Friday, May 20, 2005

Emperor wears no clothes 

(hat tip: Drudge)

No, it's not the latest Calvin Klein ad. Britain's biggest selling tabloid, "The Sun", has today's scoop. In the tradition of "Page 3 girls", comes "Page 1 dictator", semi-nude.

In the current political climate, the top brass aren't happy - and are trying to pre-empt the inevitable media outcry about prisoner abuse and humiliation (well, maybe not):
U.S. military officials are condemning the release of photographs -- published in a popular British tabloid -- showing Saddam Hussein in prison, promising an aggressive investigation and steps to assure the breach never happens again...

In a statement released Friday by U.S. military officials in Baghdad, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) condemned the release of the images.

"These photos were taken in clear violation of DoD directives and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals," a Defense Department statement said.

"Multi-National Forces-Iraq is disappointed at the possibility that someone responsible for the security, welfare, and detention of Saddam would take and provide these photos for public release."
Dear me, at least his Koran hasn't been flushed down the toilet (interesting question though; does this life-long secularist who over the last decade or so opportunistically turned to Islam have a copy in his cell?).

The Geneva Convention indeed can be interpreted to prohibit displaying certain (but certainly not all) types of photos of prisoners of war, and Saddam has been granted the POW status by the US. The photos are said to have been taken a year ago, so seeing that Saddam is now in Iraqi custody and awaiting a trial by an Iraqi tribunal, we're talking about a possible past violation - which brings up an interesting legal point: surely, it should be possible to show photos of POWs at some point in time after they have ceased to be POWs, if only for historical reasons.

Anyhow, the Geneva Convention aside, the photos of Saddam in his old ugly underwear should be plastered on every wall throughout Iraq and the Middle East. Nothing demystifies as much as reality, particularly those who for so long have tried to control it. Behold, Saddam - just a flesh and blood loser on the wrong side of history.


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