Cage the Songbird in Iraq?
This story from the Washington Times is short on real numbers, relying merely on phrases like "hot market," "brisk business," and "best seller," but apparently despite official occupying force bans on "any sort of public expression used in an institutionalized sense that would incite violence against the coalition or Iraqis," a form of old-fashioned Sufi praise music with lyrics like "America has come and occupied Baghdad, the army and people have weapons and ammunition. Let's go fight and call out the name of God" is getting popular in Sunni areas of Iraq.
For more on the occupying force reaction to this story than the Washington Times provides, see this essay by Lew Rockwell. An excerpt:
The US has strict censorship against "any sort of public expression used in an institutionalized sense" that would "incite violence against the coalition." This was spelled out in an Orwellian news conference in which Daniel Senor was trying to figure out if the US would crack down on those who sold the music.
The problem, as Senor pointed out, is that the edict against unapproved politics:
"does not reference music specifically. But I could talk to our lawyers and find out if music would apply. You can follow up with me after that. But I would think that any sort of public expression used in sort of an institutionalized sense, in some sort of institutionalized media that would incite violence against the coalition, incite violence against the Iraqis, would be subjected to this decree. But I can check on that."
The Iraqi people are free so long as they say and do only what the occupation military government tells them to do. Between 10,000 and 20,000 people being detained (the low number claimed by the US, the high number by human rights groups) for engaging in anti-coalition thoughts, words, or deeds. If you think that is striking enough ? and what American doesn't shudder at the thought of his own government becoming someone else's despotism? ? consider something even more alarming: the US doesn't consider this abnormal.
Listen to these words in defense of military censorship in Iraq: "That is a decree that was modeled after similar policies and similar standards and guidelines in the United States, in the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere."
In short, the US is claiming that it could round up 10,000 to 20,000 Americans and hold them without trial on the mere suspicion of wrongdoing ? which could consist only of writing and selling a popular song that takes an anti-regime political view. Many people warn that this is precisely what the administration's Patriot Act makes possible.
Just so we are clear: an official spokesman has said that what is going on right now in Iraq is based wholly on laws currently in effect in the US. You might point this out the next time someone calls you an alarmist for saying that the Bush administration is ushering in tyranny. What is even more troubling is that the Bush administration calls what is happening in Iraq freedom itself.