Below are excerpts from Andrew Sullivan.com on the Berg beheading - Editors
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
HOW DUMB IS AL QAEDA? This is the really striking thing about the Zarqawi execution of Nick Berg. Al Qaeda never learns. Listening to the hooded coward shriek on that video and reading what he says can only remind us that these people are a) vile, b) as alien to true Islam as the KKK was to the Gospels, c) pathetic and d) dumb. They think they terrify us by this? The gang-murder of an unarmed, innocent civilian? And they think that it will add to the shame of Abu Ghraib, demoralize Americans still further, and prompt a withdrawal? In fact, of course, the Berg beheading does a grim but salutary service. In the midst of our own deserved self-criticism, we are suddenly reminded of the larger stakes, the wider war, why we are in Iraq in the first place.
We do not in any way excuse Abu Ghraib, while seeing that any sort of moral equivalence between our flawed democracy and Islamism's pathological hatred is obscene. In a purely strategic sense, stiffening American resolve and inflaming American outrage at this juncture is exactly what a smart al Qaeda would avoid. But there is no such thing as a smart al Qaeda. evil can somtimes be stupid, and often is. Hitler, we recall, invaded the Soviet Union. For our part, we must not take the deeper bait, which is to associate these fanatics with Arabs or Islam as a whole. This is not a war against Islam. It is a war to save Islam. And a democratic Iraq - not run by mullahs - is indispensable to that end.