A Week of Horror
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It's been a terrible week with the horrifying public murder—by beheading—of 26-year-old Nicholas Berg in Iraq. Probably hoping to launch anti-war sentiment over the top, the evil Abu Musab al-Zarqawi recorded the killing of the young American civilian and posted this vile horror on the Internet for the entire world to see. Instead, he disgusted and angered the Western world and even turned the sentiment of some in the Arab world against him and his cause of terror.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a terrorist whose strength is on the rise. He has murdered many in Iraq and other countries. He is thought to be responsible for the bombings of mosques in March 2004 that killed nearly 150 people and is a constant instigator in the assaults on coalition forces. Since the beginning of the Iraq war, he is the suspected killer of 700 people in Europe and Iraq.
He is linked to the Madrid train bombings, as well as to foiled plots to launch chemical bomb attacks in England and France. Most recently, he was tied to a bomb plot that Jordanian authorities intercepted just in the nick of time—a plan that could have killed as many as 80,000 people.
In many ways, he is more brazen than his more famous counterpart, Osama bin Laden. Some say he is a rival of Bin Laden. Others say he is a comrade. Secretary of State Colin Powell called him part of the al Qaeda network in his pre-war speech before the UN. In spite of a $10 million price on his head, al-Zarqawi travels throughout Iraq, perhaps with family help. He is a descendant of a nomadic tribe, the Beni Hassan. Like many tribes, his does not live within just one country, but rather in several. With its help, he could hide and travel in relative ease.
Even though his sadistic, brutal murder of Nick Berg tarnished his image with some Arabs, it gained him favor with the many thousands of radical Wahhabi Muslims. If he survives the intense manhunt, he has the makings of a terrible enemy of the West for years to come.
Just as the murder became known, the U.S. Congress was grilling defense department and army officials over the Abu Graib prisoner abuse scandal. Many senators and congressmen seemed more intent on embarrassing their own government than on discovering the extent of the abuse. Britain has its own potential scandal with stories now emerging of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners under British control.
The scandal at Abu Graib took on an entirely new dimension with the revelation of videos and still photos of American soldiers cavorting in sex play—not with prisoners, but with each other, and sometimes in front of Iraqi prisoners. More than young people giving in to the passions of the flesh, the subjects of the videos were doing things (and photographing themselves in the act) that left those who saw the videos repulsed and sickened.
Nor is it lost on the world that among the Congressmen who are probing this deepening wound on America's reputation are people notoriously immoral themselves.
It's been a cheerless week indeed. How sad it is that the great and generous countries of the United States and Britain, which have led the way in the moral war against terror, sacrificing the blood of the youth and their national wealth, are being torn apart by rot from within.
I'm reminded of the prophet's words about ancient Israel (the northern half of which is symbolized by the name of its leading tribe, "Ephraim"), when it did not realize that it was aging, that its strength was failing. It tried to prop itself up with alliances throughout the Middle East, but their allies failed them.
"Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it. And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, but they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek Him for all this" (Hosea 7:8-10).
We see this sad chapter in Israel's history beginning to play out again in her modern descendants, the United States and Great Britain. For the broader picture, against the backdrop of prophecy, request or download our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.