Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners

NYT: Bush Expresses ‘Deep Disgust’ Over Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners [RSS]

President Bush expressed revulsion today over photographs strengthening reports that some United States soldiers had abused and humiliated Iraqi prisoners. He said that the soldiers responsible would be punished, and that such conduct did not reflect the values of the American military or the American people.

“I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated,” Mr. Bush said in the White House Rose Garden during an appearance with Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada. “Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That’s not the way we do things in America.”

As for those responsible, Mr. Bush said, “there will be an investigation, and they’ll be taken care of.”

All true and, certainly, as expected.

As the day wore on, it was becoming clear that the issue could have serious diplomatic reverberations in the Arab world, where the United States has been trying to bridge cultural gaps and cement friendships and where public nudity is considered dishonorable.

Arab Web sites prominently featured pictures depicting abuse and Arab television stations led their newscasts with photographs of naked Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by United States military police officers. One channel said the pictures showed the “immoral practices” of the American forces.

“The liberators are worse than the dictators,” Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, told Reuters in Dubai. “This is the straw that broke the camel’s back for America.” Reuters, whose reporters sampled opinions in several Arab countries today, said Mr. Atwan’s comments were typical.

Of course, they were typical before the photos were released, too. It’s not as if rampant brutality is something the Arabs are unaccustomed to. This sort of thing is shocking to a Western audience because it’s abberant. Treating prisoners of war reasonably well is a practice exclusive to the West, one that doesn’t go back all that far even in the West, and one that’s occasionally violated even by Western soldiers. The difference, of course, is that we punish soldiers who do this type of thing. No one else does.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mark J says:

    Noteworthy are the reports that it was other soldiers who reported these abuses which prompted the investigations. Here’s to swift, widely publicized justice for those responsible.

  2. 1MaNLan says:

    How accustomed Arabs are to brutality is not the issue. How (hopefully) unusual the sadism is for the Americans (and apparently the British too, if those photos are real)is not the issue. Morality is the issue. The soldiers engaging in that brutality reflect on the armed forces and the citizenry from which they come, just as heroic and honorable actions of soldiers reflect upon the nation as a whole. I have been hearing stories about those prisons for some time, now. I fear that this may be widespread.

  3. James Joyner says:

    1MaNLan: It’s almost certainly not widespread. It wasn’t widespread in WII or Vietnam when we were using amateurs. This conduct is against all the training professional soldiers receive.

    On a practical level, sure, this reflects on American soldiers. But, on an intellectual level, it shouldn’t. This sort of thing happens with cops. It happens in fraternities. There are a few bad apples, etc., etc. Other soldiers saw the conduct, were outraged by it, and reported it. Other soldiers still will prosecute and sit on the jury. These guys will be punished by the system that they’ve dishonored.

  4. Ahood barak says:

    hiya
    i m isreali but i just hate isreali govt what its doing there in palestine and now i just hate american led coalition forces too and now i want to say after seeing these pics that
    I JUST HATE AMERICA UK AND ISREAL GOVT
    tc

  5. Lisa says:

    I hate the US, thats discusting, USA SUCKS!!!!

  6. Lisa says:

    oh yeah ARABS ARE SO SEXY, im wid them all the way, screw the US!

  7. omar says:

    The names of these abusers should be published as any other criminal would be. then their families will feel the rath we feel.

  8. omar says:

    Hey Mark the gov’t knew since january 5 months is swift? U.S. tried to cover it up but got caught I feel ashamed to say I am from America!

  9. american says:

    Instead of watching Kill Bill let’s Kill Bush and be free like a true democracy.

  10. roy says:

    The Iraqi men were not burned and drug behind cars ,then hung from a bridge. They are alive. I think they have a lot to be thankful for.

  11. snrb says:

    the iraqi POW’s scandal is just one of the flavors the bush administration created,aside from the flavor of the century which they claimed that iraqi is holding mass destructive weapons which turned out to be a toygun.

  12. justin michales says:

    ok heres the thing ! how soon we forget burnted hung up americans! i say whats the big deal at least there still alive and my uncle isn’t!

    justin michales

  13. justin michales says:

    ok heres the thing ! how soon we forget burnted hung up americans! i say whats the big deal at least there still alive and my uncle isn’t!

    justin michales

  14. izzy crack-a-lac says:

    They are allowed to burn, torture, and drag americans through the streets, but we can’t get them naked. There are no rules to war!!! Bitch.

