Sunday, April 5, 2009

American dollars at work: perverts in Iraq, women in Afghanistan, floggings in Pakistan

We cannot rebuild the world in our own image, as much as we would like to pretend.

So we spend billions on propping up societies whose belief systems are abhorrent to our own, in a fruitless quest for an elusive and illusory level of security that could best be achieved (if it's possible at all) through a practice of non-interventionism and trade.

Three offerings for your Sunday reading:

One: homosexuals killed in Baghdad by the militias we bankroll:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, a local official said on Saturday, and police said they had found the bodies of four more after clerics urged a crackdown on a perceived spread of homosexuality.

Homosexuality is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous for gays and lesbians in Iraq since the rise of religious militias after U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein six years ago.

"Two young men were killed on Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor," a Sadr City official who declined to be named said.

The police source who declined to be named said the bodies of four gay men were unearthed in Sadr City on March 25, each bearing a sign reading "pervert" in Arabic on their chests.


Two: Shi'a women restricted to their homes and subject to conjugal rape in a new Afghani law that Prime Minister Karzai swears won't be as bad as we think it will be--even though he's not willing to share the text of the bill that was passed in secret.

Three: The Pakistan Taliban (you know, Pakistan, the country we're planning to send more billions of dollars in foreign aid) is complaining that we've been unfair to them in accepting false reports of a young girl being flogged:

He said the Taliban did not lash the girl.

Instead, they used young boys to award the punishment. He said the accused was a 34-year-old woman and not a 17-year-old girl. He said the woman was punished for her illicit relations with her father-in-law.


Well, that makes it OK: letting young boys lash thirty-something bimbos is completely all right, and certainly should not derail the peace process.

We cannot police the world. Hell, we cannot police Philadelphia or Camden.

But we continue to spend billions and billions in the attempt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First, I should identify myself as an American infantry soldier currently located very close to Baghdad. I am also a registered libertarian.

With that out of the way...it seems rather inaccurate to classify the Mehdi Army as one that the US government "bankrolls", unless there is something important that I am missing (I have been out of the US for some time, and news is sometimes slow to get here).

While it is quite accurate to note that militias here (like the Mehdi) have the influence they do because of US actions in Iraq, this does not in any way mean the US is providing direct monetary support. The government here has a significant budget surplus, and the subsidized groups (such as the Sons of Iraq, for example) receive funds from the Iraqi government...or, at least, they are supposed to. More on that later.

Anyway, I am not aware of even the Iraqi government funding the Mehdi, though, and it appears their funds are coming from supporters in Baghdad and beyond. Al-Sadr is rather popular in many parts of Baghdad and Iraq outside of the 'Sunni Triangle.'

I work closely with both the Iraqi Police and the Iraqi Army here, and they have an adversarial relationship with these militia groups. Further, there have been many actions taken by the IPs against groups like the Mehdi, and it has been causing some stability issues here. To think the Iraqi government would stand for the Americans funding the Mehdi, while the US is (in concert with the IPs and the Iraqi Army) simultaneously conducting offensive operations against these groups, is craziness.

To attribute the recent deaths of homosexuals in Baghdad to the Americans or their actions is suspect; we have left the Iraqis free to establish their own laws and conduct their security operations as they wish. The actions of clerics, who existed and had influence here long before the Americans did, led to overzealous followers executing what they believed to be the will of the cleric. People in the Middle East have been arbitrarily killing homosexuals long before we were here. Americans do enough of their own killing of homosexuals in the US anyway.

The goal here in Iraq is not peace in a domestic sense but instead in a military / geopolitical sense. The murder of homosexuals falls outside the interest of the American government, and...well...as a libertarian, I will take whatever degree of laissez-faire policy here that I can get. Let the Iraqis deal with things like this as they wish, and do so without our interference (and there is none, we are not paying the Mehdi).

A final note on the Sons of Iraq; some of them have been experiencing pay issues, and there has been an increase in anti-coalition activity by rogue SOI personnel. It would not surprise me (but it would anger me significantly) if the US decides to subsidize these groups, at least in the short term.