Double Standard -- (House of Representatives - May 12, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Garrett) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I rise now to speak on a double standard. Yesterday, the world learned of a young brave man from Philadelphia named Nick Berg. Nick Berg was a 26-year-old man who was in Iraq looking for work with the reconstruction and helping to lend a hand to the people in that country.
But a gruesome video, posted on a radical fundamentalist site, shows this young man, Nick Berg, bound in an orange jumpsuit with five hooded al Qaeda operatives standing behind him. One of those operatives read a prepared statement, pulled a large knife from his pocket, proceeded to push his head to the ground, and then with five strokes of the knife, decapitated Nick Berg and then held the head up to the camera.
I tell you, Mr. Speaker, my thoughts and my prayers go to Nick Berg's family and friends.
I honestly cannot imagine what the family is going through right now and how they must feel, but this act by al Qaeda is a reminder of the evil we face in this world, and it should reinforce this country's determination to win this war against terror.
Yet another concern in the tragic death of Nick Berg is the lack of any forceful response and condemnation from the European nations or the Arab community over this incident.
The worldwide broadcast of the photos of Iraqi prisoners has brought forth outrage by Americans and Iraqis alike, but not surprisingly, the anti-Americans who are already on the radio exploiting that incident as an opportunity to condemn America and Americans, further promoting this double standard of which I speak. Yes, a small number of American soldiers committed crimes against Iraqi prisoners. Those soldiers should be and will be tried and punished accordingly.
However, while explaining our anger over these crimes and our will to punish these people rightfully when found appropriately guilty, calling for the resignation of a Secretary or even appearing over-apologetic for actions at the prison, I think it is a mistake and plays into the hands of the double standard.
The anti-American left, in this country and elsewhere, forever remembers every single American misdeed while forgetting every anti-American and every anti-human atrocity that the terrorists have taken against those who oppose any one of their causes.
Mr. Speaker, what of the media outlets? They detail the outrage of Iraqis based on the images of a few soldiers' crimes against prisoners. They are the same media outlets that showed no remorse, no outrage whatsoever a few years ago, for the thousands of lives that Saddam Hussein killed using his mass graves, nor when the Iraqi crowds in Fallujah burned and mutilated four American contractors and then hung their corpses from a bridge, there was no outrage or remorse.
A while back in an article, Eason Jordan from CNN, he admitted that his network had deliberately covered up and ignored Saddam Hussein's atrocities and they did that just so they
could stay on TV. This policy of caution by CNN is not reflected in their current coverage of the charges against American soldiers.
Although the actions against the Iraqi prisoners are unacceptable, they are not part of the standard procedure here in the United States or in the military treatment of our prisoners. Although al Qaeda states that their actions against Nick Berg are in retaliation for the crimes taken against these prisoners, their actions by al Qaeda in reality are typical of al Qaeda and all their affiliates. Their previous acts of violence against Americans serve as a testament to that fact, such as the attacks of September 11 and the slaying of a Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl.
Mr. Speaker, make no mistake, the slaying of Nick Berg was about a war against the West in general, and America in particular, and we should firmly stand on our commitment to our American morals and values and denounce anti-American acts. However, while we publicly uncover crimes committed by some members of our military against Iraqi prisoners, we should not play into this double standard set by various media outlets, the European community and the Arab community, and the American left where America is condemned and the brutality, terror, and the cold-blooded acts of murder of innocent people by terrorists is left unreported and without condemnation.
As these recent actions show, the terrorists are not bound by any moral conscience. America must maintain its strength and its resolve to win this war on terror.