining the term evil-doers. Does the man NEVER get any crdit for getting something right?

I prefer the Buckley formulation, "It's not that we are good, and they are evil. It's that we seek to do good, and they seek to do evil."

Posted by: Casca at March 19, 2007 9:50 AM

"It's not that we are good, and they are evil. It's that we seek to do good, and they seek to do evil."

I believed this-when I was young.

Posted by: Machida at March 19, 2007 11:02 AM

Aw, live a little, take a risk, show us your tits. What do you believe now?

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 11:09 AM

That's really good, Crid; I didn't know you had it in you.

Posted by: Machida at March 19, 2007 11:12 AM

Nonresponsive. What you believe about evil and good now, in the hour of your fulsome maturity and perspective, is... What, exactly?

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 11:27 AM

I didn't say I was mature; I just implied I was no longer young.

Posted by: Machida at March 19, 2007 11:32 AM

Iran's other problems are the lowest birthrate of any Muslim nation. A pension system that is on the verge of collapsing, when the numbers of retirees jumps from 8% to 30% in 15 years.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces other internal problems like the rash of more public protests (December 11, 2006 student protest*) against his policies. The ruling council of Mullahs are on the verge of denying him any further support. The failure to pay the Russians for the nuke technology.

The Grand Ayatollah Khamenei issued a recent fatwa that nuclear weapons goes against the will of Allah. There have been political moves within the Majilis (Iran's legislative body) to purge the various ministers from Ahmadinejad's government.

The one thing I do fear is a possible risky move by a collapsing Ahmadinejad government to draw attention away from his domestic problems.

***On December 11, 2006, students disrupted a speech by Ahmadinejad at the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. According to the Iranian Student News Agency, students set fire to photographs of Ahmadinejad and threw firecrackers. The protesters also chanted "death to the dictator". It was the first major public protest against Ahmadinejad since his election

Posted by: Joe at March 19, 2007 11:32 AM

Whaddya gotta do to pick a fight around here?

I think we're more good and less evil than they are. I think if we can teach them to educate their women and work with aspiration, we'll be more good and they'll be less evil. And we shouldn't hesitate to insist...

Posted by: Crid at March 19, 2007 11:40 AM

Crid-I think that good and evil is not relevant.

Seeking power is the only relevant action; islam, democracy, and oil are only excuses.

I also think that Hal Ashby's Being There, 1979, with Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine, was a prophecy of the rise of George The Bush.

Posted by: Machida at March 19, 2007 11:49 AM

The reason behind the December 11, 2006 protest was over the embarrassment of the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust held on the same day.

Posted by: Joe at March 19, 2007 11:50 AM

We are much more good and much less evil. There may be people in our government who do evil, but our "platform" isn't forcing people to believe as we do or die. Theirs is. And many, many of them actively seek to make it happen. That's evil.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 19, 2007 12:49 PM

I agree Amy.

One thing the far left keeps forgetting the numbers of people dying around the world through various military engagements has steadily declined since 1945. How come? Could it be the advent of the USA as a super power? Even with weapons that could wipe out entire cities.

Now we have to combat religiously inspired apocalyptic terrorism that has replaced the liberation terrorism of the latter half of the 20th Century.

What are the real reasons behind the international hostility towards Pax Americana? Immaturity? Lack of status? Naiveté?

What would the world like as a replacement power? China? The United States of Europe?

Posted by: Joe at March 19, 2007 2:44 PM

When WFB wrote those words, thirty-odd years ago, he was talking about the Soviet Union. Evil is evil, no matter what kind of party dress she's wearing today. Totalitarianism, whether Imperial Japanese, Nazi, Communist International, or Islamic Jihadi is the same bitch with the same wicked ways.

Posted by: Casca at March 19, 2007 10:45 PM

Many -isms are merely philosophical justifications for psychopathic behavior - political petri dishes for virulent two legged pathogens. They stomp all over the individual because those who wrote them stomped all over people.

Posted by: red river at March 22, 2007 12:26 AM

Pajama Media test

Posted by: Gregg Sutter at April 2, 2007 3:38 PM

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