  15. oli says:

    hi

  16. Martha says:

    CHRISTIAN RACISM KILLS PALESTINIANS

    From: pastorjerryh@excite.com
    To: Suez1950@aol.com
    Sent from the Internet (Details)

    Dear Martha:

    I am particularly interested in the materials that have to do
    with the role of dispensationalism (end-time belief) in the conflict
    in Palestine. One of the ways that I can help is to collect the
    facts and pull together a summary of what is going on and to present
    it to the Body of Christ.

    You know, I have heard for years that the Church did nothing
    about the slaughter of the Jews in World War II because they thought
    Hitler was the anti-Christ and they were hesitant to resist his
    actions because they thought it was all a part of the end-times
    prophecies. It appears that the Church and our nation are once
    again turning a deaf ear to this current situation because they
    believe that the Jewish/Paelstinian conflict is a part of end-time
    prophecy and that it must be allowed to run its course. They
    also believe that they must stand with Israel – regardless –
    if they don’t, they will come under a curse from God!

    I am writing several key leaders with this information and
    I am asking them for their insights into the situation. Let’s
    pray that God will somehow use us to expose this mess and to
    bring restoration into the picture. The problem is further
    complicated with the fact that neither side believes in Jesus –
    neither the Jews nor the Palestinians. Of course, we know that
    this conlfict will only be settled in the Person of Jesus Himself.
    And this is the key reason that Ali and others who know Jesus
    are in a very strategic position to effect lasting change.

    Our prayers, tears. and deep concerns go up before the Lord
    continually regarding this entire situation and the safety of Ali
    and the other men and women of God in that area of the world.
    “Lord, give us wisdom – for we have never been this way before!”

    Martha, the recent article you forwarded to me is great.
    As you find further information along that line, please send it
    to me.

    Blessings,

    Apostle Jerry

    Have you been told that the present day state of Israel is the fulfillment of Bible Prophesy? Christian’ racism. against Arabs is hateful. Jesus opposed racism. [Gal 3;28]
    Take a Stand In Front of a Church
    That Will Not Take a Stand cecarl@whtt.org

