OK, I promise not to keep up on this Iraq/politics tip too heavily. But I just wanted to follow up (especially with regards to a recent conversation with LES and P-Ron). First off, we need to disprove the idea that besides Fallujah and Najaf, the rest of Iraq is relatively safe. If you follow the latest reports (and Juan Cole is a great place to visit for that), you’ll know that over the past few days the US has been fighting the Mahdi army in Kufa and Karbala as well as Baghdad. Furthermore this bleak opinion piece notes amongst other things that Western journalists no longer travel outside the “Green zone” (heavily fortified US area of Baghdad) for safety reasons. I know, the Guardian is a lefty commie terrorist-loving rag, but I’d wager journos know what journos are up to, and a shit-ton have been killed in Iraq so it would only make sense.
Secondly, about the prison photo stuff. The issue is whether the pics are the work of a few “crazy kids” or whether it was something ordered by superiors. I have read convincing reports that say the photos were actually part of the procedure, as it meant the MPs / MI officers could conceivably show them to the detainees’ friends and family and make the humiliation even worse. But whether that’s true or not, go read what Powell said, which if you’re lazy is that State told Bush about the Red Cross’ complaints about Abu Ghraib in october. Anyway, this seems to make sense (ignore the sensationalistic headline).
Finally, while we can all have opinions about what’s going on at the moment, the issue is whose opinions will the test of time. Will any of you who supported the war now argue that it was worthwhile, given that the “humanitarian war” argument now boils down to “our press-restricting and torture are better than Saddam’s press-restricting and torture”? I suppose the “flypaper theory” (better to fight terrists over there than over here) is the only one that still holds water, albiet a filthy, nasty sort of water that certainly won’t win you any elections.