Should the US Coalition arrest and detain all Saddam loyalists in Iraq?

I gotta admit that this stems more from an emotional viewpoint rather than a logical one but I will try to rationalize it anyway. Basically, I am more than just a bit annoyed at Iraqis chanting that Saddam chant that was poundend into them since childhood. They use it like some kind of mojo to ward any Saddam bad luck that might befall them. I have grave suspicions that the hospitals that were looted were done by Fedayeen thugs and lawless Saddam bullies. And there have been more than a few news clips of arrogant Saddam followers who taunt the US journalist and make throat slashing gestures.

I think they should all be rounded up and taken to a central location to be guarded by Bradley fighting vehicles and 50 caliber machine guns. They should be precessed, interogated for their involvement in the regime and kept at that place until a new govt is formed.

Talk me out of this. Why is this idea wrong?

How would they identify and separate “loyalists” from “free speakers” from “mindless ‘Saddam’ chanters”?

It’s not that you’re wrong to think the ones we know as regime insiders should be detained and investigated, it’s that the broader we make our criteria for suspicion, the larger our task becomes and the less effective we can be at catching real villains. --And the more Iraqis we detain and question, the more we’re going to resemble occupiers and oppressors.

I dont see how we are going to be viewed as oppressors and occupiers when all we’re doing is rounding up the group of people whom most of the population hate anyways. It might be even rationalised as protective custody, because as the incident at the Najaf Mosque clearly shows, Saddam loyalists are hated to death. To isolate these people saves them from revenge and protects the non-loyalists who may try to protect them on their own (like that shiite cleric who died with the loyalist cleric)

The US can also say that the roundup is part of keeping law and order since we can remove all Fedayeen extremists from the streets and keep them out of mischief.

What did the French do with their Nazi collaborators?

How about “impractical”? There are probably at least several million folks in Iraq that were fond of Saddam. Guarding that many people would take several hundred thousand of our troops, who wouldn’t be free to do anything else. You also have to feed, clothe, and house them (unless you aren’t interested in the Geneva convention or the opinion of the other folks in the world who are interested in it).

Bear in mind that the coalition forces let many of the folks in the opposition army walk away (sans weapons or uniforms) when they gave up. How are you going to justify your new approach given that earlier (and, IMHO, much wiser) one?

What say we round up just the folks who actually committed crimes and leave the other ones be?

…Several Million??! Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahhaf … Is that you?? :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

OK maybe a centralized location might have been too grandiose, but I was estimating more in the 10’s of thousands not millions. They will have to be fed, to be sure its gonna be bring your own clothes. If the people outside the secuity fence dont have shoes, it would be fair that the people inside dont have them either. If it takes a large portion of our resources to keep an eye on on spot, wouldnt that be better than keeping an eye on several thousand spots and not knowing whats going to happen? Besides, a bit later on, there can be Iraqi guards as well. That will release some of the US soldiers to go round up some more.

If we embrace the rounding up of Saddamites too freely, it’ll eventually be perceived by the less ethically challenged members of the populace as a convenient way to settle unrelated grudges, and get out from under irksome obligations. We do not want to get into a situation where the Iraqi’s start throwing their shoes at us for jailing friends and relatives without any real evidence of wrongdoing.

I was thinking that informants can just point out the loyalists (or collaborators) and they can be detained. A magistrate can hear witnesses and testimony as to the validity of the claim and jail whomever falsely accused the detainee.

I gotta admire you for really trying to make this idea work, X… but there are substantial problems with what you propose:[ul][]First, I don’t think you understand the scale of the problem involved in hearing all grievances Iraqis have against other Iraqis. If we give them an official judiciary apparatus specifically set up for score-settling, half the adult population may very well turn up to accuse the other half, or each other. Even if it’s only a tenth, you’ve just put a case load of hundreds of thousands of cases on a military justice system that’s bound to be strained by the simple necessities of every day law and order.[]Public relations. We’ve just liberated (to use the advertised term) the Iraqi people from a repressive police state. At this very moment, coalition people are trying to identify career Iraqi civil servants and put them back to work in their former positions, to get the country working again. This includes former police. Anything resembling a witch hunt for “accused collaborators” is not only going to impede this process, it’s also quite likely to be perceived by many Iraqis as a signal that the US is setting up to impose the same sort of repression from which we’ve just freed them. “Meet the new boss— same as the old boss.”Reconstruction. Not only physical infrastructure but also administrative. How are we going to accomplish this without 90% or better involvement by Iraqi specialists, which must include a majority of people who’ve had to be cooperative to some extent with the SH regime? For any of these people, couldn’t a circumstantial case be made that they are “loyalists”?[/ul]I just can’t see what you’re suggesting as being either viable for the present or conducive to future necessities.

I don’t have “the” answer, but it seems to me to be a lot like it was in Germany after WWII. Surely some lessons were learned there which could be applied in the current situation.

When you say “loyalist,” to whom are you referring? The government higher-ups, the extremists that could wreak havoc, or the citizens that think Saddam didn’t suck?

I’m with WillGolfForFood on this one–just get the ones that are actually guilty of some wrongdoing, and leave the rest alone.

Loyalists are just that, people loyal to Saddam Hussien. It doesnt matter what their rank or station in life, they believe in Saddam and his methods, his regime and his way of life. I am not talking about people who tried to make the best of it in a really bad situation or forced to do something that they otherwise wouldnt do if not for the treat of life and family’s well being. Loyalist move under their own volition. They are not ordered or commanded, they do what they do because of a strong belief not the mindless obedience of orders. These are dangerous people that must be prevented from any form of power.

Our dear Slayer seems to believe there is some kind of Vulcan mind meld to discern what people believe and who are “loyalists.”

Let me profer, in addition to the comments preceding on why this is a bad idea, the following:

(a) Iraq was a totalitarian regime for the past 40 years, preceding Sadaam even.
(b) In totalitarian regimes, everyone but the lowest of the low are likely to get a bit dirty, you can read Milovan Djilas for a view on living such a life in another context
© Iraq is riven by ethnic and religious splits, and already signs are people are using accusations against others to settle scores, personal, political and religious. Your ‘idea’ would further insert Anglo forces into that bee hive, and into a situation which they have few language skills to enable information to be truly checked.

In short, the idea is foolish and self-destructive.