Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Why did we go into Iraq, again?
So, conditions at a detention facility run by the Iraqi Interior Ministry were so bad that the people found there by US forces during Sunday's raid looked like Holocaust survivors.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Conditions — including the use of torture — at a secret Baghdad detention facility run by the Iraqi Interior ministry were so “horrific” that some of the scores of men held there looked “like Holocaust survivors” when they were found, sources in the Iraqi government told NBC News on Wednesday.
Reporting from Baghdad, NBC News correspondent Mike Boettcher on Wednesday said sources close to the investigation of the facility told him that photos of the detainees show “people covered in welts from torture. They show torture devices. They show men so emaciated they look like Holocaust survivors.”
Iraq’s deputy minister of the interior, in whose headquarters building the secret prison was found by U.S. forces Sunday, told Boettcher that “he had never seen anything like this in his life.”
I guess we now know who is the successor to the Saddam Hussein official who denied that US tanks were in Baghdad when they were driving down the street behind him. It is the current deputy interior minister who claims that he has never seen anything in his life like what was going on inside his own headquarters.
And these are supposed to be the 'good guys,' the democratically elected Iraqi government we installed.
I will commend the American forces for conducting this raid, although it was certainly no secret in Iraq what was happening, and charges that this was happening have been around the internet for months.
True, the people doing the torturing include some who were tortured under Saddam, and some of the victims were those who were torturers then. What this points out though, is something my father (who lived for several years in Syria and Lebanon as a child) could have told them anyway (if he was still around to say it): The middle east is an incredibly complex place that is full of intense personal, family, religious, tribal and ethnic vendettas that in some cases date back literally to the beginning of civilization. The idea that we are somehow going to just make them all get along with each other and live in a peaceful democracy is a pipe dream.
What we do see though is this: 1) there is torture being conducted by the government in Iraq now, just as there was three years ago. 2) there are no WMD's now, just as there were none three years ago. 3) there are terrorists in Iraq now, far more than there were three years ago.
So, remind me again... why are we there?