Iraq: Like a Serpent’s Tooth

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These U.S. military police train Iraqi military police -- and soon could be arrested by them / Army photo by Aaron J. Herrera

We noted on Monday that there seem to be no plans for the Iraqi government to award U.S. troops a medal for ridding its nation of Saddam Hussein (Kuwait and Saudi Arabia did so following the 1991 Gulf War). Now comes word that Baghdad has decided not to give U.S. troops stationed in Iraq after this year the traditional immunity from local prosecution that foreign troops usually get from host governments (U.S. soldiers who get in trouble overseas generally are dealt with under the U.S. military’s Uniform Code of Military Justice instead of in local courts, where fair trials often are deemed unlikely).

While this decision may not hold, it’s a clear indication that post-war Iraq is less-than-grateful for the 4,477 U.S. lives lost, and $1 trillion spent by U.S. taxpayers, in the effort. But look at the bright side: instead of a dictator unilaterally granting U.S. troops immunity, a fledgling democracy has had its say.