September 04, 2006
[F]or the Fox journalists and the Western media who reported their release, what's the big deal? Wear robes, change your name to Khaled, go on camera and drop Allah's name hither and yon: If that's your ticket out, seize it. Everyone'll know it's just a sham.
But that's not how the al-Jazeera audience sees it. If you're a Muslim, the video is anything but meaningless. Not even the dumbest jihadist believes these infidels are suddenly true believers. Rather, it confirms the central truth Osama and the mullahs have been peddling -- that the West is weak, that there's nothing -- no core, no bedrock -- nothing it's not willing to trade.
We saw Jill Carroll on TV yesterday talking about how like totally weird it was to play along with terrorists for three months. How she was introduced to a woman whose goal was to be a suicide bomber, how she constantly reminded her captors that they were such good, wholesome people that they would never hurt her, and how she played their game until she was released.
As we watched, I grew frustrated. I told my husband that I really don't know what the survival instinct is like. Maybe the will to live can make you do things that you swear you wouldn't do when you're sitting comfortably on your sofa. But my husband and I share a thought that comes up every time someone is abducted by jihadists: "I love you more than anything in the world, but we don't negotiate with terrorists." I don't know how Carroll kept a straight face when a pregnant mother of three said she can't wait to give birth so she can become a suicide bomber. Could I play along with that, or would the look of disgust rise on my face and give me away? And is that something I would ever want to play along with even if I could suppress the disgust?
I have never forgotten Fabrizio Quattrocchi, and I keep him as an example of how I hope I would react if I ever found myself in this situation. I hope I'd stand up for what I believe in and show the enemy how an American dies. I'm saddened that Quattrocchi's family wishes he would've played along instead of giving his life for what he believed in. I know it would be far easier for me to give my own life than my husband's; I wept when Ken Bigley's family pleaded for his life because I knew I would not do the same. I wouldn't be invited on TV because they couldn't air the foul things I would have to say to my husband's captors.
I've really gotten into watching the show 24. I can't get enough of Jack Bauer, and I think I've recently come to understand why. Jack Bauer sees the big picture. He is willing to sacrifice anything -- his life or the lives of those he loves -- to do what he thinks is right to protect the US. He does what it takes to stop the enemy because he constantly keeps his eye on that 24th hour. His country matters more to him than anything else, and he's a character I have really grown fond of.
We in the West can't understand how a Muslim woman can hide explosives in her baby's bottle, but I'm starting to understand. They value their religion and way of life over any individual person, the same way Jack Bauer values his country. I hope we have many Jack Bauer Americans out there, because we in the West have to decide if there's anything worth dying for. We need to ask ourselves what we value, and how much. What is our way of life worth to us? Because I don't think we're going to get anywhere in this War on Terror if we can't find a good answer to that question.
Posted by: Eric at September 04, 2006 04:03 AM (GqGQo)
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