Steve Sachs Duke


Friday, July 25, 2003


Rape, honor, and the police: A recent NYT piece details the murderous stigma placed on Iraqi victims of rape. Stories like this are what keep me from placing too much faith in "prevailing community standards," which can often be revealed as universally horrible. Anyone trying to defend community mores from outside interference (or--gasp!--"coercion") has to explain how, exactly, killing an innocent rape victim to restore one's family honor is non-coercive. (Those struck by the reported rise in rape cases under the occupation, by the way, should remember that Saddam's regime, when it was in power, used rape as a deliberate instrument of policy. And you can bet that those cases weren't reported.)

Yet the article also contains several disturbing quotes from the police:

Some police in Baghdad concede that at this point, there is little they can do to help. Their precinct houses were thoroughly looted after the war. Despite promises from the American authorities, Baghdad police still lack uniforms, weapons, communications and computer equipment and patrol cars.

"We used to patrol all the time before the war," said a senior officer at the Aadimiya precinct house. "Now, nothing, and the criminals realize there is no security on the streets."

(In other news, the pro-American mayor of Hadithah was recently assassinated, along with one of his sons.)

Uniforms, weapons, communications equipment and cars--can't we supply these things? Given how much money we're already spending on Iraq every month, we might as well spend enough to do the job right. And well-equipped police forces will do a lot to bring our troops out of danger and rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. Isn't this a problem we can fix?




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