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Not so big on free speech in Iraq.

During a patrol in Tikrit early Wednesday, U.S. forces came across a black flag strung up in front of a local government building. The writing mourned the passing of Odai and Qusai.

After asking his translator to read the gold and white lettering to him, U.S. Lt. Col. Steve Russell, whose 4th Infantry Division, 1st Battalion is leading the raids in Tikrit, took out his pocket knife and cut it down, crumpling it in his hands before taking it away.

Also of note: Mahdi Obeidi, the helpful scientist who handed over the centrifuge parts over to the CIA, says those infamous aluminum tubes really were for rocket launchers. Of course, it’s all a plot to distract us from the truth. Whatever that is.

Back in April, I did some numbers on Bush’s pre-war speeches. I had a feeling back then that people would start pretending the WMD claims didn’t matter. I was right. Den beste has forgotten his own words, apparently. The State of the Union speech convinced him that the purpose of the war on Iraq was disarmament. Well, as I said in April:

“When my President tells me we’re going to war for a purpose, I expect that purpose to be fulfilled. I expect his rationale to be justified… I really want to know if our President’s claims about threats can be relied upon or not. Is that so much to ask?”

Those who don’t care about Presidents misleading them say the war is justified anyhow, and it’s not like anyone cares. Sure. That’s why India and Germany are refusing to send troops to help out. That’s why Bush is seeking European help in Iran. Get with the program: trust matters.

And that’s where we link back to the beginning of this post. We need to carry out our promises in Iraq. One soldier restricting free speech — not really a big deal, and you can’t take it as indicative. But you can keep an eye on that sort of thing. It must not be allowed to be a trend.


  1. Ryan Waxx Ryan Waxx


    The sign in question was in front of a government building. Are you saying if the some fool puts up a “Free Mumia!” sign in front of a U.S. government building, we have to leave it up or risk infringing free speech?

    Why don’t you try putting one up on a telephone pole, much less a government building, and do it while a cop is watching. Email me from jail (after your contempt-of-court ruling when you tell the judge what the law is) and let me know how Bubba is treating you.

    You may not LIKE it, but U.S. soldiers have some policing authority in Iraq.

    Go find a REAL complaint… if you can.

  2. Well, sure. You can post “Free Mumia!” signs anywhere it’s legal to post signs; the actual content of the sign is protected by law. I can’t post a “Free Mumia!” sign on a telephone pole (assuming I’d want to). Nor can I post a “Bush for President” sign.

    Here’s the thing about what happened. Lt. Colonel Russell didn’t say “Hey, that’s an illegally posted sign, I’m tearing it down.” He made the decision to tear it down based purely on the political sentiment it conveyed. Bad idea.

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