Monday, September 24, 2007

To Catch A Terrorist

The U.S. Military, apparently growing tired of the "hard work" involved in finding insurgents, are attempting to lure curious Iraqis into sniper traps.

Well, when you put it that way, it sounds like the military is doing something wrong...

Crafty soldiers place a box of ammunition, or explosives, in plain sight, along a road or in a park. Then, when an Iraqi sees it, and goes to check it out, they shoot him. Becuase obviously, that person is a terrorist, and not just some Iraqi who's wondering why explosives are just lying around.

"Well, it's the Iraqi's fault. He shouldn't have picked the box up. He should have called the authorities."

Call the authorities? What authorities? The Iraqi police cover their faces because they fear terrorist reprisals.

No trial. No questions. That box gets picked up, BLAM-O! Dead. Then they set the trap and wait for the next one to come by.

Am I the only one who thinks this is counter-productive?

It's the whole, "We can't solve real crimes, so lets make fake ones and arrest those stupid enough to fall for it."

Like "To Catch A Predator." Lack of reporting, scant evidence, and reluctant witnesses mean police can't prosecute many statutory rape cases. Rather than spend the time, effort and money to truly combat the problem through educational programs, stiffer penalities for offenders and the creation of support programs for victims, the police create fake, "sting" operations which entrap stupid and lazy people... many of which wouldn't have committed any crime because in actuality, it would have been very difficult.

The typical horny pervert can't attract an underage teen. You've seen "To Catch A Predator," undoubtedly. How many underage girls are going to want to meet an old guy who sends them a picture of their small penis and says things like "I want to watch you masturbate while I pee on you." Not many. However, the decoys readily agree... creating a fake crime which had little to no chance of happening. Therefore, a person with weak moral fiber who would otherwise jack off alone at home is arrested. While the truly dangerous (statistics say statutory rapists and sexual abusers are usually a family member of the victim) go unpunished.

Now, the typical Iraqi probably can't easily procure explosives (I'm assuming). And the typical terrorist is not going to see a box of explosives and think, "Hey! Free Explosives!" So what the U.S. trap does is ensnare a) really stupid wannabe terrorists, and b) curious, innocent Iraqis who probably want to get a box of explosives off the streets.

Just like "To Catch A Predator," "To Catch A Terrorist" does nothing to actually fight the crime it claims to. It sets up a crime, and then solves it. The result is a pretty picture, but ultimately, a false one. You can hit a homerun pretty easily off a tee... but that's not going to help when someone's throwing you curveballs.

Ok, enough analogies. This is just one more example of why the U.S. is not succeeding in Iraq. The leadership is too focused on appearances and not focused enough on actual progress.

This is not a knock against our soldiers. It's not their fault. It's the fault of a leadership in Washington seeking to placate Congress and right-wing radio. But whatever talking points the Bush Administration may have wrung from the mess of Iraq, they've come at the cost of real success.

It's time to stop setting up stings and time to start doing some real investigation. Where are the explosives coming from? Is there some mystical genie who provides them? Who is carrying out these attacks? Ghosts? Investigate, determine, and then act. A basic, basic rule in law enforcement, which is severely lacking in Iraq.

Then again, the army has never been all that good when it comes to investigating. If we trusted their investigations, we'd still believe Pat Tillman died from a skiing accident in Norway.

[UPDATE 10/3] Speaking of investigations...

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