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.