    Dispensationalism and Racism (by Thomas Williamson) – Media Monitor

    by Thomas Williamson
    What would you think of a religious sect that taught that there is one race that is by nature superior, and another race that is by nature inferior?And suppose that this sect taught that the superior race has a divine right to dispossess members of the inferior race and take their properties without compensation, and to ethnically cleanse those who resist this expropriation, using violence if necessary?And suppose that this sect believed so strongly in this system of racism and ethnic cleansing that it was willing to plunge the world into war in order to fulfill its objectives.And suppose that this sect claimed 70,000,000 adherents in the world’s most powerful nation, and had a stranglehold on the foreign policy of that nation, so that the military and financial might of that nation was directed toward the goal of helping the superior race and suppressing the inferior race?Welcome to the wonderful world of American dispensationalism. Dispensationalists, who are found in many fundamentalist and evangelical denominations, follow the theological beliefs of John Nelson Darby, C. I. Scofield and Hal Lindsey, who taught that ethnic Jews constitute a superior race who are destined to take over Palestine, then the entire Middle East and finally the world. This naturally leads to a resentment of Palestinian Arabs, and all other Middle Eastern nations that sympathize with the Palestinians in their resistance to the program of pushing them out of their historic homelands. Dispensationalism, taken to its logical conclusion, leads to racism.It should be emphasized that not all American fundamentalists and evangelicals are dispensationalists. Not all dispensationalists are Zionist who support the Israeli takeover of the Middle East, although it would be difficult to find prominent dispensationalist spokesman who would publicly disassociate themselves from Zionism. A few dispensationalists display personal animosity and hatred toward members of Middle Eastern ethnic groups they dislike, while most attempt to maintain cordial relations with individuals from such groups.Having made these disclaimers, it must be admitted that the modern dispensational movement produces a lot of rhetoric and propaganda against the Arab peoples that can only be described as racist.For instance, an article on the web site of Cutting Edge Ministries of Attleboro, Massachusetts, in an article entitled “White Hot Genocidal Arab Hatred of Israel and All Jews is Setting the Stage for End of the Age Fulfillment of Prophecy,” contains this white hot denunciation of the Arabs: “As Arabs armies advanced toward the heart of Europe, they wantonly killed, raped, and pillaged entire villages and cities. This is the true Arab, and please do not ever forget it.”In October, 2000, Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham who has built a reputation for fighting racism, stunned observers with this attack on the Arabs, made during a “Festival” in Lexington, Kentucky: “The Arabs will not be happy until every Jew is dead. They hate the state of Israel. They all hate the Jews. God gave that land to the Jews. The Arabs will never accept that. Why can’t they live in peace?” Dispensationalist followers of the Grahams apparently were undisturbed by this declaration that all Arabs are evil and that they have no civil or property rights in the land of their birth. In his Last Call newsletter, Pastor F. M. Riley of Roswell, New Mexico denounces the Palestinians as “lazy” and accuse them of stealing Palestine from the Jews, saying, “The Palestinians (and other Arabs) have never been anything but ‘squatters’ on land that never belonged to them in the first place.”Even dispensationalists who do not indulge in overt racist condemnations of the Arabs often follow the assumption that the Palestinians are meant to be subservient to the recent Jewish colonists and settlers who have taken over their country, and that Palestinians are not entitled to the same basic human rights as all other peoples and ethnic groups are. This is an inherently racist ideology.Another common teaching among dispensationalists is that the Palestinians Arabs are Edomites, or the “House of Esau,” and that it is God’s will that all the Old Testament curses and judgments on the ancient Edomites are meant to fall upon the modern Palestinians.However, in reality there is no connection between the Edomites and the Palestinians Josephus, in his “Antiquities of the Jews,” Chapter IX, (2), stated that the entire Edomite or Idumean nation was absorbed into the Jewish nation in the 2nd Century BC, and this statement is accepted by modern historians and Bible reference works. Thus, much anti-Arab prejudice is based on a totally false application of Old Testament prophecies against ancient Edom (similar to the misapplication which places the “curse of Ham” upon modern blacks).Meanwhile, although Iran is a non-Arab country, the current government of Iran has sided with the Palestinians. As a result, some dispensationalists regard the existence of Iran and the Iranian people as a threat to their theological belief that Israel must take over the Middle East and therefore Iran must be bashed also, as was done by Jimmy DeYoung in an article in the October/November 1998 issue of the Zionist magazine “Israel My Glory,” in which he states, contrary to all Biblical and historical evidence, that “Persia, that ancient biblical enemy of the Jewish people, is the modern state of Iran. The hatred the Persians had for the Jewish people has carried over to the Iran of today.”So, many modern dispensationalists are displeased with the Arabs and the Iranians, for supposedly hindering the divine plan for Jewish hegemony in the Middle East. But it turns out that many of these dispensationalists are equally irritated with the Jews and will even vocally