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Baghdad Streets: Kidnapped American Style

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By White House standards, it's hard to be a "patriot" these days. I know that dissent is as American as apple pie but during "wartime" dissent can be a dicey business. And it is extremely challenging to proudly stand behind the red, white and blue — no matter how much one might want to do so — when our government and military behave in ways that defy logic and common sense. To some extent, I envy evangelicals and neo-conservatives. They have it easy. They believe. They don't question. They don't even feel the need to question. Their brains float like lovely water lilies in a placid pond of opaque water.

This Sunday's Mad Hatter's Tea Party news out of Iraq is that American forces have ambushed and arrested several Iranian diplomats off the streets of Baghdad. Some of these diplomats are invited guests of the legally-elected Iraqi president who we claim to support and honor.

In one ambush American forces stopped an official Iranian Embassy car carrying two Iranian diplomats, one or two Iranian guards and an Iraqi driver. Iraqi officials said that the diplomats had been praying at the Buratha mosque and that when it was stopped, the car was in the Allawi neighborhood, a few minutes from the Iranian Embassy.

All in the car were detained by the Americans. The mosque’s Imam, Sheik Jalal al-deen al-Sageir, a member of Parliament from Mr. Hakim’s party, said one of the Iranians had come to pray during the last day of mourning for his mother, who recently died. He said that after the Iranians left, the Iranian Embassy phoned to say that they had not arrived as expected. “We were afraid they were kidnapped,” Sheik Sageir said.

Of course they were kidnapped by Americans operating outside Iraqi and international law, but no one dare make that accusation when the kidnappers are wearing American uniforms.

Are the seized Iranians masterminds behind Iraqi violence? Perhaps. But does that possibility really matter as much as American disregard for due process, Iraqi sovereignty and international law regarding the immunity of members of the diplomatic core? Are we at war with Iran? Is Iraq at war with Iran?

All of the Iranian diplomats seized by American forces this past Sunday are guests of the supposedly legal and American-recognized government of Iraq. If the United States had proof of criminal activity wouldn't the legal course have been to provide this evidence to Iraqi authorities, especially considering that some of the diplomats are personally invited guest of the Iraqi president himself?

Rather our military seizes these people off the streets switching democracy and law on and off at whim, shining a blinding and unflattering light on the fact that the democratically elected Iraqi government and President are nothing but a sham.

Once again, the United States in its blind arrogance has put it's huge military boot in it's toothless mouth, stumbling though the current crisis like a clumsy bully trampling on law, common sense and any semblance of intelligent diplomatic strategy.

This series of arrests may provide some evidence that some Iranians are in communication with Iraqi Shiites who are fighting against the American occupation; but these arrests have more importantly dealt another huge blow to American credibility and the legitimacy and credibility of the Iraqi government.

We cannot be in the business of invading sovereign nations based on imaginary threats and obvious lies. And now, some years later, we cannot be in the business of treating international law, diplomatic protocols and a so-called democratically elected Iraqi government and president as ephemera subject to American moods.

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About Ricky

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    This may indeed be a huge and unjustified blunder by the US military – not that we have any evidence either way at this point. But what irritates me about your assessment is your repeated implication that the Iraqi government is in some way not legitimately elected. There may be all sorts of problems in Iraq and with their government’s management of the country, but the one thing that’s absolutely certain is the legitimacy of their election.

    Dave

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    I apologize if I wasn’t clear in my characterization of the Iraqi government. I agree that it is a legally elected government; however, the American military is treating it like a puppet. These kidnapping show a complete disregard for the policy of the Iraqi president and Iraqi efforts to forge a productive relationship with it’s closet neighbor.

  • Bliffle

    RR: I think you’re right.

    This is demonstrative of the kind of problems that the ignorant and unthinking ideologues of BushCo have let us in for with their precipitous and unwarranted rush to war in Iraq. Look at all the damage they’ve done and try to find some good that they’ve done. And I mean good that they’ve done for the USA, don’t trot out these fake arguments about what a bad guy Saddam was and how much we’ve liberated the Iraqi people.

    The Iraq invasion is a loser all around: we’ve spent an enormous amount of money, depleted our army, alienated people around the world including former allies and left a big mess for future generations. All for pride, ego and vanity.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I think we need to know more about this incident – there’s every possibility that the Iraqi government was in on the whole plan – but I suspect it speaks to the military’s frustration with being in Iraq when they really ought to be confronting Iran directly, since Iran has always been the real enemy.

    Dave

  • Henry B

    I’d agree that the Iraqi govt is elected, but that isn’t the same as having sovereign power. That level of power is held by, I assume, the US govt.

  • Sherilyn

    Iran is not the “enemy”. Remember Iran once tried a real democracy in the 1950s that the US foiled in their attempt to control the region’s oil.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    And in what way does that make them our friends and allies, Sherilyn?

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    One would have to be daft to take this seriously:

    “…the military’s frustration with being in Iraq when they really ought to be confronting Iran directly, …”

  • http://www.holtww.com Marc Holt

    So why are you surprised?