Courage, Clarity and Questions: Al Bawaba and the Berg Decapitation Photos


The sheer horror and brutality of the pictorial depiction of a terrible crime serves a legitimate purpose when taken in tandem with the Abu Ghraib photographic debacle that has stripped George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld of any remaining pretense of possession of higher moral ground when it comes to America's War for Empire and Ariel Sharon. The Berg death, the sickening photos of Iraqi prisoner degradation at the hands of American military personnel, the leaking of American flag-draped coffin photos arriving at Dover AFB in Delaware--and the blood-soaked images of the ongoing victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--coalesce in a coagulation of color-conveyed evidence that demonstrates that Mr. Bush's proclamation of "Mission Accomplished" on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln on May Day, 2003 is laden with dyspeptic and unbearable irony. Mr. Bush's Mission is Accomplished only if the original goal of his Likudnik and Neo-Conservative advisors was to ensconce the United States in an endless and protracted conflict in the Middle East; with the accompanying drain of lives and dollars; the spread of anti-American hatred worldwide; and the continuation of a dubious alliance in the War on Terror with one of the world's chief terrorists extant, Mr. Sharon. And as for the latter, the latest photographic evidence emanating out of Gaza suggests that the Israeli PM could use a massive dose of catechetical instruction in the moral and ethical teachings of his own religion historically, when it comes to the preservation of human life and negotiated peace.

Never before in the history of State-sponsored warfare and terrorism have sponsoring governments and constituencies faced more scrutiny of their stated motives and the subsequent moral and ethical decisions made on behalf of the people of the nations they claim to dutifully represent. There is a simple reason for this. In the Age of Internet Information, those who attempt to enshroud dark motives and morally reprehensible actions in theocratic, patriotic, and demonizing Manichean rhetoric, are perpetually contradicted by the free and open exchange of position papers, diverse perspectives, and yes, photographs--which enable the free and fair minded to shop for the truth in the open market of published and electronically accessible ideas. This phenomenon has accelerated the discovery in America, Israel, Britain, and elsewhere, that Mr. Bush, Mr. Sharon, and Mr. Blair--among many others--are clearly Emperors Without Clothing, whose Teflon coverings are being penetrated and stripped away by the searching and demanding questions of their respective electorates regarding this War, its alleged merits, and the accumulating and apparent demerits of the policy and its chief perpetrators. To the extent that Hani Jabsheh and Al Bawaba have been a part of this painful, but necessary process in publicizing the Nick Berg murder photos and fairly publishing all subsequent reader reactions worldwide, a valuable contribution to the ongoing hunt for truth has been made under the most tragic, regrettable, and taxing of circumstances.

The truth in the open market of published and electronically accessible ideas would have enthralled and energized the Old American Right. John T. Flynn, H. L. Mencken, Henry Hazlett, Frank Chodorov, Felix Morley, and Murray Rothbard applaud from Heaven the efforts of Al Bawaba to cut to the chase in the search for the truth about Mr. Bush and his War, as they relentlessly nipped at the heels of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in an earlier Age. One suspects they would duly note the irony involved in American citizens finding more printed and photographic truth available in Amman, Jordan than in the established organs of an American Corporate Media and Establishment that is slowly panicking--even as it begins to twist in the wind.

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Mark Dankof is a Lutheran pastor and freelance journalist, occasionally contributing to Iran Dokht, Al Bawaba, Nile Media, CASCFEN, and other Internet news sites. Once a third party candidate for the United States Senate in Delaware [2000], he maintains the website Mark Dankof’s America while pursuing post-graduate theological education at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.  His commentary may be found regularly on SARTRE's Old American Right and Republic news site, Breaking All the Rules.