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May 11, 2004

al-Zarqawi Apologizes for Beheading American Civilian Prisoner

"This is not representative of the values of the Islam I know," he says as he cuts man's throat

Anmesty International Vows a Vigorous Inquiry Into the Outrage; The International Red Cross Alleges, "We warned the world about the abuses of Muslim/Arab terorists last winter"

W A S H I N G T O N -- Horrified by the "disgusting" images of a defenseless American prisoner having his head cut off on videotape, Arab and Muslim leaders throughout the world went on Al Jazeera to apologize for the "abhorrent" abuse.

"I am sickened by the images I saw," said Bashar Assad of Syria. "I want to know precisely who is responsible for the failure in command here. And I don't care how high up the chain of command we have to go for justice."

The Muslim-American advocacy group CAIR immediately sprang to make no arguments of moral equivalency of any kind. "This is simply unacceptable behavior," a spokesman said. "This is barbarous. This is vicious. This is not merely anti-Islam, but more importantly, it's anti-human."

Extremist Muslims throughout the world immediately downloaded the graphically violent images, and then did not sing out "Allah is Great, he has given us this great victory over the infidels" a single time. "Political disagreements are one thing," said an extremist Muslim Imam living on the British government's dime in London. "The Israel-Palestinian dispute is another thing. But if we are to call ourselves human, to call ourselves men of genuine honor, there are certain standards of simple decency that must be observed and can never be compromised, no matter how angry someone might be."

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat immediately went on the air to deliver a forty-minute long speech denouncing the "cruel and shameful act" and cautioning Muslims that "we must make more effort to live up to the great ideals of our religion and our traditions." His full-throated condemnation of the murder, occasionally requiring him to take a break in order to compose himself and wipe away his tears, consipicuously did not include any attempts to minimize or mitigate the atrocity by invoking "Zionism" or "Muslim humiliation."

Left-wing newspapers throughout Europe immediately ran the disturbing photos of the butchery with headlines uncompromising and unstinting in their condemnation of the savagery. The Hidden Face of Evil blared Le Monde. The leftist press vowed to treat this violation with all of the intensity it had treated the revelations of the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by Americans. "Politics is politics," said a senior editor at The Guardian (UK). "But politics must never, under any circumstances, lessen our desire to condemn inhumanity."

Even ABCNews' anchorman Peter Jennings was philosophical about the animalistic act. "Simple depravity is inexcusable under any context," he said. "This outrage certainly puts the Iraqi prisoner abuse story in context. ABCNews will henceforth better endeavor to keep a sense of proportion when reporting certain stories, even when reporting those stories we believe can be used politically against the American military or to Republican administrations."

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd appeared visibly shaken after witnessing the brutal act. "It certainly reminds us of what the real issues are in the world today," she said. "This is a serious time, and it demands serious thought and yes, sometimes serious actions. I'll be putting aside my typical cutesy word-play and girlish name-calling in order to devote my column to exposing the viciousness and barbarity of the animals who have declared war on civilization itself."

Left-wing blogger TheDailyKos simply put up a stark image of the beheading and refrained from posting for the entire day. "I just felt there was no need for words," he said. "There are no words. This man was decapitated for simply attempting to bring the benefits of technology to the world's poor. He was a mercenary-- a Mercenary in the Army of Humanity."

Cartoonist Ted Rall announced that he "had no plans at the moment" to draw a cartoon making light of the man's death, or savaging his family's public reaction to the tragedy. "That's sooooo 2002," he said. "I'm above that."

Campaigning in Missouri, Democratic nominee John Kerry shared his outrage for the crime and his sympathy for Mr. Berg's family. He made no effort to claim that the butchery was due to George Bush's "reckless and arrogant" foreign policy, or that the killers would have been mollified had the Coalition included French troops. "Politics stops at the knife's edge," a Kerry aide said, seething with fury not at his fellow countrymen who oppose his political agenda, but rather at the Al Qaeda terrorists who threaten our very lives.

In related news, engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that they had successfully granted a 200-pound sow the power of flight. "We just grafted four pairs of condor wings on to the pig," said Henry Fields, project manager of the Winged Wilbur project. "You should see that pig fly. It's something to behold, I'll tell you. And we're going to need flying pig technology in the future, given the widespread effects of global environmental change. The latest reports of the temperatures plummeting in Hell should be a warning to us all."


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