The Murder of Atwar Bahjat

By
May 7, 2006

Undoubtedly, some will grab onto the horrific murder of Atwar Bahjat as justification for why the war in Iraq is wrong. She was murdered in late February, but a new video has brought the truely evil and gruesome details to light.

EVEN by the stupefying standards of Iraq’s unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country’s top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty.

But, like Greyhawk, I disagree that this depraved murder results primarily from America’s war in Iraq. To begin with, the perpetrators were obviosuly sadists. And they were likely that long before there was a war. Also, Atwar Bahjat detested the violence in her country. No doubt she would have wanted the war to end. The difference between her and her murderers is that she wanted it to end with a united and free Iraq. Those that killed her did not. They seek victory not for peace, but for the perpetuation of their own unique from of brutality against all humanity.

They are the reason and justification for the war, not a rational for it to end – and certainly not one minute before they and others like them are imprisoned or killed.

The voice of one of the Arab world’s most highly regarded and outspoken journalists has been silenced. She was 30.

The details are graphic and I am placing them below.

By the time filming begins, the condemned woman has been blindfolded with a white bandage.

It is stained with blood that trickles from a wound on the left side of her head. She is moaning, although whether from the pain of what has already been done to her or from the fear of what is about to be inflicted is unclear.

Just as Bahjat bore witness to countless atrocities that she covered for her television station, Al-Arabiya, during Iraq’s descent into sectarian conflict, so the recording of her execution embodies the depths of the country’s depravity after three years of war.

A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.

Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.

Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera.

The voice of one of the Arab world’s most highly regarded and outspoken journalists has been silenced. She was 30.

The friend, who cannot be identified, knew nothing of her beheading but had been guarding other horrifying details of Bahjat’s ordeal. She had nine drill holes in her right arm and 10 in her left, he said. The drill had also been applied to her legs, her navel and her right eye. One can only hope that these mutilations were made after her death…

There is a wider significance to the appalling footage and the accompanying details. The film appears to show for the first time an Iraqi death squad in action.



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Comments:
  1. annie says:

    Thank you for posting this information Dan.
    Truly horrific, yet this kind of thing had been going on for years when Saddam Hussein was in power.
    The people who are saying we should never have gone into Iraq ought to consider how many people were being tortured and murdered in such horrific ways for years by Saddam and his thugs, and ask themselves, would they rather the US had ignored all that, like the rest of the world did, and let it continue. Who cares they didn’t find those WMD’s (yet), there must surely be some consolation that the rape rooms and torture chambers of Saddam are no longer.
    This woman had been given a taste of the true sense of freedom, and she was willing to die for it.
    That is, ultimately, what this is all about!!

  2. Richard Romano says:

    The rotten filthy murderers who did this will face justice in this life, or the next. This was is justified when murderers like this are loose to perpetrate such brutality on innocence. The bleeding heart left is complict in this matter–they want full withdrawal without realizing that this would leave untild thousands of innocent Iraqis in the hands of brutal sadistic killers like these. Cowards love to stand up for other cowards…”misery loves company.” For shame…we should mourn and weep the senseless murder of this young woman.

  3. Richard Romano says:

    The rotten filthy murderers who did this will face justice in this life, or the next. This war is justified when murderers like this are loose to perpetrate such brutality on innocence. The bleeding heart left is complict in this matter–they want full withdrawal without realizing that this would leave untild thousands of innocent Iraqis in the hands of brutal sadistic killers like these. Cowards love to stand up for other cowards…”misery loves company.” For shame…we should mourn and weep the senseless murder of this young woman.

  4. hobo says:

    I wonder how well these atrocities are publicized on Iraqi TV? Since I have some faith in [that segment] of humanity, hopefully such behavior, being so distasteful, would bring some repercussions. My son is a company commander in the Army and has some soldiers in his unit who have been to Iraq at least twice. He told me tonight that after the Americans built stores and supermarkets and bombers would come in and blow the places up, the local Iraqis who caught them would hang them from the nearest pole. He said that a new Lieutenant wanted to have them cut down, but one of the old grizzled Sergeants said, no, it served as a message that the Iraqi’s wanted to take back their country from the insurgents.

  5. Religion of Peace update: The Murder of Atwar Bahj

    Yes, the kind, gentle followers of Islam that bring us jihad are at the forefront of women’s rights and gender equity. It turns out that when it comes to having one’s head sawed off with a butcher knife, women are every bit as equal as men.
    Pleas…

  6. MrsLevy'sNiece says:

    This story sounds phoney. Was it written by a sadist who gets off
    on torturing women?
    MrsLevy’sNiece

  7. InfidHell says:

    The Islamists have proved that women are equal to men in the religion of peace after all, atleast in beheadings.

  8. frenchymom says:

    I am appalled and horrified at what this woman had to go through. These type of animals who use Islam and the war as their excuse for killing are so cowardly and malicious that there are no words that can accurately portray them. They are obviously people who gain joy from murder, increased ego and masculinity from having others view their actions.
    I can’t say that I have always thought the war was a good move, however, reading this certainly brings more credit to the war. After all these animals are serial killers and are no different than weapons of mass destruction, just on a smaller scale…SO FAR..If they have their way, they would certainly bring it forth on a larger scale.
    I have a copy of the Koran and have read it. It most certainly does not paint this as acceptable behavior in any way. Those of you who haven’t read it might want to..you might be surprised how closely it resembles the christian beliefs and bibles…
    What a sick and sad world we live in. Thank you Dan for keeping your eyes open and for helping us keep ours open as well.
    My prayers are with Atwar’s family and friends and those that still live in that region.