As'ad AbuKhalil points us to this press release from Human Rights Watch, detailing an ongoing campaign of torture and murder against Iraqi homosexuals (and "suspected" homosexuals and men considered not "manly" enough). The killings are being carried out by the sectarian extremists unleashed by the American invasion – including agents of the American-installed government. As HRW reports:
Iraqi militias are carrying out a spreading campaign of torture and murder against men suspected of homosexual conduct, or of not being "manly" enough, and Iraq authorities have done nothing to stop the killing...
The 67-page report, "‘They Want Us Exterminated': Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq," documents a wide-reaching campaign of extrajudicial executions, kidnappings, and torture of gay men that began in early 2009. The killings began in the vast Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, a stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, and spread to many cities across Iraq. Mahdi Army spokesmen have promoted fears about the "third sex" and the "feminization" of Iraq men, and suggested that militia action was the remedy. Some people told Human Rights Watch that Iraqi security forces have colluded and joined in the killing....
The killers invade homes and pick people up in the street, witnesses and survivors said, interrogating them before murdering them to extract names of other potential victims. They practice grotesque tortures, including gluing men's anuses shut as punishment. Human Rights Watch spoke to doctors who said that hospitals and morgues have received dozens of mutilated bodies, living and dead.
"Murder and torture are no way to enforce morality," said Rasha Moumneh, Middle East and North Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. "These killings point to the continuing and lethal failure of Iraq's post-occupation authorities to establish the rule of law and protect their citizens."
HRW also points out that the killings and torture violate even the most fundamentalist understanding of Sharia law, which the perpetrators are claiming to enforce.
In his brief post on the report, AbuKhalil goes on to make this pertinent observation:
Good for Human Rights Watch for issuing this report. I just hope that they notice that the American invasion of Iraq has killed Iraqi gays, lesbians, heterosexuals, and asexuals alike.
Yes, when you destroy a society by aggressive war, when you kill more than one million innocent people (out of a total population of 25 million: a kill rate of one out of every 25 Iraqis), when you dispossess four million innocent people, when you join with your local puppets in a savage war of ethnic cleansing, when through invasion and prior years of near-genocidal sanctions you eviscerate one of the most secular states in the Middle East, when you empower violent religious extremists to further your own agenda of domination, this is what you get: the eruption of the human mind's most savage instincts and blind fears, set loose in a maelstrom of degradation.
And still, the urbane, educated, civilized, "progressive" president can stand before the world and declare that America's military rapine of Iraq is "an extraordinary achievement." And so it is. And so was the Holocaust, the Inquisition, the Trail of Tears, the liquidation of the "kulaks" and many other epiphanies of human civilization. But to be extraordinarily evil is not usually considered something to brag about. That Obama can do so without batting an eye is a telling indication of moral degradation of our own society.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on August 21, 2009.