Political Liberty in Iraq


Demonstrating for Saddam is right out, as this Iraqi teenager profiled in Slate learned. He and some school buddies were dragged out of school by nearly a hundred soldiers and taken into custody for allegedly attending a pro-Saddam rally back shortly after his regime fell. An excerpt:

"They [the American soldiers] are civil in a way," Ibrahim said. "They are afraid of the situation here, and that's why they behave badly." But he is not intimidated by them. His family has seen plenty of American injustice. His father (something to do with the former government, though exactly what Ibrahim wouldn't say) has been detained three times, his uncle twice. His cousin was shot in the leg at an American checkpoint when he didn't understand what the soldier was shouting. His grandmother had three and a half kilos of gold and an heirloom diamond necklace taken during a nighttime raid on her house. All run-of-the-mill, unverifiable stories of the kind I have heard many times.

The Americans questioned Ibrahim and the others and determined that they were just schoolboys protesting; there had been no particular resistance involvement.

"I would have preferred not to have done it," said Lt. Col. Quintas, while acknowledging that the operation at the school had been undertaken on his initiative, "But they need to understand that they are not allowed to do this and that there are consequences."

And yes, I saw the part where the kid seems to admire Hitler.