And Now, a Word from the Sponsored …

Or: What $300 Billion Buys

We know that as seen from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, things in Iraq are getting better every day. Fewer maimings, better manners and more democracy, and even a few hours a day of electricity thrown in. Now here’s a view from someone who, while admittedly having an ax to grind, is a little closer to the situation than the lotus eaters in the Oval Office. Britain’s Observer has an interview with Ayad Allawi, the strongman Bush & co. put in charge of Iraq once it was time for our own boss to leave and we had given up on the guy who wanted to run things, Ahmad Chalabi. Here’s how Allawi sees things today:

” ‘People are doing the same as [in] Saddam’s time and worse. … It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.’

“In a damning and wide-ranging indictment of Iraq’s escalating human rights catastrophe, Allawi accused fellow Shias in the government of being responsible for death squads and secret torture centres. The brutality of elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam’s secret police, he said. …

” ‘ …We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated,’ he added. ‘A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in the course of interrogations. We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on Islamic law that are trying people and executing them.’ ”

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