I was watching CNN last night and came across a Lou Dobbs interview with Fouad Ajami, Director, Middle East Studies Program, John Hopkins University. Dr. Ajami made a lot of sense to me. To get a sense of where he is coming from, here is a list of articles by or about Dr. Ajami:
During the interview, in which he was speaking about the Abu Ghuraib scandal and the brutal beheading of Nick Berg, Ajami stated that irregardless of the disgusting nature of the humiliation which took place at the hands of American soldiers, Nick Berg’s life was already forfeit. His killers have no sympathy for Iraq or Iraqis. I agree with Ajami. I have no doubt that these butchers would detonate a bomb that would kill hundreds of Iraqis in an attempt to get one American. They would do it as easily as stepping on a roach. The Arab world should wake-up to the fact that this perverted ideology is a cancer on their societies and will eat them from within. Thankfully some are. The United Arab Emirates was the only Arab nation to denounce the murder. NPR is also reporting on“All Things Considered”that Iraqis are horrified by the act. Only when calls for justice are applied equally, will Muslim rage be listened to and not considered hypocritical. This cancer needs to be removed. America never should have gotten involved in Iraq, but now that we are there, we remain the only hope for stable Iraq.
I am also going to go out on a limb here and say that I am not convinced by the indignation and rage that the Arab media and governments are expressing over Abu Ghuraib. Rather than expression legitimate concerns about the suspension of the Rule of Law, due process, and human rights, I believe that they are just happy to be able to stick it to America. There is no concern here about the prisoners and their treatment. Rather, there is a political opportunity to once again re-focus the anger of their populations away from the real culprit, their own corruption and suppression of dignity. To hear the Egyptians and Saudis speak about human rights is almost laughable.
While I am an ardent critic of this administration, there is much the Arab world can learn from America through its handling of this scandal. There have been inquiries, arrests, and a real questioning of our methods. Heads will roll. We as Americans feel that as a nation, we are better than the actions of these soldiers. The press and negative fallout surrounding Abu Ghuraib is a testament to this fact. This type of introspection and defining of how we want to be perceived is an important lesson for the Muslim world. Do we as Muslims want a few rogues and murders defining who we are as a civilization? Or, are we going to root out this cancer and say that we are better than that? When are we going to make a stand against the horrors that took that lives of 3000 people in NYC, the life of Daniel Pearl, the lives of Madrid citizens traveling to work on the ill-fated train, and the life of Nick Berg. When we, as Muslims can take a stand on these atrocities and the countless barbarous acts of Muslim on Muslim violence, then the world will listen to our legitimate concerns. Till then, we will remain as marginalized and morally bankrupt societies.