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June 12, 2004

Iraq: caged by fear

This is the document that concluded that, as commander in chief in time of war, President George W. Bush is bound neither by federal law nor the tenets of the Geneva Conventions that ban torture as a means of extracting information from detainees. So we have the imperial president saying that torture is okay when it is used to fight terrorism.

There is a lengthening shadow cast by torturing people in the name of freedom; a shadow called legalizing torture.


You can understand why the strategists of the Bush-Cheney re-election team are now trying to benefit from the memory of Ronald Reagan--ie., Bush is the true heir of Reagan. Bush is trying to bask in Reagan's legacy.

At the G8 Seal Island summit Bush talked in terms of undermining "the appeal of terror by supporting the advance of liberty and prosperity throughout the world, especially in the broader Middle East. The momentum of freedom there is building. A free Iraq is rising in the heart of that vital region. "

Below are two extracts that describe everyday life in Baghdad from the perspective of Christopher Allbritton, who writes the Back to Iraq 3 weblog. He says:

Baghdad is also an incredibly stressful place to live and work, especially as a westerner, as Ive mentioned. Were targets, and when you look very western, like I do, youre constantly aware of eyes on you and the hostility. At restaurants, the waiters sullenly clear your table, sometimes being none too careful about keeping chai or food from spilling on you. The kindness I encountered last year is absent; a western face brings a sullen welcome, calibrated to the bare minimum."

And again:

"...this war defies comprehension. Its so stupid and there seems to be no point to anything that happens here. People die on a daily basis in random, terrifying attacks. And for what? Freedom? Stability? Peace? There is none of that here and its likely there wont be after the Americans leave. Iraq has spiraled into a dark place, much worse than where it was a year ago during the war. There is no freedom from the fear that is stoked by mutual hatred, cynicism and an apprehension about the future. So what if one side has superior firepower? Every bullet fired helps kill souls on both sides of this war, whether it hits flesh or lands harmlessly."

The war in Iraq has gone awry.

The G8 Seal Island summit highlights the way that the Bush adminstration's aims to nurture democracy in the Middle East is a set of principles rather than a plan of action. The reality is legalized torture.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at June 12, 2004 05:05 PM

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