Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mideast Mess

Friedman had it right in todays editorial (with regards to Iraq):

Our first priority is democracy, but the Arabs' first priority is "justice." The oft-warring Arab tribes are all wounded souls, who really have been hurt by colonial powers, by Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, by Arab kings and dictators, and, most of all, by each other in endless tribal wars. For Iraq's long-abused Shiite majority, democracy is first and foremost a vehicle to get justice. Ditto the Kurds. For the minority Sunnis, democracy in Iraq is a vehicle of injustice. For us, democracy is all about protecting minority rights. For them, democracy is first about consolidating majority rights and getting justice.

Just read the first part of the Iraqi constitution: it isn't about securing rights -- it's about Islam and legislating god's will.

Such a constitution has little chance of being the basis of a liberal republic.

Now Bush is talking about sending more troops in. Its far too late for late. Even 50,000 more troops means about 11-13,000 more combatants -- tops. That simply isn't gonna make a difference. Shia and Sunni want to kill each other -- its out of our hands.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Where are the good guys?

Yeah, its been a long while, but I just read an article worth commenting on.

From the NY Times: Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment, the story of an American who was detained by our forces.

One night in mid-April, the steel door clanked shut on detainee No. 200343 at Camp Cropper, the United States military’s maximum-security detention site in Baghdad.

American guards arrived at the man’s cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.

The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.


The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.

But when American soldiers raided the company at his urging, Mr. Vance and another American who worked there were detained as suspects by the military, which was unaware that Mr. Vance was an informer, according to officials and military documents.

Supposedly, his initial detention had been a mistake, but even after learning he was an American security contractor -- and whistle-blower -- he was still held, supposedly as a "threat", without access to council or recource.

What have we become?

I guess this is how we are bringing democracy to the middle east: allowing overzealos "terrorist fighters" to do what they wish in the name of national security. Rights? Who needs them...

He was finally released two months later -- only after his jailers decided it was time to revisit his case... and who luckily decided he didn't really pose a threat after all.

Sounds more like Saddam's methods than those of US Forces.

OBL and his ilk "won" far more than they could have hoped for with their attacks of 9/11. By murdering 3000 of our citizens while a paranoid incompetent was in office, he was able to cripple our entire form of government.