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Lileks: Liberation of Children's Jail
Lileks: The Bleat ^ | April 9, 2003 | James Lileks

Posted on 04/09/2003 6:11:47 AM PDT by tictoc

Allied troops liberated a children’s jail today.

I wish that sentence made no sense.

Someone had to decide there would be children’s jails. Who? Saddam? He had more important things to do. Children matter as much to his world as dogs, or lamps. He may have signed off on the idea of creating a youth brigade, and put a gold star in the dossier of the sweating toady who proposed the idea. When someone put forth a proposal for jails to hold the children who resisted joining the brigades, he may have felt that spasm of impatience that shoots through the dictator’s heart from time to time: why are you bothering me with this? Build them; I don’t care. You think this is the path to advancement? You want my ear and my eye, kill someone who matters.

Would Uday care? He feeds on fear, but there’s no power or satisfaction in the fear of a child, because the truth of death and the horror of rape is really quite beyond their boring imaginations. They have to know what you can do, really understand what’s coming for it to be fun.

Qusay would care, inasmuch as children are useful. People who might resist you will do anything if you bring their children into the matter. He learned that from his father, no doubt. Some things his father doesn’t quite grasp; he’s old school. Where he grew up all children were expendable. This is a different world, a world of the big city, a world of politics, a world of men who went to school and learned to build bridges, design hotels, construct sewer systems. Men like this are remarkably pliant when their children are involved. Children’s jails: ahhh, now why didn’t he think of that.

There was a general who fought in the war against Iran - fought well, cared for his troops, put down the cowards when required, but had a reputation for no-nonsense honesty. He understood the men. Not one of those Baghdad bastards with the slogans and the phony medals, but a real soldier. He had no ambition. The purges passed him by. His lungs were never the same after that glorious offensive no one celebrates, the one where the wind suddenly shifted and his men fell in waves, weeping and puking - but they gave worse than they got, so he kept his commission. Dull, dependable: Ba’ath to the end. Nothing he had done in his long career had troubled him much; war was what it was. You did what you did. One afternoon he opened the envelope and read of his new duty - overseeing the children’s jail. The emotions rose and demanded a hearing: Shame over such a pitiful assignment. Fear that this meant he was in disfavor. Annoyance at the thought of a prison full of whimpering children who would never learn the proper lesson until they’d been beaten a dozen times. Jealousy of an old comrade he’d seen on the news the other day, inspecting some facility, his uniform clean and creased.

The end result of a fascist regime is always this: a man who seeks advancement by proposing a children’s jail; a smarter man who sees the political advantage of building one; the men who lock the doors and make the gruel with dead empty hearts, and the man who worries what will happen to him if the jail is found wanting.

The children, of course, don’t matter at all. In fact they matter least of all, and after a while their jailers come to hate them for what they make the jailers do.

A daisy chain of snakes biting their tales. Look up at the portrait hanging on the wall. Ask yourself what he wants. Bite harder.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: bleat; iraq; lileks

1 posted on 04/09/2003 6:11:48 AM PDT by tictoc
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To: tictoc
Just heard about this on FNC.

I sure hope Diogeninesses or somebody can get us some photos of that to rub in the faces of our "peaceniks" who would have delayed this liberation - forever!

FNC said that some of these kids had been locked up for years, and came out into the arms of Parents who had been waiting for them for all that time.

Pictures, PULEEEEZE!!
2 posted on 04/09/2003 6:17:33 AM PDT by Uncle Jaque ("You boys think that War is all glory; I am here to tell you; War is all HELL!" WTS)
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To: tictoc
Now here's something you don't see everyday; a writer who can make you feel the blackness of these mens' hearts. I hope the French and Germans read this and feel sick.
3 posted on 04/09/2003 6:27:05 AM PDT by Sender
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To: tictoc
Any childrens' jails would have been specifically ordered and enthusiastically approved by the Saddam-ite himself.

Saddam was a profound admirer of Josef Stalin, and copied his methods meticulously. For example, if one person in a household was suspected of disloyalty, the entire household, and all of its discoverable family connections would be executed or imprisoned.

4 posted on 04/09/2003 6:32:53 AM PDT by genefromjersey (Save the last 6 for pall-bearers !)
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To: Sender
James Lileks is one of my most favorite writers.

There are many journalists who churn out a column day after day.

A smaller number of journalists manage to write something good every once in a while.

Only a handful are so prolific and creative that they hit paydirt with the regularity of clockwork.

Mark Steyn is one of these few, and so is Lileks.
5 posted on 04/09/2003 6:35:05 AM PDT by tictoc
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To: genefromjersey
That kind of power over others gives plenty of gubmint employees a hard-on.

Kill 'em all. Heads on Pikes!
6 posted on 04/09/2003 6:37:06 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: headsonpikes
Friends ! Roamin' Countrymen : Bring me their EARS !!
7 posted on 04/09/2003 6:51:55 AM PDT by genefromjersey (Save the last 6 for pall-bearers !)
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To: genefromjersey; headsonpikes
Bring me their EARS !!

You're aiming about 2-1/2 feet too high, IMO...

8 posted on 04/09/2003 7:10:51 AM PDT by general_re (If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, riddle them with bullets.)
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To: tictoc
Brilliant--and infinitely sad--article.
9 posted on 04/09/2003 7:11:36 AM PDT by boris (Education is always painful; pain is always educational)
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To: general_re

I'm easy; start there.

Decapitation and sticking is the icing on the cake, so to speak.


I'm in a festive mood...Pulling down the Statue...'Human Shields Go Home US Wankers...LOL!

It's a great day to be a freedomite.
10 posted on 04/09/2003 7:28:53 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: headsonpikes
They've got a crane now, if you've got the news on - my personal ETA for that statue coming down is about ten more minutes.

It's a great day to be a freedomite.

Absolutely goddamn right. Some things are worth fighting for, and freedom is one of them. Suck on that one, Saddam-snugglers...

11 posted on 04/09/2003 7:34:32 AM PDT by general_re (If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, riddle them with bullets.)
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To: Mr. Mulliner
The stories coming out of this war will be truly awesome!
12 posted on 04/09/2003 8:07:47 AM PDT by Molly Pitcher (Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow....)
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To: Molly Pitcher
I was reading this from Lileks about the time you pinged! I'm glad someone posted it because I was thinking I'd like more people to read it too.
13 posted on 04/09/2003 8:59:11 AM PDT by Mr. Mulliner ("I could be a really good Christian if other people didn't mess me up all the time.")
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To: Mr. Mulliner
James Lileks is a writer who actually becomes your friend. I've been reading everything he's been putting out since '98.

He's incredibly funny - and one of the best serious writers I've read in any newspaper anywhere.

14 posted on 04/09/2003 5:25:08 PM PDT by Republicanus_Tyrannus
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To: Republicanus_Tyrannus
What a chilling, well written piece!
15 posted on 04/10/2003 1:32:38 AM PDT by lainde
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