I must say that the headline and leading paragraph had me intrigued.
Say the word mujahid- or holy warrior – these days and many inhabitants of Baghdad are likely to snigger.
I had my doubts quickly, however, with the second paragraph.
An appellation once worn as a badge of pride by anti-American insurgents has now become street slang for homosexuals, after men claiming to be captured Islamist guerrillas confessed that they were holding gay orgies in the popular Iraqi TV programme Terror in the Hands of Justice.
I think the terrorists are scum, a bunch of cowardly bastards. While this article is worth a read and it’s nice to know that the Iraqis are seeing something besides pro-terrorist propaganda (e.g. al-Jazeera, CNN), I still feel a need to apologize for the worst side effect of the Iraqi campaign — the export of the horror of “reality” TV. It was obviously another shortcoming in the planning of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis.
It started innocently enough.
When the programme first aired two months ago, it mostly featured non-Iraqi Arabs who claimed to have entered the country to aid the insurgency, reinforcing many Iraqis’ belief that the insurgency is driven by foreign extremists such as al-Qaeda.
In time, however, the programme began to feature men who said they were petty criminals, killing “collaborators” for a few hundred dollars’ bounty.
In fact, the US and Iraqi security forces have for some time claimed to have ample evidence that many insurgent attacks were launched by out-of-work soldiers desperate for money. Some well-known insurgent captains had former lives under the old regime as gang leaders.
In recent weeks, however, the insurgents’ confessions have become increasingly at odds with the movement’s reputation for stringent Islamic austerity.
One long-bearded preacher known as Abu Tabarek recently confessed that guerrillas had usually held orgies in his mosques, secure in the knowledge that their status as holy warriors would win them forgiveness of their sins.
Hopefully for the Iraqi people, sanity will soon reign.
Sabah Khadim, spokesman for Iraq’s interior minister, says that the programme may have run its course, and should be reviewed.
He denies that the confessions were extracted by torture but has his doubts as to whether those confessing are being truthful or simply saying whatever they think their captors want to hear. He also has reservations over whether the display of prisoners on television violates the Geneva Convention.
But, Mr Khadem says, the programme has been immensely effective in getting Iraqis to come forward with information about guerrillas, leading to a surge in the number of insurgents captured.
“If this were not an emergency situation, we would not have run this,” he says. “But it is an emergency situation, and this produces results.”
Now, if only we could get rid of some of this crap on our own airwaves , I would really believe that civilization is progressing.