South Korean hostage Kim Sun-Il beheaded in Iraq

Or so say the latest reports. It looks like this is going to become a regular occurrence, with no end in sight. Such a stupid waste.

Watching the video yesterday of Kim Sung-il screaming, “I don’t want to die,” I tried to imagine the horror of the situation. I tried to get into his mind, and I tried to get into the minds of his captors. The former was easier than the latter. I just can’t imagine being so hardened that it becomes acceptable, even honorable, to slit the throat of an innocent man who posed no threat. But then, that’s what terrorism is all about, the slaughter of innocents, and there seem to be an awful lot of monsters willing to use it.

This barbarism is what many point to as proof that we must fight them with everything we’ve got and eliminate them. A completely understandable argument. But it also speaks to just how difficult, if not impossible, such a battle may be.

I don’t have any answers right now, only questions and concerns as terrorism appears to prosper and spread with every new attempt to destroy it. A hydra, with an infinite number of heads.

The Discussion: 9 Comments

And, Richard, that’s what this election is going to come down to … for better or worse. Who are you going to trust to go gung-ho after terrorists, to take them down where they live? Right now, Kerry doesn’t instill that type of confidence in Americans.

Are there other issues that should be at the forefront of the election, like the economy, jobs, education? Well, yes. But, it’s gonna be about safety.

June 22, 2004 @ 11:43 am | Comment

Sounds good — but look at Bush’s track record! He talks tough and acts irresponsibly. He sounds macho, but the only ones who benefit are his contractor cronies.

The proof of the pudding is in the numbers: Today’s poll from the Washington Post/ABC News says the people are evenly divided now about who can best handle terrorist threats. So don’t sell the public short. They see the costs of this war and they know people are dying and they don’t know why. They remember 9/11 and Bush’s promises, and they see the mess in Afghanistan and Osama still at large, and they are losing confidence.

So while I would have agreed with you 2 months ago, I am encouraged right now. The swaggering, tough-talking man who always stays the course is the emperor with no clothes, and finally the public recognizes it.

June 22, 2004 @ 11:49 am | Comment

Do we really care if some South Korean in Iraq is beheaded? The U. S. should leave Iraq and give a train ride out of the country for everyone who wants it.

One or two well placed “charges” could wipe the countryside clean and start over.

Anything of value over there is below ground anyway.

June 22, 2004 @ 5:15 pm | Comment

Well, I think we have to care, since we have so many of our own citizens over there and this underscores how they are all at risk.

From your tone, it sounds like you may be more at home over at Little Green Footballs.

June 22, 2004 @ 5:17 pm | Comment

You’re right that the battle is difficult but if anything proves why it needs fighting this sick episode should be it. This is a very different type of war, as you point out. But you cannot back away from it – this enemy doesn’t believe in detente or retreat. To them it is a fight to the death and that fanatacism is what the battle is about.

June 22, 2004 @ 9:35 pm | Comment


June 23, 2004 @ 12:26 am | Comment

Not as much as China needs oil. never forget that.

June 23, 2004 @ 12:32 am | Comment

What gives the monsters who beheaded Kim their power is their seemingly effortless ability to obtain media coverage.

If the media ignored these incidents (or at least declined to televise the murderers’ propaganda) I have a feeling they would rapidly cease.

In the grand scheme of things, a single foreign hostage’s life is insignificant, except of course to their families and friends. But by broadcasting every single terrorist communiqué and breathlessly announcing every single beheading, the media is feeding both the Islamo-fascists’ thirst for publicity, and the feverish rantings of the LGF types who would have us murder the entire population of Iraq to avenge a single American life.

If Abu Ghraib taught us anything, it’s that the U.S. should — must — strive to rise above the level of its enemies. If in fighting them we become like them, then what’s the fucking point?

June 23, 2004 @ 3:15 am | Comment

Simon, you’re completely right of cocurse. But since it is a “fight to the death” with them, is there a way we can win? I am not throwing in the towel or saying we should surrender. I am thinking out loud about what a truly winning strategy in our war on terror might be, how we measure our results and how we know when victory has been achieved. What I am afraid of is the US getting into the same rut as Israel with the militant Palestinians: perpetual tit-for-tat, never-ending terrorism and counter-strikes, and a situation that is absolutely a god-send for Al Qaeda recruiters.

Vaara, about whether an end of media coverage would end the beheadings: I’m skeptical. The murderers may stop making videos, but they’d still murder. This is their doctrine, terror is their methodology. The media’s just doing their job, and I think our leaders are delighted with the coverage, as it gives them justification for continuing the war. It’s ideal PR for “not giving in” and “staying the course.” Nick Berg did more to bolster Bush’s cause than anything I can think of, especially in the wake of the Abu Ghraib PR nightmare.

June 23, 2004 @ 10:51 am | Comment

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