Most people should spare themselves the torment of viewing the video of Daniel Pearl's murder. The ghoulish tape is now available on the Internet -- a "commercial," as The New Republic rightly notes. The tape is intended not for the likes of you and me -- civilized human beings who recoil from the very idea of viewing a beheading -- but for Islamists around the world, thirsty for American and Jewish blood.
Scenes of Pearl's final interrogation are interspersed with footage of the Intifada and snapshots of Ariel Sharon and George Bush. Pearl, as we had heard, was required to recite a list of American misdeeds around the globe and then to acknowledge that he was a Jew, and that his parents were Jews. That's when his captors, a Pakistani Islamist group, severed his head and held it high for the camera to capture.
I will not view this tape. The above account is from a description in The New Republic. But it might do Secretary of State Colin Powell some good to watch it. It might help to remind him that the enemy we are facing hates us for what we are, not what we do. And this enemy is so depraved that it can cheerfully and proudly promise the murder of millions.
According to a spokesman for Al Qaeda quoted in the Arab Newsletter: "America, with the collaboration of the Jews, is the leader of corruption ... whether moral, ideological, political or economic corruption. We have the right to kill 4 million Americans -- 2 million of them children -- and to exile twice as many, and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands."
Powell seems in need of a reality check. The notion that the U.S. response to the daily suicide/murders in Israel would be to reward the Palestinian Authority with a state -- any state -- is catastrophically stupid.
In the first place, there is no evidence that the Palestinians are murdering Israeli civilians to achieve a state of their own next to Israel, as Powell constantly assures us they are. As a recent poll showed, more than half of the Palestinian people are fighting not to establish Powell's mythical "Palestine" but to "eliminate Israel."
For years, Arafat has steeped these people in hatred so primitive and lethal that savagery has become bread and butter to them. Palestinian TV, newspapers and books -- all which are controlled by the Palestinian Authority -- have prepared the Palestinian people for nothing but murder, revenge and pornographic violence.
They cheered, let's not forget, at the image of the World Trade Center burning. Arafat has debased them that far. The suicide murderers go out of their way to plant themselves next to strollers. That is Arafatism.
There was a time when most Palestinians truly wanted a separate state. Arafat never, never did. And while accepting Nobel Peace prizes and red carpets from governments the world over, he has remade the Palestinians in his own image. They are now a nation of terrorists.
Even if the Palestinians were hoping to achieve a state next to Israel, now would be the worst possible moment to offer it. Every solemn notice that has issued from this government to Arafat warning him that this was his "last chance" (and he's had more last chances than we can count) to crack down on terror would stand revealed as bluff and bluster. Not only would we prove that blowing up bus riders, Seder celebrants and Bat Mitzvah girls works, we would also damage our own credibility, perhaps fatally.
What made President Bush's leadership so bracing after Sept. 11 was its moral clarity. With every hour, he is losing it. It is sinking in the mire of the Middle East, tethered to the "old thinking" of the State Department. Its advice -- create a Palestinian state, coddle the Saudis, ignore the Iraqis -- is what helped get us to the current crisis. By responding to the media, our Gulf "allies" and the Europeans, President Bush is in danger of losing his moral authority.
If the United States leads, the world will follow. If Bush continues to take the advice of Colin Powell and the State Department, he will continue to lose moral altitude -- worse, he may well lose the war on terror.