Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Mark Steyn: Too Heavy for the London Telegraph


Stop what you're doing and click the title of this post right now, and read Mark Steyn's brilliant column on the kidnapping, detention and decapitation of Kenneth Bigley, and the reaction of the British public, including Bigley's brother Paul. The paper he wrote it for refused to print it as he wrote it, so he's posted it on his site instead.

The surviving Bigley family's statements call to mind Nick Berg's dad's reaction to his son's death, a wildly irrational attempt to place the blame somewhere other than on those who kidnapped and decapitated him. Particularly nauseating is this section:

"People ask me why I focus on putting the blame for my son's tragic and atrocious end on the Bush administration. They ask: 'Don't you blame the five men who killed him?' I have answered that I blame them no more or less than the Bush administration, but I am wrong: I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware of what an extraordinary man my son was. I take comfort that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren't quite as in to it as they might have been. I am sure that they came to admire him.

"I am sure that the one who wielded the knife felt Nick's breath on his hand and knew that he had a real human being there. I am sure that the others looked into my son's eyes and got at least a glimmer of what the rest of the world sees. And I am sure that these murderers, for just a brief moment, did not like what they were doing.

"George Bush never looked into my son's eyes. George Bush doesn't know my son, and he is the worse for it. George Bush, though a father himself, cannot feel my pain, or that of my family, or of the world that grieves for Nick, because he is a policymaker, and he doesn't have to bear the consequences of his acts. George Bush can see neither the heart of Nick nor that of the American people, let alone that of the Iraqi people his policies are killing daily."

I see. They "weren't that in to it." They "did not like what they were doing." But at least they looked into your son's eyes, right before they sawed his head off, howling about the greatness of their God all along. Listen, it's one thing to be scared, and hope that giving killers what they say they want will make them stop killing. It's entirely another to believe that will actually work. It's going to take a lot more than feelings to end the terror that has been holding this world hostage for years.

As always, Steyn hits it on the head with his column, even in the intro: "As I always say, in this war the point is not whether you’re sad about the dead people, but what you’re prepared to do about it. What 'Britain' – from Ken Bigley’s brother to the Foreign Secretary – did was make it more likely that other infidels will meet his fate."

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