Same as it ever was.

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shoeing.jpgDuring the runup to the Iraq war, the Bush White House used a clever (for them) line during the protests. See, they said, see how free you are here in America, because we're a democracy. Those poor Iraqis, if they tried to protest they'd be locked up, tortured and all the rest by that evil Saddam. 

Here's just one example: "People in the United States, unlike Iraq, are free to protest and to make their case known."

It was a clever line even though protesters in the States regularly get arrested or imprisoned, sometimes for campaigns I agree with, sometimes for other campaigns, and even though the US did indeed regularly torture people. It felt more true than it was, relatively true, because Saddam was indeed such a monster.

But what's replaced him? A corrupt despotism, a puppet regime which the UN says has committed more torture than its predecessor, a banana-free republic which has just jailed shoe-throwing journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi for three years. Peter Mandelson must be jealous. 

Whatever the Bush-Blair invasion was about, it's clear it wasn't to make an Iraq free for political protests. And how does that sentence compare with others recently issued? Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam's key goons, just got fifteen years for ordering the killing of forty-two people

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This page was published on March 12, 2009 9:46 AM.

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