Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Fucking Shame

Professor Juan Cole and Helena Cobban report on an incident in which a member of the government of Iraq was assaulted and humiliated by US troops.

I was going to say "member of the newly formed government", but it's been eigthy days, and that is quite enough time to drop the "new" status.

Correction: [22 Apr 2005] Iraq does not have a government yet. That has yet to be formed by the national assembly. Fattah al-Sheik is a member of the assembly, not the government.

Read Mr. Cole's account for the details. I quote Fattah al-Sheik, the person concerned (and mishandled), via Ms. Cobban:

"What happened to me represents an insult to the whole National Assembly that was elected by the Iraqi people. This shows that the democracy we are enjoying is fake," al-Sheik said. "Through such incidents, the U.S. Army tries to show that it is the real controlling power in the country, not the new Iraqi government."

Insult to the whole national Assembly: TRUE
The [Iraqi] democracy is a fake: TRUE
The army tries to show that it is the real controlling power: TRUE

I understand that, to help the soldiers to survive and keep their morale -- and in many ways, morale and survival are dependent on each other -- a certain attitude needs to be fostered. That attitude says "We're the best, fuck the rest". Why do you think so many Brits were shot down by Americans?

And this brings me to the central mess of the whole affair: What we need (for Iraq to become a stable democracy) is peacekeeper troops, not soldiers. We need less of the "shoot anything that moves" type of guy, and more of the de-escalation-savvy people. However, Iraq is by all accounts still extremely unsafe to be in, and keeping the peace is not enough when there still are daily bombings and attacks close to Baghdad and the supposedly safe Green Zone.

This is one of the few times where I simply don't have an answer. Show more respect and get cut down by the next suicide bomber who poses as a member of parliament? Submit every member of the ruling body to daily examination and humiliation?

The whole thing's a mess.

1 Comments:

Blogger Admin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home