Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Bad Bush - No Bases for You!

US military checkpoints apparently sometimes treat Iraqi legislators the way John Bolton treats subordinates:
A tearful member of the Iraqi parliament, Fattah al-Shaikh, stood up before other MPs and told the story of how he was attacked and detained by US troops when he attempted to enter the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area near downtown Baghdad where parliament is held and the US embassy is situated. Wire services report that he said, '“I don’t speak English and so I said to the Iraqi translator with them, ‘Tell them that I am a member of parliament’, and he replied, ‘To hell with you, we are Americans.'" '

Al-Hayat reported that al-Shaikh, a member of the Muqtada al-Sadr bloc, said the US troops put their boots on his neck and handcuffed him. The Iraqi parliament was thrown into an uproar by the account, and demanded a US apology from the highest levels of government. Others demanded that the site of parliament meetings be changed. (This is not the first complaint by a parliamentarian of being manhandled).'
Source: Juan Cole's blog Informed Comment US Troops Humiliate Member of Parliament
Interestingly, the Washington Post, New York Times, and BBC News services don't seem to be covering this story. The Gulf Daily News had this:
Meanwhile, legislators adjourned in protest and demanded an apology after a Shi'ite legislator linked to a radical anti-American cleric tearfully said he was handcuffed and humiliated at a US checkpoint.
Source: Gulf Daily News 12 killed in Iraq April 20, 2005
Knight-Ridder News reported it as well:
U.S. troop's treatment of assembly member sparks outrage in Iraq
By Dogen Hannah
Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - An outraged Iraqi National Assembly demanded an apology from the U.S. government Tuesday for the rough treatment one assembly member said he received from an American soldier at a military checkpoint.

Al-Sheikh and witnesses said a soldier kicked his car, pulled him from the vehicle, grabbed him by the neck and handcuffed him. When he protested that he was a member of the assembly, a soldier scoffed at the group, al-Sheikh said.

The account ignited condemnations from a cross-section of the assembly.

"Let's ask ourselves," said Falah Shnaishel, of the United Iraqi Alliance, which won the largest number of seats in the Jan. 30 election. "Is this the democracy we've been hoping for? Is this the sovereignty that we talk to the masses about?"
Source: Knight Ridder Washington Bureau, April 19, 2005.

Somehow, I doubt the US military will be occupying all those expensive bases Haliburton built for very long. Another testament to Bush League Diplomacy!


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