Sunday, August 8, 2004

So it turns out that like a day after the Iraqi handover a bunch of guys from the Oregon National Guard caught Iraqi jailers torturing Iraqi prisoners, which is really bad. But they rescued them, which is really good! But then their superiors told them to give the tortured Iraqis back to their jailers, which is really bad again.
In a nearby building, the soldiers counted dozens more prisoners and what appeared to be torture devices -- metal rods, rubber hoses, electrical wires and bottles of chemicals. Many of the Iraqis, including one identified as a 14-year-old boy, had fresh welts and bruises across their back and legs.

The soldiers disarmed the Iraqi jailers, moved the prisoners into the shade, released their handcuffs and administered first aid. Lt. Col. Daniel Hendrickson of Albany, Ore., the highest ranking American at the scene, radioed for instructions.

But in a move that frustrated and infuriated the guardsmen, Hendrickson's superior officers told him to return the prisoners to their abusers and immediately withdraw.
"You gotta use discipline on a young country," says Giblets. "Otherwise it won't grow up with the right values. Spare the gonad electrocution, spoil the child."
"But won't torture corrupt the government an make the people angrier and more hostile?" says me. "An won't they hate us more for letting the new government torture them?"
"Oh-hoho," says the Medium Lobster. "You poor, ignorant little Fafnir. You must understand: Iraq is going through a transitional period right now. It would be wrong for us to shock them with the presence of strange, new, unfamiliar cultural elements, such as 'not-torture' and 'not-oppression.' The key phrase here, Fafnir, is 'transition'."

Meanwhile Iraq's new Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has banned the TV network Al Jazeera for the next 30 days after accusin it of "inciting hatred" an actin "against the interests of security, the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people."

"But how is this different from politically-motivated censorship?" says me.
"Well you can't have a democracy without some politically-motivated censorship," says Giblets. "Giblets expects a Kerry Administration to ban Fox News across the country, just like George Bush would probably ban that, yknow, that big liberal network that does nothin but push anti-Bush propaganda. SpikeTV."
"Oh-hoho," says the Medium Lobster. "Sometimes too much freedom can mean no freedom at all, Fafnir. You wouldn't have the Iraqi people drowning in chaos and anarchy, would you?"
"No, but..."
"Well, you do have to start somewhere," says the Medium Lobster. "Today it will be a free and unfettered press. Tomorrow it will be mass raping and slaughter in the streets."
"Very messy," says Giblets.

Today Iraq's interim government reinstated the death penalty. "Yesterday we announced an amnesty. Today the death penalty. Choose one of them," explained a spokesman.

"So doesn't this mean that Iraq can arrest anyone it wants, torture them an execute them, an close down any news outfit that reports on it?" says me.
"Sure," says Giblets. "You need a big stick to get a handle on that place."
"But how is that much different than Saddam?" says me.
"Oh-hoho," says the Medium Lobster. "These matters, little Fafnir, are far too complicated for your tiny little brain to comprehend."

Well the Medium Lobster is a whole lot smarter than me so I guess he's right. But for a while there it looked like somebody broke Iraqi Freedom.
posted by fafnir at 11:01 PM



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