Iraq wants U.S. troops' immunity from local law lifted

Justice for Haditha and Mahmoudiya — Baghdad-style.

They’re threatening to take it to the Security Council, where we’d have to choose between voting yes and handing over American soldiers or vetoing the proposal due to lack of confidence in the Iraqi judicial system. The same system, of course, that’s supposedly reliable enough to try Saddam Hussein.

The vote isn’t in doubt. We’d veto it, of course. But the squirm potential is off the charts, which is why it’s surprising that the nutroots isn’t pushing it.

Or maybe they are. I don’t know, I rarely read them except when they’re threatening Goldstein with death.

Which, come to think of it, makes “rarely” a poor choice of adverb in that sentence.

Anyway. Slate took up the non-immunity idea last month and hit upon the likely solution:

[W]e either believe in Iraqi institutions or we don’t. If something public and symbolic and substantive isn’t done to bring the Iraqi officials into this process of trying the culprits in the massacre [“Alleged” massacre. — ed.], our project there is hopeless. So, if an all-out handover is impossible, perhaps we get to the bottom of the crime together. A joint U.S.-Iraqi investigative commission under the watch of the United Nations or the International Red Cross would be a start. The United States should also allow television coverage of whatever courts-martial result. That would at least offer Iraqis some evidence that justice was being done in this specific case, and that the institutions the Americans have been promoting around the globe are capable of being fair and equitable.

Maliki knows which way we’d vote if forced and the last thing he needs while he’s trying to assert his authority over the militias is a vote of no confidence by the U.S. The situation’s ripe for compromise: he gets Iraqi participation in the investigations/prosecutions, we get to avoid a showdown in the Security Council. So it is written, so it shall be done.

Speaking of non-immunity, guess who Army prosecutors are planning to call as their chief witnesses in the conduct-unbecoming case against refusenik moonbat lieutenant Ehren Watada. Can you hear Thomas Jefferson weeping softly in heaven? Bill Keller can.

Even money says one or both of them takes the contempt charge. A few weeks of jail is tough, but the ignominy of betraying the cause would last a lifetime.

Semi-random thoughts: Assuming Saddam is convicted and sentenced to death, what are the odds at this point that the sentence will actually be carried out? National reconciliation is Maliki’s top priority. If they put Saddam down, it risks alienating the Sunnis whom they’re trying to bring onboard.

On the other hand, would the Shiites ever forgive him if he commuted Saddam’s sentence to life?

They should have shot him the day they pulled him out of that hole. No questions asked. Any evidence beyond this is superfluous anyway.