Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It’s a defense mechanism


Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has ordered the release of 2,500 prisoners against whom there is no actual, you know, evidence. The first 600 have been thrown out of prison kicking and screaming and shouting, “Hell no, we won’t go! Let us back in! Do you know how fucking dangerous it is out there?”

Maliki has made some criticisms of Haditha. Here’s the response of James Jeffrey, the Coordinator for Iraq Policy at the State Department: “It’s a defense mechanism. ... I wouldn’t make too much out of it... There is a constant buzz in Iraq of what our troops did or didn’t do.” Buzz buzz. Sometimes the condescension reaches an entirely new level of refinement, and this was one of those moments.

Jeffrey also says that Haditha is “at this point nothing like Abu Ghraib.” It took me a minute to realize he wasn’t measuring it in terms of the body count or human suffering or sheer awfulness, but in terms of something much more important – public relations: “I think this will not have the same impact in terms of insurgents turning the population against us or turning opinion in the Arab world against us.” Yes, it’s all the insurgents’ fault. Buzz buzz buzz.

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