The Lesser of Two Evils?
Northern Alliance vs. the Taliban. That’s like having to choose between Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich.
Which one would you be willing to die for? To send your children to die for?
Do we know who are our soldiers dying for? While Saddam sits in the dock for allegedly ordering the killing of 140+ people and capturing, torturing and raping countless others in response to a failed assassination attempt on him (and GWB marched us to war in part because Saddam tried to kill his daddy), who are the people we have come to protect?
Was it better for women to be raped and abused by the Northern Alliance or forced to live in suffocating burkas and anonymity under the Taliban? Some questions have no good answer. No good options exist. And there was none for Fatima.
Fatima was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents that threatened to rape and kill her if her brother didn’t resign from the Iraqi police force. He resigned and Fatima was returned to her family. She didn’t say if she had been raped. Her family didn’t know if she had been raped. Nor did they seek medical attention that would have answered that question. By being kidnapped, she had disgraced her family. And the family accepted what had to be done to restore their honor. Neither her father nor brother could do it. The job fell to a nephew and cousin. Fatima survived Iraqi insurgents but she didn’t live. Her family killed her in cold blood. (NPR 12/7/05)
These are the people and culture that we have determined is better than what existed under Saddam. People that kill their own daughters and call it “honor killings.” Even if we believe that rape doesn’t exist in the Shia communities and Shia don’t rape women and men of other ethnic groups (a proposition I find ludicrous for any group like the Shia in which women hold such an inferior status), they don’t shy away from killing when they deem fit. That has nothing to do with a civilized society bound by the rule of law. The law that turns a blind eye to the deaths of the Fatimas. The Fatimas have no families demanding justice for those that killed them. The Fatimas have no voice or protection from the families that kill them. Life for the Fatimas will be not improve under a new Iraqi Shia government.
But could their lives be even worse than they were under Saddam? How is it that Fatima, who may or may not have been raped, died, but Shia women who admit to having been raped by Saddam’s thugs lived? Lived to testify against him for the crime over twenty years later? Were “honor killings” less tolerated under Saddam than they are now? Or does it mean that such testimony is not reliable? (In country trials for deposed despots is too flawed, too fraught with political agendas and revenge to have the requisite validity for the one tried and the ones harmed. Brutal dictators must be tried in a scrupulously fair and public trial that can only be handled by the World Court. This is why Saddam should be in the dock in the Hague, and not Baghdad, and tried for all his crimes.)
The noble cause in Iraq? The preservation of “honor killing.” Something America can be real proud of. Ah, the bliss of ignorance.