Tuesday, August 11, 2009

There are stories in the news about the British mercenary who killed two other guards in a drunken rage. Mentioned innocuously in the articles is the fact that he was captured and detained by Iraqi police and is being charged in an Iraqi court, as if this is a given since the crime took place in Iraq. However this is far from a given in anybody's book. That Fitzsimons should hang for what he did is not a subject for debate, but one wonders whether a similar fate would be so clearly obvious had he killed Iraqis instead. In spite of the fact that Iraq is occupied, I feel somehow that there will not be a rush to save him from the death penalty, owing to his mercenary status and to the fact that he killed two other white men. I could be wrong. But if people think that this is a sign of the increasing power of Iraqi legislation and law enforcement in a country which has American boots marching in it, then they must think again. If and only if we see mercenaries or occupation officials, leaders and soldiers sitting in the defendant's box in an Iraqi court, with a hangman's noose as a genuine possibility for their crimes, will we truly believe that Iraq has finally become a sovereign country.

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