condemn Jews, for their alleged sin of choosing to live in America and other Western countries, instead of moving to Israel where they supposedly belong according to dispensational ideology.Here we have a paradox – Gentiles are allowed to live in America or anywhere else they wish (unless you are a Palestinian desiring to live in Palestine, which is forbidden). But Jews, who are supposedly the master, superior race, are not allowed to choose where they can live like everyone else – they must live in Israel, the new ghetto set aside for them, or suffer the divine displeasure. Some have even suggested that the Holocaust during World War 2 was God’s punishment upon the Jews for not relocating to Israel, and part of God’s plan to force them to go there anyway.Dwight Wilson in his book “Armageddon Now” has extensively documented anti-Semitic attitudes on the part of some dispensationalists in the early 20th Century, as well as their distribution of the anti-Semitic forgery “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Regarding dispensationalists of the 1930’s and their attitude to German persecution of the Jews, Wilson says, “In spite of being theologically more pro-Jewish than any other Christian group, the premillennarians also were apathetic – because of a residual anti-Semitism, because persecution was prophetically expected, because it would encourage immigration to Palestine, because it seemed the beginning of the Great Tribulation and because it was a wonderful sign of the imminent blessed hope.” Since that time evangelical concern for the welfare of Jews, as well as Arabs, has often played second fiddle to their desire for their peculiar prophetic schemes to be fulfilled, regardless of the cost in human misery.Meanwhile, entire sermons have been preached and books have been written on the subject of the greedy Jew who stays in America so he can make money, instead of going to Israel where he belongs. The 1987 book “Let My People Go – The Struggle of the Jewish People to Return to Israel” by Tom Hess has on its front cover a Jewish man who is unable to go to Israel, because he is chained to a pole marked “Wall Street,” thus perpetuating the offensive stereotypes of the rapacious Jew who will do anything for money.Although there has never been a society more hospitable to the Jews than America, this book attempts to scare Jews into fleeing to Israel, saying that millions of American Jews will soon be butchered by the KKK, Islamic terrorists or the KGB unless they hightail it for the Holy Land now. In a chapter entitled “American Jews” – Bound by Materialism,” Hess accuses American Jews of being enslaved by the god of mammon, and tells them, “It’s time to stop saying, ‘I’m an American Jew,’ stop bowing down and worshipping the god of materialism in America and fulfill your end-time biblical destiny. Return to the land of your forefather…”If someone demanded that Americans of African, Mexican or Chinese ancestry stop identifying themselves as Americans and get out of the country, and go back where their ancestors came from, this would quickly be identified and condemned as reprehensible racism. If we do thus to American Jews, it is clearly racism also.In discussing the latent racism against Jews, Arabs and other Middle Eastern peoples, on the part of dispensationalist who are frustrated of all these peoples to do exactly what they think is necessary to fulfill by the failure the “Armageddon theology” end-times fantasies that have been predicted by their favorite prophecy preachers, it must be emphasized that I am not accusing all dispensationalists of being racists or holding to racist views. This article describes the attitudes of some dispensationalists, not all of them. No doubt there are many sincere dispensationalists who would publicly repudiate such views, if given the opportunity.Therefore, I hereby invite all American dispensationalists to publicly subscribe to and declare their agreement with the following 2-point manifesto against racism:1. We affirm that all Americans Jews are to be embraced and welcomed as American citizens at all times, and encouraged to stay in America if they wish, to enjoy the benefits that this society has provided for the Jewish people. At no time will we give the impression that American Jews do not belong here or that they belong in Israel.2. We affirm that the Palestinian people are endowed with the same human, civil and property rights as all other peoples of the world, including the right to reside in their homeland, to travel freely, to govern themselves free of foreign military occupation, and to return to their homeland in the event that they have been exiled. Whatever privileges we may regard the Jews as having been divinely in this dispensation, those privileges do not include the right to oppress the Palestinians in any way or to expropriate their property without compensation.This is a platform that all of us, dispensationalists and non-dispensationalists, can agree on. It is a scriptural platform, because the Bible teaches that there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (Romans 10:12), that God has put no difference between Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15:9), that God has made of one blood all the peoples of the earth (Acts 17:26), and that in Christ there is Jew or Greek (Galatians 3:28). The Apostle Paul taught that there is no advantage in being a Jew, Galatians 5:6, 6:15, Philippians 3:3-9.Any theological teaching that gives Jews a place of privilege over Palestinians or Gentiles in general, or that places any added burdens and restrictions upon the Jews because of their ethnicity, is a relic of an unenlightened past, should be erased from our thinking or preaching.Mr. Thomas Williamson is an ordained Baptist minister who lives in Chicago, Illinois. He contributes to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from time to time.

