May 03, 2004

A Tipping Point?

I'm still on the road and rushing to catch a flight but write briefly to suggest that I fear we are at something of a tipping point in the Middle East right now.

I'd begin by stating my profound revulsion at the pictures we have all seen of Iraqi detainees sexually humiliated and hooded, Klan-style, whilst subjected to mock electrocutions and the like.

I've been travelling in the U.S. and have been frankly stunned by the level of press coverage the story got. Andrew is right about this being another episode of trans-atlantic disconect. But this time, the Europeans have it right. U.S. press outlets aren't giving the story nearly the play it deserves (and, when they do, the coverage is predictably parochial)

I don't think Osama bin Laden himself could have conjured up better images to spur up al-Qaeda recruitment campaigns than those of a U.S. female soldier, cigarrette alight, laughing as Arab, Muslim men are sexually humiliated in her presence.

It's deeply revolting. Of course, I understand how young men and women, in a war zone and suddenly provided with absolute power (and rationalizing the need to extract information from detainees) could engage in such madness.

But where is the damn leadership? Who is minding the store?

This story, along with Likud's defeat of Sharon's de minimis concessions, 10 dead G.Is on Sunday alone, dissaray over whether an (Saddam look-alike) Iraqi general will or will not take control of Fallujah, stirrings of unrest in Syria, increased defiance of Saudi security forces with what are becoming routinized terror attacks in the Kingdom--all contribute to a sense that we are getting near a tipping point in the region.

And shouldn't the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense (that this blog has defended in the past) know how many soldiers we have lost in Iraq to the nearest hundred (at least)?

I'll be addressing all this in more detail as soon as time allows.

Posted by Gregory at May 3, 2004 02:55 AM
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