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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Bad Boys, Bad Boys. Watcha' Gonna Do?

Kid Various gives a hearty "thumbs up" to this innovative technique in fighting the insurgents in Iraq.

MOSUL, Iraq - In one scene, the videotape shows three kidnappers with guns and a knife, preparing to behead a helpless man who is gagged and kneeling at their feet.

In the next, it is allegedly one of the kidnappers who is in detention, his eyes wide with fear, his lips trembling, as he speaks to his interrogators.

"How do I say this?" says the accused man, identified as an Egyptian named Abdel-Qadir Mahmoud, holding back tears.

"I am sorry for everything I have done."

In the first week after the elections, the Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Mosul police chief are turning the tables on the insurgency in the north by using a tactic -- videotaped messages -- that insurgents have used time and again as they have terrorized the region with kidnappings and executions.

But this time the videos, which are being broadcast on a local station, carry a different message, juxtaposing images of the masked killers with the cowed men they become once captured.

And it's not being broadcast just in Mosul. It's being seen all over the country.

True it does have a certain whiff of the public confessions during the Moscow show trials, but this is something that can be really effective. In such a shame/honor culture as the Arab world, it's important to show these savages as defeated and broken men. To demostrate viscerally that these are not heroic freedom fighters. They are not glamorous. They are snivelling, cowardly vermin who prey upon the unarmed and the unaware. Often they are equipped by foreign agitators. And that they'll turn on their compatriots whenever they get caught.

Maybe they should bring back the pillory too, so we could throw tomatoes at them.


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