This is what demcracy doesn’t look like

A revealing anecdote from Iraq by an American journalist who visited last year:

In Mosul last March, the Provincial Reconstruction Team took me to a meeting of one of Iraq’s new terrorism tribunals. Three judges were trucked up from Baghdad to preside over Baghdad-related terrorism cases — all in Mosul, so the insurgents wouldn’t, you know, kill the judges. Interesting idea, heavily billed as a rule-of-law achievement, but boring as hell to watch.

Then at the end, as people are milling about and chatting on their way out the door, one of the PRT officials tells a judge how important it is to stand up against terrorism and promote equality and fairness before an impartial system of law. The judge nods at the platitude. “Tell me,” he says through a translator, “is it true that in America, Bush can fire prosecutors he doesn’t like?”

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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