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Institutions matter
Reflections on Liberty and Justice at Home
and looting and lawlessness in Iraq

By Udo Birnbaum

Did you notice, just as the battles in Iraq started to wind down, things seemed to flare up in Washington, questioning the patriotism of those who had originally been against the war, or not sufficiently for the war once it started. Then when looting started in the Iraqi cities, the focus shifted back to Iraq, how to stop it, and what could, or should have, been done to prevent it.

Free speech is of course one of our blessings, to freely express ourselves, so long as we do not shout "fire" in a crowded theatre and the likes, or violate the rights of others. Even to criticize our leaders and their policies. That is how we govern ourselves .

Just voting is not enough. They had elections in Iraq a year or so back, and guess what? Saddam got 100% of the vote. He was also the only one on the ballot. Fidel got elected, and so did Milosevich, Hitler, and who all else. They even have elections in Iran. The catch is the candidates have to be pre-approved by the clerics.

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So why is there looting in Iraq and what can we do about it?

U.S. Officials were dispatching the first contingent of 1,200 American police and judicial officers to help troops put a lid on the lawlessness. But what can they do? Should they shoot looters, or take them to court? And where are the courts? Do we need to establish them too? And should there be trial by jury? And where are the jails?

All the things we take for granted are either absent or were perverted. That is of course how things got as bad as they were. Thirty years of not daring to speak out against Saddam and his henchmen, of children raised to worship him as their God, to act as spies against their parents and everything around them.

Thirty years not of respect of the institutions, but fear, hatred, and suspicion. Thirty years of their rulers hiding in palaces designed to suit the self-image of an emperor, to over-power, to keep its citizens at a distance. And all of a sudden the images come crashing down.

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So what is the most important thing we can do to support and honor our troops?


Help elect HONEST and LAW ABIDING people to public office.

Support them when they are doing right, and SPEAK OUT, and speak out LOUDLY, when they do not.

Be productive, and LEARN, and TEACH others, even if we do not always succeed.


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Pol. adv pd Udo Birnbaum 540 VZ CR 2916, Eustace, TX 75124
Opposing views and critique always welcome