August 18, 2004
Bush's effort to install democracy in Iraq as if it's a muffler continues to backfire.
Dr. Allawi is no Dr. Goodwrench, much less James Madison.
Allawi's contempt--and, by extension, the Bush Administration's contempt--for democracy becomes clearer every day.
Take, for instance, Allawi's approach to freedom of the press.
Bad enough that he banned Al-Jazeera for a month. But then he declared Najaf off limits to all reporters and threatened their lives.
"If you do not leave by the deadline, we will shoot you," said one policeman there, according to the London Telegraph.
And they tried to make good on the threat.
On August 15, "shortly after the deadline expired, the first bullets struck" the Sea Hotel, where thirty journalists were staying, the London Telegraph reported.
Shards of glass were embedded in a foreign reporter's cheek, the Telegraph noted. The bullet, the paper said, "carried an unmistakable message: 'Get out.' "
Later, ten policemen walked into the hotel and gathered the foreign correspondents together, an Australian paper reported. According to that paper, one policeman said: "We are going to open fire on this hotel. I'm going to smash it all, kill you all, and I'm going to put four snipers to target anybody who goes out of the hotel."
This is democracy, Saddam Hussein style.