Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Perception vs Reality in Iraq

Well it took less than a day to find out what any perceptive person knew anyway, that the turnover in power from the US to the interim Iraqi government is purely symbolic, a paper move only. Only the breathtakingly naive would view it as anything other than that, and here’s a perfect example of why:

Iyad Akmush Kanum, 23, learnt the limits of sovereignty on Monday when US prosecutors refused to uphold an Iraqi judges’ order acquitting him of attempted murder of coalition troops.

US prosecutors said that he was being returned to the controversial Abu Ghraib prison because under the Geneva Conventions they were not bound by Iraqi law.

When an occupying military force can overrule a judge’s decision in the country they occupy, any sane person would conclude that there is no real sovereignty for the government that the judge represents. But as the Financial Times reports, this was even a judge chosen by the US:

The Central Criminal Court is a hybrid legal institution, created by the American-led occupation, in which US lawyers prepare cases for Iraqi prosecutors to present to Iraqi judges, who were in turn chosen by the coalition.

It tries cases based on Iraqi law and coalition decrees.

Despite the end of the US occupation on Monday, US prosecutors said the Court would continue unchanged after the handover.

It was created by Mr Bremer last June to hear “significant security trials” and enable occupation troops to testify without leaving the Green Zone. Saddam Hussein is among the detainees intended to enter its dock.

What is the point of creating the court, picking the judges, establishing the procedures and STILL overruling the decisions as we see fit? Well, the point is that we’re still in charge. And we’ll remain in charge for as long as we wish to remain in charge. And all of the pomp and pretense of handing over sovereignty that the White House wants to parade in front of us on TV doesn’t change that fact at all.