In an earlier comment on the Houston Conservative webpage, I expressed the opinion that the Iraqis must the ultimate arbiters of what is or is not acceptable in the conduct of this war against the insurgents and terrorists who are killing their and our people. The article was titled Shiite Urges U.S. to Give Iraqis Leeway In Rebel Fight. It expressed the opinion of Abdul Aziz Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Shiite Muslim religious party that leads the transitional government that,
"The more freedom given to Iraqis, the more chance for further progress there would be, particularly in fighting terror.”
I do not believe that it is the place of American diplomats to “instruct” the Iraqi military, the Iraqi provisional government, or the Iraqi people on how they should conduct the war in which they are engaged. The differences between our two cultures vary both morally and culturally. It is arrogance in the extreme for American political correctness to interfere with the leaders of the Iraqi nation, now taking their first fumbling but resolute steps toward a representative form of government, in conducting its war for survival. And that is just exactly what they are doing. The Iraqi nation is now fighting for its very existence. The niceties of our own cultural views on how to conduct a war, impaired and corrupted as they are by the absurd belief that war can be conducted by rules agreed upon in another time and place by cultures which are alien to those currently involved, have no place in the Iraqi war for existence. Just as we have been repeatedly instructed by those on the Left, that Christianity has no claim to moral superiority over Islam (a view with which I’m not entirely certain I agree), it must follow that Western cultural norms and mores have no claim to superiority over those of the Middle East.
The concerns of those in our nation like Extreme Liberal Democrat Senator Dick Durbin and former Attorney General and Erstwhile Betrayer of Our Nation Ramsey Clark over “torture” of the type which so horrified Extreme Liberal Democrat Senator Dick Durbin that he ceremoniously and without apology described our guards at the Guantanamo, Cuba holding facility as using tactics reminiscent of those used “in the Gulags” or “the death camps of Hitler,” are not the concerns of our allies in Iraq. Our cultural standards are not those of our Iraqi allies or of their people. It should be the exclusive province of the Iraqi government as to how the terrorists who are killing innocent Iraqi men, women, and children everyday should be treated, not American Congressmen back safe and sound in their leather bound chairs in their carefully protected offices. We are in Iraq to give the Iraqi people a chance for self government, not to run their government for them. American arm-chair generals who have been brainwashed by the constant bombardment from the left telling them how we must treat our enemy prisoners like honored house guests, believe that war should be clean rather than messy and apparently place no real value on the lives of our soldiers. For them, better a thousand Americans die than one terrorist suffer humiliation.
Each people must be free to choose their own path to freedom. It is a moral imperative that those who enjoy the privileges of freedom should strive to help others to achieve the same. However, once self-determination is achieved, it is not up to other nations to dictate how that nation should develop culturally or morally. In 1776 America was not constrained in our behavior by any outside influences. How we conducted our war for freedom was a decision made by us. Our forefathers were constrained only by their personal beliefs in what was right and what was wrong. Our War for Independence was fought in the manner in which our forefathers chose, not our allies, the French, and certainly not that of our enemies, the British. In the end, this is what must happen in Iraq. They too must be allowed to resolve the conflict in their own way, with the logistical support of our military and with the support of our might where needed, but in a manner consistent with their own cultural standards. Some of their techniques may be questionable by our Western standards, but they are techniques invented by a culture and civilization which is centuries older than ours and may be more acceptable by those standards. We are horrified that thieves in Saudi Arabia may have their right hands cut off. We do not have the moral authority to declare such a punishment as wrong or right. To be certain it is a deterrent to further theft by that individual. Such a punishment is not mere brutality for the sake of brutality, but must be seen in its cultural context. By chopping off a criminal’s right hand, he is ostracized from society. An Arab’s left hand is viewed as “dirty” and socially unacceptable. The threat of being ostracized for life, while it may appear brutal to us in the West, is a mighty deterrent in a tightly knit society bound by Sharia (Islamic Law). Truthfully is such treatment any more “barbaric” than it is for our culture to slap those who would victimize others on the wrist with a 2 year sentence in prison and then return them to the same society to victimize more citizens, again and again? Are we not then complicit in their assault against our own citizens? Are we not then guilty of caring more for the criminal than for the victim of the crime? You tell me which culture has the correct approach.
Political correctness in war is a disease which tells us that it is okay to blow someone up, but somehow it is unacceptable to humiliate or degrade him or his faith when in captivity in order to extract information which might be vital to saving lives. Political correctness tell us that when captured enemy soldiers are “tortured,” the information obtained is useless, that the “victim” of this “torture” will make things up to tell his captors. Yet they will simultaneously claim that there is a “nuclear scenario” in which it may be permissible to subject a prisoner to extreme torture to extract information which could save hundreds of thousands of lives. This is a contradiction which cannot be reconciled, and our own recent experience teaches another lesson.
As a simple example I will refer you to the case of Lt. Colonel Alan B. West, an African American officer who received news that his men had been targeted by a group of thugs associated with an Iraqi policeman named Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi. Hamoodi was apprehended and interrogated for several hours. Witnessing the failure of the interrogators to obtain results and growing frustrated at the risk to his men, Colonel West took Hamoodi outside, shoved his head into a sandbox and threatened to kill him. The Colonel then pulled out his sidearm and fired a warning shot into the sky. West then carefully held Hamoodi’s head aside and fired a shot over Hamoodi’s shoulder, into the Iraqi sand. Hamoodi sand like a canary and the resulting information obtained prevented an ambush of West's troops and resulted in the capture of its intended perpetrators without the Iraqi prisoner being harmed. For his efforts, the diplomatic and military PC police forced him to resign his command or face a court martial for violating the niceties of war, as they saw it. He was cashiered out of the Army and was lucky to retain his pension. West’s crime was offending the sensibilities of our Left-wing media and our Extreme Left-wing Democrat Congressmen. How the war in Iraq is conducted must ultimately fall to the decision of the Iraqi people and their government.
In the end, when “diplomats” and “do-gooders” interject themselves into war, the results are usually devastating. Wars are longer and bloodier, more civilians are killed, the economies of the warring nations can be damaged almost beyond recall, and in the end, Criminal societies are allowed to flourish, because their leaders escape punishment. Abdul Aziz Hakim is correct. It is time for the diplomats to but out and allow the Iraqi soldiers to fight the war in their own manner with our soldiers their to support them and instruct them where needed, but they must be allowed to conduct combat operations by their own ethical standards, not ours. After all, our goal is for them to be capable of protecting themselves without our help, is it not?