Sunday, January 07, 2007

Oversight - Never Saw THAT Coming

Today's Houston Chronicle has an interesting story (reprinted from the NYTimes) arguing how hard the US worked to delay the Saddam Hussein hanging. In fact, if all you read was the headline - US fought for hours to put off hanging; Baghdad deaf to arguments to delay Saddam execution - you'd think, well, we tried to do the right thing. Reading through the article, however, one finds things are not always what they seem. Go figure.

On Thursday, before the dawn Friday hanging, US military officials, lead by Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, head of Task Force 134, the detainee unit, and embassy personnel, in the person of Margaret Scobey, head of the embassy's political section (WTF), were negociating with Iraqi officials on the timing of the handover. PM al-Maliki wanted the former dictator turned over immediately, while the Americans favored a delay, to allow for time to carry out the execution with international support. When al-Maliki persisted, Gardner demanded letters from the PM, President Talibani, and the presiding judge, affirming the legality of the execution.

All clear up to this point - the Shiite Iraqi government wanted desperately to execute the Sunni badman on the morning of the Sunni eid (one of their holiest days). The US wanted to wait for more politically correct timing. The Iraqis won because they played their trump card, "The Iraqis said that the tribunal's own statute, drafted by the Americans, placed its rulings beyond review." Got that? We really wanted to stop them, or at least organize it as some highly dignified photo-of, but we couldn't because in setting up their government for them, we gave the Iraqis the power to execute without oversight. How ironic is that?

Interestingly enough, after reading this crock of shiite, it struck me that I had been meaning to comment on oversight in this country. The guys over at TPMMuckraker have done a wonderful job chronicling how much oversight and review the Bush administration has managed to eradicate from our government. Give it a read and wonder what fiascos are being kept from the American people and why we continue to trust them to carry out the garbage, let alone conduct the business of the country. Oversight, we don't need no stinking oversite.