Sunday, June 7, 2009

Equal Justice under Iraqi Law

One of the reasons why so much of the world no longer takes the institutions of the United States Government seriously may be that they see our "justice system" as either fatally flawed or just a bad oxymoron joke. Thus, it should not surprise me if there is considerable global attention directed towards a story that just broke on Al Jazeera English through their wire services:

Five US contractors have been arrested by Iraqi police in connection with the murder of a colleague, officials have said.

If the men appear in court, it would be the first time American citizens face Iraqi justice since a bilateral security pact came into force in January.

A US embassy spokesman said no formal charges had been filed against the men who were detained on Sunday, and that they "appear well".

"Embassy officials have visited the men to make sure they're being given their rights in accordance with Iraqi law," he said.

The body of Jim Kitterman, a 60-year-old Texan, who was reportedly bound, blindfolded and stabbed, was found dead in his car last month in the protected Green Zone where his small construction company was based.

Whether George W. Bush likes it or not, his Administration is likely to be remembered for what I have called its "unmanageable counterproductive system of contractors" and the two-pronged attack of that system on both the reputation and the budget of the United States. Here we have a case where the system was not just counterproductive, it was downright destructive where an American life was concerned. It is ironic that Kitterman's family may only be able to turn to an Iraqi court to see justice done, and it is that kind of irony that Barack Obama will have to transcend in the interest of our own "homeland security."

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