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Lockbox, new style

Somehow, Your Humble Blogger missed this news about the American occupation shutting down a weekly newspaper in Baghdad.

Shutting down a newspaper.

Now, I understand that ‘newspaper’ is a pretty tough term to apply to Al Hawza, which seems to specialize in lies about the coalition forces. I understand that there isn’t a real judiciary in place to prosecute so-called journalists who commit libel, and that irresponsible stuff in Al Hawza may well contribute to anti-American feeling, and therefore to anti-American (and anti-collaborationist) violence. I understand that the publishers are not actually romantic lone crusaders for truth, fighting censorship and propaganda, that these are bad guys we’re talking about here, and that in a successful state, they might well not be allowed to spout filth with impunity.

But American soldiers shut down a newspaper.

Nice publicity, Mr. Bremmer. That’ll win the hearts and minds. Nothing says ‘freedom’ quite like a padlock on the door of a newspaper office.

Redintegro Iraq,


What do we celebrate this Passover? Do we celebrate liberation from tyranny, from slavery, from torture and death meted out with casual abandon and with malice? And if so, do we ignore the fact that we escaped from one master to another, not from one master to self-destiny?

I do not compare America today to God in the Exodus. But some of the lessons of Exodus are that freedom is a challenge and a struggle, not just an opportunity, that a freed people is not the same as a free people, that we must be exceedingly careful as we learn new rules, and that not all changes will or can or should come to the present generation. I am not sure if I agree with all of those lessons, and yet they are part of my celebration every year, and part of my heritage.

Perhaps the next generation in Iraq will enjoy a greater measure of freedom than what they have experienced at the hands of Saddam Hussein or our occupying forces. While our actions now do matter, and should be more considered than they are, I hope a free Iraq will look back on this time and celebrate their ultimate achievement of self-governance (whenever that comes) and forgive us for killing those who worshipped the golden calf. Shutting down Al Hawza seems small to me in comparison.

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