    To Whom Does the Land of Palestine Belong?

    by Thomas Williamson
    In January of 1997, an Israeli soldier opened fire on Arab civilians in the city of Hebron in occupied Palestine, killing some and wounding others. His motive was to prevent the return of Israeli-occupied lands to the Arabs.This soldier was convinced that God has given the land of Palestine to the Jews, and that it would be a sin to return the land to the Arabs. Many evangelical Christians, while not condoning the soldier’s act of killing Arabs, agree with him that the Jews have a divine title deed to Israel and that the land must not be given back to the Palestinians.Christian Zionists who believe this way, when asked to cite a Biblical justification for their views, usually go all the way back to Genesis 12 and 13 in the Old Testament. Many such Zionists are dispensationalists, who teach that the Old Testament and the Law of Moses are not for today, and that only selected parts of the New Testament are to be followed in this dispensation. However, they never quote from the New Testament to justify their Zionist convictions, for the simple reason that no New Testament teaching exists that would possibly back up such beliefs.Zionists prefer to rely on the Old Testament, citing Genesis 13:15 where God said to Abraham, “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” They construe this verse to teach that a large chunk of the Middle East still belongs to the Jews today, including the ancient lands of Edom and Moab, even though God said in Deuteronomy 2:5, 9 that He would never give those lands to the Jews.Christian Zionists regard God’s covenant with Abraham, including the land grant, as an unconditional covenant. They admit that the Jews have broken that covenant, and have rejected their Messiah, but insist that Palestine still belongs to the Jews because God gave it to them “forever.”However, the Bible teaches that God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants was a conditional covenant, not unconditional. In Genesis 17:9-14 the Jews were warned that they must keep the covenant or be cut off from God’s people. Leviticus 26:40-45 teaches that the Jews must confess and forsake their sins in order to maintain the covenant. Deuteronomy 7:12, 1 Kings 9:6-9 and Exodus 19:5-6 all teach that the covenant was conditional. Joshua 23:15-16 and 2 Chronicles 7:19-22 not only teach that the covenant was conditional, but they also specify that the Jews would lose their land grant if they broke the covenant.As for the statement in Genesis 13:15 that God was giving the land to the Jews “forever,” we must compare this with other uses of the same word in the Law of Moses in order to understand what God is saying to us.
    In Exodus 12:23-24, God ordained the ordinance of the Passover to be observed “forever.”
    In Deuteronomy 18:3-5 the Levites are ordained to be God’s ministers, and to receive the offerings of the people, “forever.”
    In Deuteronomy 23:3 we find that an Ammonite or Moabite cannot join the congregation of the Lord’s people “forever.”
    In Leviticus 7:34 we find that the peace-offering was to be observed “forever .”
    In Leviticus 10:15 we are told that the wave-offerings are to be observed “forever.”
    Leviticus 16:29 specifies that the Day of Atonement is to be observed “forever.”
    In Leviticus 23:41 we are commanded to observe the Feast of Tabernacles “forever.”
    Numbers 18:19 tells us that we are to observe the heave-offerings “forever.”
    In Numbers 19:9-10 we are instructed to use the ashes of a red heifer for purposes of purification “forever.” If we ask our dispensational Zionist friends why they are not observing any of these commandments today, they will explain that they are not for this dispensation, that they were intended only for the observance of the Jews in the dispensation of Law, before the coming of Christ.The same reasoning applies to the land grant of Palestine to the Jews. Not only is that land grant no longer in effect in the new dispensation of grace, but it is also very clear that the Jews were given that land under a conditional covenant, and that they broke that covenant when they rejected and crucified their Messiah.The covenant and the land promise to the Jews were not eternal, to last until the end of time. The Jews did not keep the conditions of the covenant, and for this reason God took away the kingdom of God from them, Matthew 21:42-45, and gave it to the New Israel (Galatians 6:16,) the Church which consists of believing Jews and Gentiles.The inheritance of the new Spiritual Israel is not land in the Middle East, but rather the new Jerusalem in heaven. The old Jerusalem on earth is of absolutely no importance to God’s people, John 4:21, Galatians 4:24-28, Hebrews 12:18-24. The Apostle Paul in Galatians 4:25 condemns as children of Hagar all those whose focus is on the earthly Jerusalem.In Hebrews 8:13 we read that the old covenant with