10 July 2006

Jeeze, an atrocity here, an atrocity there and, the next thing you know, people want "justice" and stuff

Iraq says to ask U.N. to end US immunity

Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:07pm ET10
By Mariam Karouny

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will ask the United Nations to end immunity from local law for U.S. troops, the government said on Monday, as the U.S. military named five soldiers charged in a rape-murder case that has outraged Iraqis.

In an interview a week after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanded a review of foreign troops' immunity, Human Rights Minister Wigdan Michael said work on it was now under way and a request could be ready by next month to go to the U.N. Security Council, under whose mandate U.S.-led forces operate in Iraq.

"We're very serious about this," she said, adding a lack of enforcement of U.S. military law in the past had encouraged soldiers to commit crimes against Iraqi civilians.

"We formed a committee last week to prepare reports and put it before the cabinet in three weeks. After that, Maliki will present it to the Security Council. We will ask them to lift the immunity," Michael said.

"If we don't get that, then we'll ask for an effective role in the investigations that are going on. The Iraqi government must have a role."

Analysts say it is improbable the United States would ever make its troops answerable to Iraq's chaotic judicial system.

Asked to respond to Michael's remarks, White House spokesman Tony Snow dismissed that as a "hypothetical game".

But Snow said: "We also understand Prime Minister Maliki's concerns and we want to make sure he's fully informed and also that he is satisfied, regardless of what the treaty situation may be on these issues, that justice truly is being done, and that he can make that demonstration to his people as well."
What a shock, an ugly situation may get immesurably uglier thanks to BushCo's poor planning and irresponsible rhetoric.

Given the rather embarrassing position of having to use our security council veto to block the request of a government that we put into place, I'm rather surprised at Tony Snow's somewhat flip, VERY public dismissal. Call me crazy, but is seems it might've be a good idea to avoid calling such a request "a game," and just play it cool in the hopes that enough assurances could be made to the Maliki government to avoid that scenario, altogether.

Instead, Snow Job gets up there and babbles whatever comes to mind, like a half-drunk kid explaining why he's sneaking in after curfew.

Clearly, the likelihood of the U.S. allowing the security council to end troop immunity is about the same as John Bolton's chances of sprouting wings and flying circles around the UN building while singing La Marseillaise. That said, there's an enormous difference between--privately--discounting that possibility and casually blowing off governmental calls for direct accountability immediately after soldiers have, allegedly, raped a 14 year-old girl and murdered her and her family to cover the crime.

Preventing local prosecution might very well be a necessity for military operations, but the strategy (or lack thereof), in this instance, is incomprehensible.

Given the particulars of the culture, an incident involving sexual assault has long been predicted as one of the most damaging things that could happen for an occupying force. Beyond that, following the handling of the massacre at Haditha, this request was not only foreseeable, but very nearly inevitable.

A far better response should've been crafted and ready to go long before the word "game" had the chance to cross Snow's mind.

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