Sunday, November 27, 2005

You can't have it both ways

The Observer reports Human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record, according to the country's first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam's regime. 'People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse,' Ayad Allawi told The Observer. 'It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.' In a damning and wide-ranging indictment of Iraq's escalating human rights catastrophe, Allawi accused fellow Shias in the government of being responsible for death squads and secret torture centres. The brutality of elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam's secret police, he said.

But WaPo reports The leader of Iraq's most powerful political party has called on the United States to let Iraqi fighters take a more aggressive role against insurgents, saying his country will only be able to defeat the insurgency when the United States lets Iraqis get tough. "The more freedom given to Iraqis, the more chance for further progress there would be, particularly in fighting terror," said Abdul Aziz Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Shiite Muslim religious party that leads the transitional government and whose armed wing is the most feared of Iraq's many factional forces.

Which is it? Are the Americans holding the Iraqis back, and not letting them get tough with the insurgents, or are things worse than under Saddam? I suspect we are being a moderating influence, but that some times they are reverting to the old ways. I can't really blame the Shias, because the insurgents are killing innocent civilians, trying to start a civil war. They are not reacting in kind, and killing innocent Sunnis, but they are taking some Sunnis prisoner and mistreating them in secret torture centers, or targeting them with death squads. But what is worse, killing the insurgents with death squads, or setting off car bombs and killing innocent worshipers at a mosque, or killing policemen at a police office.

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