Abraham was about to disappear. The final disappearance of the old covenant took place in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Temple, the City of Jerusalem, and the Jewish state. The genealogical records of the Jews were destroyed also, meaning there is no Jew alive today who can trace his ancestry back to the Palestinian Jews of the First Century.There is no statement or hint in the New Testament that God will revive the Jewish state. It has been revived by man twice, in 132 AD and in 1948 AD. There is no prophetic significance in these human restorations of the Jewish state, and Christians are under no obligation to support such a political entity.Even our father Abraham has no interest in a restored Jewish state, Hebrews 11:13-16. He is in a much better place, the new Jerusalem. Instead of encouraging our Jewish friends to seek out the earthly Jerusalem, we should point them to the heavenly Jerusalem, available to them by faith in the Messiah. Some Zionists accuse American Jews of greed, saying that they belong in Israel and have stayed in America so they can make more money here. Instead of telling American Jews that this is not their country and that they should emigrate to Israel, we should rather encourage them to stay here where they enjoy all the blessings of religious freedom for their faith as well as a better opportunity to convert to Christianity if they so desireNowadays there are prominent evangelists who preach to their followers that God never fulfilled His promise of giving all the land of Palestine to the Jews. They support whatever action necessary, even nuclear war, to obtain Arab lands in the Middle East and give them to the Jews.This belief is not only a threat to world peace, but it is also totally mistaken and unscriptural. The Bible clearly teaches that God did keep His promise to His chosen people the Jews, and that He did give them all the land that was promised. The boundaries of the land promised are given in Genesis 15:18 – from the river of Egypt (the Wadi El-Arish, not the Nile) to the river Euphrates.Read Joshua 11:23, Joshua 21:43-45, 2 Samuel 8:3, 1 Kings 4:21, 1 Kings 8:56, 2 Chronicles 9:26 and Nehemiah 9:7-8, 24 and it will become very clear that God did give all of the land promised to the Jews. If God says that He did, who are we to say that He did not?It is not necessary for us to start a war in the Middle East to fulfill a promise that God already fulfilled 3400 years ago. As for the Old Testament promises that Israel would be restored some day, these prophecies were fulfilled by the return from the Babylonian Captivity in 536 BC. The prophet Jeremiah is often quoted to prove that God promised a restoration of the Jews to their land and that the promise began to be fulfilled in 1948 AD. However, Jeremiah very clearly said in 606 BC that this prophesied national restoration of the Jews in their land would take place within 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10, Daniel 9:2). Christian Zionists need to study their Bibles more carefully, so that they will realize that God already kept His promise, when He said that He would, and that we do not need to stir up war and bloodshed in the Middle East in order to fulfill the promise yet again.Christian Zionism and dispensationalism represent a giant step backward in our theological progress. Instead of resting in the once-for-ever sacrifice by Christ on the Cross for our sins, dispensational Zionists look forward to the building of another temple in Jerusalem with animal sacrifices. Instead of rejoicing in the New Covenant which was promised to all God’s people, Jeremiah 31:31-34, they want to go back to the Old Covenant which has been forever abrogated. Instead of inviting our precious, beloved Jewish friends to partake in the eternal blessings of the heavenly Jerusalem, they try to send them back to the Old Jerusalem, even though they believe that 2/3 of them will be slaughtered in a 7-year period of Tribulation to come very soon.The entire tendency of this theological system is to lead us all back to Judaism. The founder of dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby, openly admitted that his teaching would lead us back to Judaism. Let us rather heed the exhortation of the apostle saying, “Let us go on,” Hebrews 6:1, rather than turning back to the empty shadows of a religion that was meant only to prepare mankind for the coming of Christ.The duty of Christian churches today is to seek the well-being of Jews according to the flesh, Romans 9:3. We will accomplish that, not by lobbying for the territorial expansion of Israel, but rather by preaching the Gospel and planting churches, thereby giving all Jews and Gentiles an opportunity to enter the heavenly Jerusalem for all eternity.Mr. Thomas Willimasom is an ordained Baptist minister who lives in Chicago, Illinois. He contributes to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from time to time.

