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Sunday, June 27, 2004
More Hostages in the Middle East:
A Marine has been missing from his unit in Iraq for nearly a week but it is unclear whether he has been taken hostage, the U.S. command said Monday.
The announcement came after Arab television broadcast videotape Sunday of two men of Pakistani origin taken hostage by militants: a driver for an American company and a blindfolded man in military fatigues described as U.S. Marine lured from his base. Insurgents threatened to behead them both.
Turkey rejected today the demands of Islamic militants who are threatening to behead three of its kidnapped citizens during a visit by President Bush to Turkey. A bombing south of Baghdad killed more than 20 people.
The Arab satellite television network Al-Jazeera broadcast a videotape purportedly of a Marine taken hostage by a militant group threatening to behead him if the U.S. military did not release all prisoners in Iraq.
The tape showed a blindfolded, mustached man wearing a blindfold and displayed a Marine identification card in the name of Wassef Ali Hassoun. Al-Jazeera said he was of Pakistani origin.
Al-Jazeera said the militants demanded the release of all Iraqis "in occupation jails" or the man would be killed. The group claimed it infiltrated a Marine outpost, lured the man outside and abducted him.
So we have had an Italian murdered, an American contractor, a Jewish American, and a South Korean beheaded, and a Pakistani, some Turks, and (possibly) a Marine abducted and waiting their turn. Does anyone see a pattern here? Is it possible that these fanatics are deliberately testing different cultures, and types of people to gauge a response to their actions? In other words, perhaps the thought process is this:
"We tried killing the American infidels, and we got no response from their governments. Perhaps we should try killing members of other countries... countries that support the infidel occupation. Perhaps we can affect their governments."
Is there any doubt that these people will soon target women and children? Would we be as willing to ignore these things if a small American child was brutally beheaded, and the tape broadcast on the internet? I think the international response to such a thing would be quite the opposite of what the Islamic jihadists think. Even France couldn't stand by idly and watch something like that.
One other thought... it always seems that al-Jazeera is quick to broadcast any piece of murderous propaganda that they receive. What would the effect be if we lined up 600 prisoners and executed them individually (much like Mohammed himself did back in the infancy of the Islamic movement) in response to these terrorist threats? Or would it be more effective to simply cut off the delivery mechanism (e.g., destroy al-Jazeera and any of its subsidiaries)?
I ask these questions rhetorically not necessarily as an advocate of such policies, but because I can see that such decisions may have to be made at some point. Does the world, or more specifically, the United States, have the courage to stomach such things? Would the public demand a response such as the ones detailed above if another 9/11 occurred? I pray to God that I never find out the answer.
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