Fireworks Or Fortitude
Al-Qaeda Beheaded Their Children - We Must Ask Ourselves, What Is Worth Fighting For?
By Steve Schippert | July 2, 2007
In a village on the outskirts of Baqubah, the animals of al-Qaeda destroyed everything in sight and slaughtered that which possessed life, including the people and even the livestock. As Michael Yon describes in Bless the Beasts and Children, "The village had the apparent misfortune of being located near a main road—about 3.5 miles from FOB Warhorse—that al Qaeda liked to bomb. Al Qaeda had taken over the village." They did not just kill the villagers, they mutilated them and beheaded the children in a horror that stretched over time. The bodies were at various stages of decomposition and decay.
This is our enemy. He is in Iraq, his self declared 'central front' against America and the "Jews and Crusaders" named in al-Qaeda's 1998 declaration of war. He is in Pakistan. He is in Afghanistan. He is in Iran and Lebanon. He is in Indonesia and the Philippines. He is in Somalia, Algeria, Mali and Sudan. And he is in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Canada and the United States. He is wherever concealment or hospitality provides.
And in Baqubah lies a glimpse of his savage legacy.
Yet, we are relentlessly implored, we have lost to him in Iraq and must therefor 'redeploy' to the disengaged climes of elsewhere, anywhere else but Iraq. With eloquence, we are bombarded with calls for a 'new direction' and a "political solution in Iraq," such as was uttered by one congressman in a Sunday talk show this week. And in place of truly defeating a ruthless enemy is disengagement under the guise of an intellectually aggressive sounding "diplomatic offensive."
What political or diplomatic solution, short of ceding these animals both territory and the subjugated for unimpeded horrors, quenches the bloodlust of the animals of al-Qaeda?
We are inundated with political armchair commanders who already declare "the surge" a failure. That the full complement of "the surge" has only been fully constituted for a matter of days is an apparently meaningless observation.
Yet, millions of Americans will trek safely and comfortably to "Fourth of July" celebrations across the country this week, with the meaning of the celebration, Independence Day, largely abandoned for the more readily recognizable pleasures of a day off and an evening looking toward the sky.
It is therefor sadly understandable that when the words in our National Anthem include "the rockets' red glare," many will associate that with beautiful displays of entertaining fireworks. When, in fact, those "rockets' red glare" written about so eloquently were the trails of destruction, seeking their targets and bringing death and carnage to those who were defending something worth fighting for in the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Yet for many, little today seems to be worth fighting for at all.
Perhaps it is because the beheaded children are not our own. Perhaps because the slaughtered share not our names. But underlying, among those who refuse to engage our enemy where he slaughters without grief or remorse, is a clear disassociation with the distant victims of such horrors. Comfortably concluded is that we somehow brought the unspeakable upon them. Present also is a refusal to acknowledge that the distant 'they' are 'we' in a greater war we did not declare and did not seek.
It must be acknowledged that, if we disengage and leave Iraq and its children to the hands of al-Qaeda, millions will suffer the consequences of our ultimate decision. For the unspeakable horrors of children beheaded will not be averted by our absence. Rather, they will be simply unchallenged and the only thing averted will be our eyes. Once again. And a relative few will then seek the distant disassociation that will allow them to sleep peaceably at night, purposefully disconnected from the consequences of their powerful actions by the necessity their collective conscience requires.
Our media ran with a false story of mass beheadings last week. And it was somehow perceivably meant to convey why we should disengage the carnage brought upon the Iraqi people, presumably by our own actions and effectively by the ever-evasive and generic 'sectarian strife and violence.'
Meanwhile, the true story of al-Qaeda's animals beheading the children of a Diyala province village is unlikely to receive the same immediate and mass exposure. Yet, unlike the unverified and ultimately false story of 20 beheaded in Salman Pak, the witnessed and recorded aftermath of the horror of beasts will likely net relative silence.
We must ask ourselves, collectively, "Why?"
Perhaps it is because a story of twenty beheaded in Salman Pak is difficult to associate with a specific group and therefor easily chalked up to 'sectarian strife,' which we presumably can do nothing about. Perhaps because the Baquba beheadings are attributed not to 'sectarian strife' but rather to the inhumane evil of a precisely identifiable and thus defeatable enemy. Perhaps.
But at the end of the day, we surely must ask ourselves, "What is worth fighting for?"
And we must conclude, now and for the foreseeable future, if "the rockets' red glare" truly should come to mean nothing more than the evening sparkle of annual fireworks over our pleasant picnics and parties.