Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Iraqi blogger arrested for expressing his views.

by Eternal Hope Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 03:42:20 PM EST

In his recent national address, George Bush claimed that Iraq was a democratic government which will inspire democracy to spread around the Middle East. However, this has turned out to be yet another lie. I wonder if the Bush administration thinks the Biblical commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness" is quaint and obsolete.

The Iraqi government has arrested Khalid, an Iraqi blogger who has been speaking out against the American occupation in Iraq. They have failed to charge him with a crime. I suggest that the Iraqi government is holding him hostage in order to frighten the rest of his family, the rest of them bloggers, from speaking out. He is the son of Faiza, an outspoken critic of the war, whose work I have highlighted elsewhere.

Faiza's family is a living example of what Iraq must be like if they are to survive as a nation. Some of them are Sunni; some of them are Shiite. They do not care whether you are Shiite or Sunni. They were friends of the late peace activist Maria Ruzicka. They are not insurgents; they are actively working with peace groups to build a more peaceful Iraq.

The Iraqi government, in this arrest, is seeking to hold him hostage in order to silence Faiza and the rest of her family. In so doing, they are adopting the tactics of Al-Qaeda, the group they claim to hate. The problem is not that the Bush administration and the Iraqi government is the moral equivalent; it is that they are not different enough. In a lot of respects, they are like Boromir, the man from Gondor in Lord of the Rings, who believed that in order to defeat the Dark Lord, the Captains of the West had to take up the One Ring to use against him.

The problem with the taking of the One Ring to use against Sauron was that it could be done -- but that the wearer would be corrupted and become just like the Dark Lord himself. That is the abyss that the Iraqi government is headed towards with such arrests. That is also the abyss that the Bush administration is headed towards with the arrest of Leonard Clark, an American soldier who was blogging against the administration's war.

The family has not been told about what crimes Kahlid has been charged with:

My dad said that Khalid mentioned something about his writings or his blog. We're not sure whether our blogs are the reason behind the abduction of my brother, but it's one of the possible scenarios. In case if they were, we'll stand for our political values of anti-violence, anti-occupation, pro-dialogue, pro-free speech, and all of the other honourable stands that my family has taken in our lifetime.

Our goal now is to ask the mokhabarat to take my brother to court and reveal what exactly he is being charged with (if anything).

By contrast, I witnessed an arrest in my hometown yesterday. I was struck by the professionalism of the police officer, as he administered sobriety tests to the person he was arresting. The person knew exactly what he was being charged with, what his rights were, and was given phone access to his lawyer and his family.

At the recent NAACP Convention, DNC Party Chairman Howard Dean gave a rousing speech in which he talked about how we cannot exploit people by dividing them. It was an outstanding speech, and one that has been deservedly praised. But I want to go one step further with what he said -- we cannot use labels to divide people in Iraq. That is what is causing the bombings, killings, and dying that is happening at an accelerating rate. With truth squads in Basra torturing and making death threats against people not like them and the recent reports of the Iraqi Interior Ministry practicing torture and killing off Sunnis, the administration has not once spoken out against these human rights outrages.

Middle East Professor Juan Cole has taken up the cause of Khalid, providing the address of the Iraqi embassy:

1801 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 483-7500

Embassy hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 AM - 5 PM
Consular Section hours: Tuesday-Thursday 10 AM - 3 PM

Please note: iraqia.washington@netzero.com will continue to operate. However, the new general e-mail address is admin@iraqiembassy.org.

Riverbend Blog has also picked up the story.Update: Here is a link to a petition to free Khalid.

by Eternal Hope on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 03:42:39 PM EST
Gosh... and Raed actually reports this as good news, because his brother wasn't killed by some gang/Badr brigades/police or diseppeared in the US gular!...

Also, via Raed, here is this chilling quote Raed's girlfriend found on a soldierblog:

"I'm going to probably buy alot of candy when I goto the PX in the camp. That way, I can hand it out to the kids. They'll be more likely to help us avoid things we wouldn't otherwise be able to avoid if not for them"

Reminder: the 24 children killed by a suicide bomber recently were taking cadies from soldiers, who were the target of said suicide bomber, driving a minivan from a side street.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 05:15:06 PM EST
I didn't know where Raed's allegation came from; there was a big fight over that over at Kos.

The next question to ask is, is this just individual soldiers, or is this how they are trained to prevent suicide bombings?

The soldiers in that person's unit deserve our thoughts and prayers. I feel they have already been punished when they heard about their comrades and all those children being killed.

The lion's share of responsibility for this goes to the bombers and the Bush administration. This just goes to show how much these suicide bombers have been taught to eliminate their consciences from the equation. Whoever thought up this method of fighting has a sick and twisted mind.

The Bush administration bears responsibility for this as well. If I were a war planner, this would have been one of the first scenarios that I would have thought of, and I would have worked out ways of preventing such a tragedy.

But the Bush administration claimed during the leadup to the war that the Iraqi children would greet us with flowers and kisses. They encouraged this sort of behavior. In so doing they were exploiting the Iraqi children for propaganda purposes; pictures of American soldiers handing out candy is the sort of thing that makes war cheerleader's days.

And the handing out of candy during a bomb alert was a military blunder. The soldiers had come specifically in response to a bomb threat; this tells me that our war planners never properly trained our soldiers in how to handle such situations, even though this was not the first time this has happened.

Iraq War news and comment.

by Eternal Hope on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 06:15:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lion's share of responsibility for this goes to the bombers and the Bush administration. This just goes to show how much these suicide bombers have been taught to eliminate their consciences from the equation. Whoever thought up this method of fighting has a sick and twisted mind.

Now call me cynical, but how is anything you said different from any other types of fighting? (Say, dropping 1000lbs bombs on Fallujah?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 06:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as supplement, I recount again what I read in Chuck Yeager's autobiography. Yeager was the test pilot who first flew faster than the speed of sound, but he was also a WWII fighter plane ace before. I had much respect for him (since seeing The Right Stuff), and it was an interesting book, but there was one sickening part in it.

He tells about taking part in a 'punitive' mission when pilots were assigned rectangular areas in Germany, in which they had to shoot everyone on sight. Yeager writes he had a bad feeling about this, but he was taught to eliminate his consience from the equation and obeyed orders.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 06:32:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not disagreeing at all. All I'm saying is that they have to live with this sort of thing for the rest of their lives. They deserve our prayers, sympathy, and forgiveness. Many soldiers have an awareness of human suffering that most other people don't have.

The Bush administration, on the other hand, has no such awareness of human suffering. Dick Cheney will sit in his office and instruct his secretaries not to let him see anything that doesn't fit his worldview. These administration people never served in the military, and have no idea what a soldier goes through; they dodged the Vietnam draft, and then they send other people off to die. As long as it doesn't happen to them, that's fine with them.

But you have a valid point that it's easier to see what is wrong with the bombing when they do it as opposed to us doing it. Same with the 9/11 bombings or the London bombings. If we don't want something to happen to us, like the 9/11 bombings, we should not do it to other people. Having said that, it would be safe to say that the administration's minds are twisted as well. It works both ways.

Iraq War news and comment.

by Eternal Hope on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 07:31:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]