‘We Have Guns Rather than Pens for Responding to You’

by Michael Rubin

Reporters Without Frontiers has issued a warning about another Iraqi Kurdish journalist threatened with death by Iraqi Kurdish authorities. Meanwhile, the investigation into the murder of 23-year-old journalist Sardasht Osman, apparently kidnapped and killed by Masud Barzani’s son’s security service, has gone nowhere. The lesson appears to be that, if the White House and the West remain silent and the Barzani’s and Talabani’s believe they can get away with it, the murders will continue. Freedom is foundering in Iraqi Kurdistan, and that is neither good for Iraq nor for long-term U.S. interests.

Two days ago, Masud Barzani met with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Both have similar disdain for democracy and free press. Perhaps they were swapping pointers?

There is always a danger, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan, when leaders believe themselves indispensable to American interests. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have erred by basing U.S. policy on personalities rather than building healthy systems. No one should be indispensable.

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