Iraq #2: "Iraqis Learn The Art of Legal Workarounds

Glenn Greenwald always draws our attention to what I also found to be a very depressing (and thus, perhaps reality-based) piece in Monday's Times by John Burns & company:

This depressing New York Times article by John Burns and Marc Santora details the frantic, reckless manner in which Saddam Hussein was shoved into the noose in clear violation of Iraqi law. We can't even get a hanging right. With all of the world watching, we yet again were the primary authors of a violent, uncivilized, and primitive act which -- no matter how justified in some ultimate moral sense -- was carried out in the most thuggish, wretched, inept, and (we now learn) patently illegal manner.

It really is striking, and a potent sign of just how absurd is our ongoing occupation, that the "Iraqi Government" which we are fighting to empower could not even conduct this execution with a pretense of legality or concern for civilized norms -- the executioners were not wearing uniforms but leather jackets and murderers' masks, conducting themselves not as disciplined law enforcement officers but as what they are (death squad members and sectarian street thugs).

And the most revealing, and most disturbing, detail is that Saddam's executioners -- in between playground insults spat at a tied-up Saddam -- chanted their religious-like allegiance to Moktada Al Sadr, the Shiite militia leader whom we are told is the Great Enemy of the U.S., the One We Now Must Kill. This noble and just event for which we are responsible was carried out by a brutal, murderous, lawless militia. Freedom is on the march.

Despite all of these grim events, it must at least be encouraging to the Bush administration that the Maliki government is quickly learning some of the most important tools for governing.