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A Double Standard Too Glaring to Ignore

What a glaring double standard. The Arab world is enraged over the shooting of a wounded, unarmed Iraqi insurgent by a uniformed US soldier.

There is no similar outrage for Margaret Hassan. Is it because she was an Anglo, a woman, or because a Muslim killed her?

The video of the soldier shooting is proof, we are told, of America’s evil. And the kidnapping, torture and murder of Mrs. Hassan is then proof of what? That America is evil! Muslims wouldn’t do that unless evil America forced their hand.

Bombing children, defiling mosques, kidnapping civilians, executing poor workers and cleaning out women — these are not discussed or broadcast with frequency, or invoke much anger. Videos where a masked man shakes a bloody head while the curtains flutter do not evoke such fury. Why? The identity of the victim or the perpetrator?

All tactics of the insurgents are excused. Hide among civilians. Justified. Wear civilian clothes. Justified. Shoot from a mosque. Justified. Feign death to draw soldiers in (the way one Marine died the day before the incident). Justified. Wave a white flag as a ploy. Justified. Booby-trap dead bodies. Justified. That’s just Fallujah.

Moving outward — Deliberately killing Iraqi civilians daily. Justified. Bombing churches. Justified. Bombing cafes. Justified. Using schools and mosques as arsenals. Justified. Attacking the police. Just fine.

The rules of war don’t apply to the insurgents, only the Americans. And if one horrible act occurs at the hands of one American soldier, the world howls.

The insurgents’ constant inhumane tactics are acceptable. The American rules of engagement prohibited shooting unarmed combatants. This prohibition was followed by thousands of soldiers, thousands of times. After the shootout at the mosque in which the man was wounded, a call went to headquarters to send a medical team out to pick him up. It is American policy that wounded fighters are given good medical attention. Many are being treated now. A wounded American soldier found by the enemy fighters would be tortured to death after being paraded on Al-Jazeera. And that would be fine.

The last war in which Middle East militaries fought was the Iran-Iraq war and executions were systematic. That was fine.

Al-Jazeera, marketing arm for anti-Americanism globally, is showing the shooting nearly nonstop. Yet they refused to show the last tape of Margaret begging for her life because it was “too disturbing.” How bad of a shape was she in? Is that why her bruised and battered body is still alone and unrecovered? They refused to show her execution because shooting this good woman in the head was not a “war death,” although it was carried out by those the US military are fighting. Broadcasting terrorists’ messages to inspire fear in the Iraqi people is thought impartial journalism. Al-Jazeera has been suspended numerous times for acting as a tool of the jihadis.

Why so little regard for Iraqi civilians when they are killed by Muslims but when an unarmed fighter is killed by an American soldier, the Arabs suddenly love the Iraqis? It is too perplexing to consider that Arabs expect a higher standard of humanity from Americans than they do from themselves.

The soldier will be tried. The facts will come out. A punishment will be issued because the US has respect for the Iraqis and enforces the rules of engagement. If the soldier was wrong, Americans will say he was wrong, loud and clear. Americans themselves will demand punishment for him.

Tomorrow when Iraqi children are again deliberately targeted by these terrorists — not freedom fighters — what will we hear from the Arab countries? Not even muted mumbling. Is it a lack of courage or a lack of concern? Why is there so more sympathy for the fighter in civilian clothes who was shooting from a mosque than for Margaret? For the insurgents than for the civilians? For the terrorists than the police?

Elections are coming to Iraq. The Iraqis will rule themselves.

Saddam stole $21 billion from the mouths of starving Iraqi children. The UN closed its eyes. He filled mass graves and torture chambers and the world stood silent. Now as the Iraqis struggle for self-determination, for security, and for freedom from both the US and the terrorists, the Arabs back the suicide bombers.

For years, some Iraqis may harbor deep resentment toward the US for its mistakes. The successes of the insurgents, all those dead civilians, will be remembered with anger by many. Perhaps the greatest number will recall how they were not valued by their “brothers” and were quickly forsaken in the greater cause of anti-Americanism.

— Jane Novak is a political commentator and analyst.

Arab News, Saudi Arabia

Categories: Other topics
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