Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Nick Berg and Abu Ghraib 

Kevin Drum makes a good observation about the killing of Nick Berg and the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison:

Barbaric behavior doesn't win wars, it just makes your enemies more dedicated to their cause, which is why it's so important to eliminate the kind of barbarism we've recently seen at Abu Ghraib from our own side: because it just makes our enemies stronger.
I've read Kevin Drum for quite a while, and I know that he doesn't see his two examples as equivalent. But he could have said so. His post leaves itself open for readers to assume that he views the prison abuse and Nick Berg's beheading as equally barbaric. Perhaps he just assumes that readers can tell the difference, or perhaps it stems from the left's tendency to avoid pointing out the simple truth that the other side is worse.

But that's a minor quibble. In his main point, he's right. Neither our cause nor al-Qaeda's is advanced by the kinds of behavior he mentioned. Our cause is advanced by the contrast between our behavior and theirs, and we need to reestablish that contrast. Soon.
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