Do you feel lucky punk?

What’s all this hoo-haa about the Iraqi PM dropping a few insurgents ?

They said the 58-year-old prime minister “wanted to send a message to his policemen and soldiers not to be scared if they kill anyone especially, they are not to worry about tribal revenge”.

What better way to get some respect than to show your enemies what awaits them if they continue to assassinate ministers and bomb civilians after the US removes it’s troops? As I said at the time the US invaded, the people of Iraq won’t understand US (and Australian) notions of fair play. Since the time of the Hittites (O.K. it may have been the Assyrians, I was never real strong on ancient history) the tribes of this region have been killing each other until only the stong survived. How do you think Saddam got to where he was ? By bribery corruption and removing (with extreme prejudice) anyone who got in his way. Why shouldn’t good old Ilyad do the same ?

A while ago, before he was captured, my wife looked up from reading the weekend paper and asked “What do you reckon they should do if they capture Saddam Hussein?”

I replied “The British forces should take all six impostors, line them up against the wall and shoot them out of hand. After executing all the lookalikes they should round up the whole of SH’s family; brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nephews etc, ‘unto the biblical seventh generation’, and execute the lot.

Totally raze Tiklit and remove every mention of the dictator and his family. Capture the whole lot on video and send copies to Al-Jazeera with instructions that this fate will befall everyone who threatens terrorism in the future. Only by being thoroughly ruthless is there a reasonable probability they will eliminate the establishment of Saddam as a martyr.”

I remember reading in the Review section of a Friday AFR a while (year?) back (can some one with access to AFR archives help me here ?) about the reasons why todays conflicts seem to go on and on. Take Bosnia, Chechnia, the Horn of Africa, Angola etc. etc. The thesis of the article was that wars came to a halt when one or both side ran out of resources, either human (all the soldiers were killed), financial (they couldn’t pay mercenaries) or material (they lacked bullets and/or guns). In these enlightened(?) times some one (the world sheriff) usually steps in before either of the protagonists is exhausted and thereby allows one or both parties to rebuild resources and carry the conflict on and on, sometimes over generations. Slobadan Milosevic was raving about taking revenge for something that happened in the 12th Century.

I like the pep talk Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins gave the battlegroup of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish “As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory. The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction.”

That’s why I don’t see anything wrong in what Ilyad Allawi is alleged to have done. He is much better equipped to know what must be done to restore law and order in Iraq.

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Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Wayne,

I can remember you expounding the same theory to me last time we had lunch. And my reaction then was the same as now. You’re probably correct in the narrow sense. But what’s the point? If the only way of retaining/regaining law and order in Iraq is to adopt precisely the same approach as Saddam, we might as well have left him there. I never thought establishment of anything resembling a liberal democratic state would be anywhere near as easy as some of the neocons asserted, but unless we give it a try the whole thing is utterly pointless. Somehow or other, there is a need for the Middle East and Africa to be propelled out of bloodthirsty tribalism and religious fundamentalism into the beginnings of liberal democratic culture and sensibility, otherwise we face ongoing horror from both places, with its manifestations being projected onto the West through mass flight of refugees, terrorism, and periodic famines where we’ll be forced to deliver pointless band-aid solutions again and again and again.

Establishing modern liberal democracy won’t be easy, and the results in the short term will certainly involve significantly more brute force and compromise than we’re comfortable with in the West. But I don’t think that requires us to accept happily that shooting prisoners summarily without trial is an acceptable part of the transitional phase. It’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Factory
Factory
2021 years ago

“He is much better equipped to know what must be done to restore law and order in Iraq.”
To restore the law he had to break it?

“Take Bosnia, Chechnia, the Horn of Africa, Angola etc. etc. The thesis of the article was that wars came to a halt when one or both side ran out of resources, either human (all the soldiers were killed), financial (they couldn’t pay mercenaries) or material (they lacked bullets and/or guns).”
Of course the reason why states get into these conflicts is because they believe that they have not yet been violent enough to get the result they want out of the conflict.
The states that are well run enough to realise that this is pointless endevour, will pull out of the conflict when it becomes obvious that it can never end in the way they want to. Democracies are very good at this, Vietnam being a good example. If the US was like those other wartorn countries it would still be in there today, but it is not, it realized that the war was going nowhere so it pulled out, and both countries are better off for it.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

Both Wayne and Ken have a point here. Ken recognizes the need for rule of law and fair trial and punishment lest we become what we ousted. However, moderate policing and court trials,etc can only apply in jurisdictions where most citizens are generally law abiding. Where a significant minority continually threatens the life and limb of the majority, more drastic defence measures are required. There is a probably a strong case for martial law here.

Probably the insurgents could be likened to spies in a battle zone, where they are out of uniform and represent a special threat. As such they forgo the rights of the uniformed combatant when captured. Of course they are not out of uniform in the sense that they dress as ordinary civilians, but they could be identified by the ownership/possession of automatic weapons, explosives, RPGs and the like.

The answer may lie in declaring martial law in particular areas like Fallujah. An amnesty would be offered for the surrender(or simply stockpiling weapons in the street) of weapons, before a house to house search under curfew/ lockdown conditions. The penalty for being found with such weapons on a premises is death by firing squad. COW troops could be involved with house to house searches and arrest, to be handed over to Iraqi authorities for immediate punishment. Observe the amnesty or be shot. Civil law could return after martial law was lifted.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I think Wayne raises an important point. Liberal democratic sensibilities are viewed as the West’s Achilles Heel in any engagement of this nature. Ken points out that we wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re both right. Ergo, the ongoing problem….

yobbo
2021 years ago

The SMH made the whole thing up…