A pregnant woman being murdered. Innocent people being shot at close range. An old man’s body found riddled with holes from a power drill. Another man found dead, hanging on a meat hook.Did you miss this story? The article was written by David Corn in The Nation and also published in The Washington Post. The scenes he described are not from the new “Halloween” movie or another “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” flick. They were recounted at a Congressional hearing by Iraqi Judge Radhi al-Radhi, who fled to this country to testify.

Radhi attributes all of these grisly acts, as well as the illegal use of billions of dollars, to what he alleges to be a corrupt and criminal regime led by the current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

You read that correctly. Maliki, not Saddam Hussein.

With a story this unsettling, it seemed important to do some checking on the credibility and biases of the key people involved. Most of us remember many cases of misinformation that came out in the early stages of some emerging story. (Remember Jessica Lynch?)

David Corn is the author of The Lies of George W. Bush. Did he slant this Iraq story to discredit Administration war policy? Is Radhi believable? A search for the transcript of the actual testimony led to something better–a YouTube video, posted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of the judge reading his statement.

The video confirms every detail of Corn’s report and leaves one with the impression that Judge Radhi is a true Iraqi patriot, courageous, artless and forthright. You can watch it and judge for yourself. This is a straightforward, no fluff, ten minutes of testimony with no padding added or needed.

So what exactly did Judge Radhi say?

Radhi was the head of the Commission on Public Integrity in Iraq, leading a staff that investigated crime and fraud in the government. He alleges that he narrowly escaped a sniper’s bullet and that his home has been attacked by rockets. His staff members have received death threats. Family members of his staff have been kidnapped or killed (at least 31 dead), including the father of his security chief, whose body was hung on a meat hook. Staff and their families have been shot at close range, including one man’s wife who was seven months pregnant. The father of one of Radhi’s clerical workers was kidnapped and his body was found full of holes from a power drill. A suicide bomber walked into the office of one of Radhi’s top staff members and murdered him.

This is all in addition to the CapNews.Net piece that tells more about the tens of billions of dollars of misappropriated funds/oil. The Senior Ministry of Oil allowed the militia to sell oil to the insurgents, thereby helping support the very kind of terrorism our own troops are battling to end.

Thus, the insurgents give money to militias who are out to kill them, the militias give oil to the insurgents, who are threatening the country supposedly protected by the militias, and the whole insane mess sounds like something out of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

Radhi did not claim that Maliki was directly involved in any of this but was cautious to say only that the Prime Minister had protected his own family members who were involved. One of the questions in the Congressional hearing suggested that Iraq is living in a “culture of corruption” that is a continuation of precedents set by Saddam’s regime.

The dialogue at the hearing focused on the word “corruption.” That description is too mild and limited. The barbarism alleged by Judge Radhi goes beyond corruption. It is outright depravity.

The news of these allegations has received lackluster attention beyond the initial reporting. They remain only allegations, at least to the public. But they are certainly credible enough to be seriously investigated.

Consider this sobering and obvious point: If Radhi’s allegations are true, then we may have another leader in Iraq as corrupt and sadistic as Saddam. We originally fought this war to throw out Saddam and give the Iraqi people the right to a democratic government.

Maliki is the man they chose. If he is truly as ruthlessly barbaric as Saddam, what do we do now? Turn our U.S. forces against Maliki, depose him, monitor his execution, and let the Iraqis hold another democratic election? For what? To choose yet another leader as evil as Saddam and Maliki?

We could theoretically win a war against corrupt and elusive insurgencies, although most of our own generals seriously doubt it. But we cannot win a war against a whole culture of corruption in a nation we are defending. If the civil war antagonists are actively doing business with each other, who do we fight? And how can we win a battle against a democratically elected government that is potentially as corrupt and depraved as the one it replaced?

The war against terror is a serious matter that deserves serious, intelligent, shrewd interventions. It also requires massive funding. All of this is being sucked down a rat hole in Iraq in a war we cannot win. Our interventions should be targeted elsewhere, places where we actually can win.

President Bush has taken some hard hits for his decisions about the Iraq War. Some of these criticisms are well reasoned, some are guesswork, some are propaganda, and some are merely comfortable hindsight.

And let’s be honest with ourselves. Remember five years ago. Most of us supported this war–citizens and Congress and the military. Some of the intelligence was faulty or nonexistent. Try to name any war in history where that hasn’t been true. But it was not much of a leap to conclude that someone who had gassed his own countrymen and systematically tortured and murdered many others would certainly use more sophisticated WMD’s if he could get his hands on them.

The president was not psychic (neither were we), and he has made some decisions that have had tragic results. But it does not require psychic ability to see this: It is time for the president to lead, not resist, the movement to pull our troops and resources out of Iraq and select better terrorist targets. There is still time for him to salvage American lives, not to mention his own legacy, with victories in other winnable areas.

Perhaps it is time for all of us to quit pitting “red states” against “blue states” and unite to win the larger war against terror. Every minute we waste pointing our fingers at each other gives our enemies another minute to point their guns at our soldiers.

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