    Palestinian Christians Ignored (by Sherri Muzher) – Media Monitors

    by Sherri Muzher
    “You mean, there are Palestinian Christians?” I am often asked, incredulously and with a renewed sense of interest in the Middle East. I understand the confusion. All Arabs are Muslims and all Muslims are Arabs – isn’t that the popular belief?So it’s not surprising that many view the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict as Muslims versus Jews. Unfortunately, there are those who strategically exploit this lack of knowledge for political gain or to realize “prophecy,” like Christian Conservative Gary Bauer who organized a letter of warning President Bush. Twenty-two evangelical leaders stated in the May 19 letter that any attempt to be “evenhanded” between Israel and the Palestinians would be “morally reprehensible.” A few weeks ago, the Rev. Pat Robertson accused President Bush of imperiling Israel with Road Map, citing the Bible “which speaks very harshly of those who divide the ‘Promised Land.’”How many potential Americans believe this? “There are 70 million of us” the Reverend Jerry Falwell explained to CBS’s Bob Simon on June 8, 2003 in a segment called ‘Zion’s Christian Soldiers.’ ”If there’s one thing that brings us together quickly, it’s whenever we begin to detect our government becoming a little anti-Israel.” Falwell certainly proved his allegiance to Israel when he promised Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu in 1998 that he and others would mobilize evangelical churches to oppose steps involving territorial concessions to the Palestinians. Palestinian evangelical pastors and theologians later responded to Falwell in a February 1, 1998 letter, “Our task of sharing the love of Christ in this region is becoming increasingly difficult as our brothers and sisters in the West openly express sentiments and endorse policies that produce greater injustice and aggression against Palestinian Christians and Muslims.Ultimately, Falwell can’t speak for all evangelical Christians but many believe the Bible promised the Jews the entire Holy Land, including the Occupied Territories. And some evangelicals also believe the second coming of Christ is contingent upon the full return of Jews to Jerusalem.However, the fact that Palestinian Christians are united with Muslims in the goal for liberation proves that the conflict isn’t so much religious as it is nationalistic and human. Palestinian Christians have been among the most fervent players in the battle against Israeli occupation. Consider spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi; the award-winning literary critic, Edward Said; Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate Michel Sabbah; Melkite Reverend/Author Elias Chacour; as well as revolutionary, George Habash.The reality is that 15% of the world’s Palestinians are Christian. Palestinian Christians, also referred to as “ the living stones” for being having been witness to Jesus and the Resurrection, are a vibrant community who have experienced suffering no less than Palestinian Muslims. From the bloody Crusades to the Dispossession of Palestine’s inhabitants in 1948, discrimination has never known religion. In the latest uprising for freedom, Palestinian Christians have not only been killed, but many others have been maimed for life by Israeli bullets. Christians have also suffered under the inhumane siege by not being able to leave their towns, go to their jobs, seek medical care and attend schools. Among the hardest hit by Israeli F-16 bombardment is the Palestinian Christian city of Beit Jala. And few Palestinian Christians will ever forget Palestinian altar boy Johnny Thalgieh who was killed by Israeli gunfire at Manger Square in Bethlehem. Cars flattened indiscriminately by Israeli Merkava tanks and blown out windows as well as containment of the populations have left the Palestinian Christian population reeling at the Israeli government. I can understand the PR value for Israelis in ignoring Palestinian Christians from the MidEast equation. With the unfair vilification of Islam, who would Western public opinion favor? But those who insist on painting this conflict in religious terms are fooling themselves if they think my relatives desire freedom any less than Muslims. And while evangelical leaders who warned President Bush not to be “even-handed” in peace negotiations believe they are speeding up the Second Coming of Christ, it was Christ who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”Which is it? Sherri Muzher, who holds a Jurist Doctor in International and Comparative Law, is a Palestinian-American activist and free lance journalist. She is a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).

  17. Dave says:

    Hey Lisa,
    Do you live in the US? If you do,you need to get out. We don’t need skanks like you.

  18. america says:

    Yes, those pictures are awful. The whole reason for this war was supposedly for morality. Bush administration spoke as though they were taking away Sadam to save the Iraqi’s from torture. Why is it then that we just create more pain for these people. It was wrong and that’s all there is to it. They can’t take it back, but they can prevent it from happening again.

  19. So shameful says:

    I think the damn US soldiers who abused the Iraqi prisoners should be injected with HIV Virus … so they’ll know how it feels like to suffer … am I right ?

  20. riyo says:

    it’s very obvious that evil deeds do beget more evil deeds in the iraqis and the palestinians’ case we mus trace back the source of evil and sort it out then we might have a chance in bringing true peace to this world

  21. John says:

    Did you not watch the iraqi soldiers cut off the US troops head with the tiny knife? i say kill them all. I think we should just gut a few of their pows and promise them each the same. The US should not satnd for monsters like the ones in that video,” oh no we are not like that” Hilter was doing it and we killed the crap out of his men, so whats the difference? i say torture should not be looked upon as a harsh act but one of vengeance, which is now called for. Violence leads to more right, then you know what, make sure there is no one to continue the violence back to us. I know that people don’t agree with the war efforts and the mistreatment of the iraqi soldiers who are captured, but just think if the one they cut the head off with the little knife was one of your family members. What would you do? I still say end the violence by ending the bloodlines.

  22. john says:

    excuse me the American construction workers head.(more fuel for me)