THE MORAL THIEVES OF BAGHDAD
by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Lake Worth, Fla.
LAKE WORTH, Fla. Parties unknown have assassinated UN Special Representative in Baghdad, Sergio Vieira de Mello to prove to the world, well, to prove to the world that anyone can "off" anyone else, at any time.
Years ago in Key West I was told by a police detective that for $1,500 you could have anyone "whacked." He also explained that in Key West's "Conch" crime circles, just as with Iraq, all "hits" had to be in well-lit areas in front of lots of witnesses.
"Your reputation does not grow if you kill people in a dark alley with no one watching," he said. "You need lots of witnesses - to give conflicting descriptions and accounts of what happened - and plenty of publicity to prove you did the job."
The United Nations Security Council, lead by France and its clients, did not endorse the U.S.-orchestrated Gulf War II. It will be interesting to see how the intricate alliances and enemies of the Middle East justify the killing of the UN Special Enjoy, dedicated to serving the Iraqi people, and not the United States.
More than a dozen international civil servants, some of them no doubt Moslems, now become martyrs to the anti-Israeli cause. Or is it the anti-U.S. Occupation cause? Or the anti-Shiite cause? Or the anti-Sunni cause? Or the pro-Baathist cause?
Or perhaps it is the cause of criminals and other social deviants who have figured out that black markets, gun running, questionable forms of entertainment, sabotage of oil pipelines, power plants, and water mains, creates the kind of fertile soil for a Mafia, as the "new" Russia begat a few years ago.
As the father of an active duty American soldier, I would like to look the murderers of one or more soldiers and Marines each day, and ask them where they were in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
I ate, slept, and patrolled with young men of the United States Army who put their butts on the line to defend the life, limb, and honor of Islamic families. To be sure, some platoons of black-masked Iranian-financed fighters were fanning the flames, ostensibly to protect Moslems, but the U.S. turned the tide. It was not the coalition of IFOR, European forces, in dress uniforms, creased slacks, and riding air-conditioned Mitsubishi Monteros with stereo sound who saved lives. It was the dogface U.S. soldier, who never took a beer or a shot of whisky which might offend local residents, who restored the peace in body armor and helmets and bumpy Humvees.
The modern moral thieves of Baghdad pick and choice the portions of the despotic Saddam Hussein holocaust which are convenient at the moment. Basically, as in the textbook case of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, the raison d'EAtre for government became to keep the ruling cronies of the chief in power. At any cost. At all cost. At dear cost.
In some bizarre twist of geopolitics, the presence of U.S. fighters, now forced to play policemen, is the last, best hope for the Iraqi people.
This is the crossroads. This is the endgame.
Will Islamic fundamentalism produce an Iranian-style theocracy, or, as with many of the former Soviet Republics, will capitalist markets, and ethnic diversity, slowly open society to religious respect? Will a Turkish or Qatar, or even a Kuwaiti model, or a struggling Pakistani evolving model, be the fate of Iraq? Or will civil war, factions, and ethnic and intra-Moslem religious hatred result in hundreds of thousand bodies being added to Saddam's killing fields.
The half-dozen nations that lost patriots in the UN Baghdad bombing should redouble their efforts as individual nation-states to bring the criminals to justice.
Former UPI Newsman Mark Scheinbaum is chief investment strategist for Kaplan & Co. Securities. He taught political science at the University of Florida and University of South Florida, and his thesis on 'Cuban Foreign Policy in the English-Speaking Caribbean" won top prize from the Florida Political Science Association.