John Ray reports further on the NYTimes' bullying of Iraqis:
Many Iraqis are frustrated. They wonder if Americans really care at all about them. Do we as Americans really believe in the universal rights we so easily banter about? Do they belong to all or only to those with power and the influence?This seems a little naive to me. We Americans have never experienced the kind of struggle being fought in Iraq between the liberators of the coalition and the dead-enders. The Ba'athists, Fedayeen and Arab outsiders know they can't win, but they want to keep the populace from cooperating by showing them that they're out there taking names for later retribution and causing damage to demonstrate that coalition forces aren't really in control.
It is not sufficient to dispose of Saddam and his followers and leave the rest to hasty elections. Democracy and the rights and responsibilities of freedom must be learned. America as the provisional authority needs to teach by example. A proper resolution of conflict between the New York Times and the Al Ali family would be a small but important step in the right direction.
In such a situation, the main thing is to establish order and make it safe to go outdoors. Without order, the other rights that we espouse don't mean much. Like the rights of property owners in South Central L. A. during the Rodney King riots, most of these rights, can't be guaranteed in the absence of order. Until Iraq has a working provisional government, with Iraqi laws, Iraqi police and working courts, it behooves everyone to protect themselves, even the NYTimes. However, the Times' behavior in this case is in ironic contrast with its editorial policy of continually whining about conditions in Baghdad.