An Unpardonable Offense

The Iraqi Kurds have clearly embraced George W. Bush's philosophy of liberty: i.e., it exists only as a gift from all-powerful state leaders, who can bestow it – and revoke it – at will. The Kurds have "pardoned" journalist Kamal Sayid Qadir, who had been sentenced to prison for the heinous crime of writing a website article criticizing Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani for corruption.

Barzani, now a pet of the Bush Faction, is perhaps best remembered – by those with any historical memory – for allying with the Kurds' mortal enemy, Saddam Hussein, during a civil war with another Kurdish faction (the one lead by the man who has replaced Saddam as Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani) in the mid-1990s. Although the Kurds, under the protective wing of the US-UK no-fly zone, had achieved de facto independence from Baghdad, Barzani called on the mass murderer of his countrymen for aid in his power struggle with Talabani – who was in turn accused of getting help from Iran for his military efforts. It was a real healthy situation all around. The Americans, of course, couldn't resist taking a hand, and lobbed a few missiles into Baghdad to punish Saddam – or actually, the Iraqi civilians killed by the raid – for his intervention on Barzani's behalf.

Later, Barzani and Talibani joined forces, although they still maintain separate militias in case things get frosty again. (That's another Bush precept they have followed religiously: political problems should be settled by armed force and massive bloodletting.) Now they rule Iraqi Kurdistan with a rod of iron, and brook no criticism from pesky journalists. The "pardon" of Qadir is in fact a perfect expression of their Bushist contempt for the rule of law; all that really matters to the big-time players in this "post-9/11 world" is raw power.