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Under a broad new set of laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government or its officials, some resurrected verbatim from Saddam Hussein's penal code, roughly a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials in the past year.

In addition to coping with government pressures, dozens of Iraqi journalists have been kidnapped by criminal gangs or detained by the American military, on suspicion that they are helping Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias. One, Bilal Hussein, who photographed insurgents in Anbar Province for The Associated Press, has been in American custody without charges since April.


RECENT EVENTS: UNFREE PRESS IN IRAQ, AND US SUPPORT

Under a broad new set of laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government or its officials, some resurrected verbatim from Saddam Hussein's penal code, roughly a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials in the past year.

In addition to coping with government pressures, dozens of Iraqi journalists have been kidnapped by criminal gangs or detained by the American military, on suspicion that they are helping Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias. One, Bilal Hussein, who photographed insurgents in Anbar Province for The Associated Press, has been in American custody without charges since April.

Source: New York Times, 9/29/2006, Iraqi Journalists Add Laws to List of Dangers
http://www.nytimes.com/...

This article said that US military is assisting the Iraqi government in imprisoning journalists without trial in Iraq.  The Iraqi law appears to outlaw free press.  The law in Iraq appears to differ from the law in United States in regard to freedom of press.  In the face of this difference in law, the US military has been put into the position of choosing which law to uphold, US or Iraqi law.

WHAT US LAW SAYS ABOUT FREE PRESS

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Source: United States Constitution, First Amendment

THE OATHS OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

The Constitution has always been a document that belongs to the people.

Every day, throughout the nation, American citizens swear an oath to protect and defend the ideals embraced and enhanced by each generation of their countrymen. Immigrants who seek to become naturalized citizens, the men and women of the armed forces, public officials, federal employees, and countless others pledge to uphold this living document that lays out the role of government within a democracy. And every day, Americans ensure the continuation of our democracy by practicing the rights guaranteed to them under the Constitution.

This is continuing tribute not only to our forefathers who so passionately debated each article and draft of this great document but also to citizens who fought to make the Constitution, and subsequently the government, reflective of the needs of the people.

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
http://www.archives.gov/...

THE OATH OF THE PRESIDENT:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Source: United States Constitution

THE OATH OF THE OTHER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICERS:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

Source: Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
http://inaugural.senate.gov/...

THE OATHS OF THE ARMED FORCES:

I, ____________, do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed overme, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

I, ___________, do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of ____________ against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of ________ and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations.

In all cases the individual is free to decide whether to add these optional words to their oath: "So help me God."

Source: Enlistment Oath
http://usmilitary.about.com/...

The very essence of being a member of our armed forces is defined when a recruit takes the oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This single act of commitment is significant because the military truly values the superiority of principle.

Source: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, National Military Appreciation Month
http://www.senate.gov/...

Unqualified with respect to location or time or condition or foreign government policy, the oaths of the United States armed forces and government officials are.

ANY QUESTIONS?

How is the imprisonment of foreign journalists in a foreign country, with US assistance, an expression of the defense of the US Constitution's First Amendment?

Here is another question.  Is the new Senate-approved detainee bill, should it become law, going to be the future basis for the capture by US military, of foreign journalists?

The bill also expands the definition of "enemy combatants" to include those who provide weapons, money and other support to terrorist groups.

Source: Reuters, Senate gives final approval to detainee bill, 9/28/2006
http://today.reuters.com/...

Final question:  

Do you, the reader, feel that it would better serve the interest of the USA to perhaps modify the oath, to drop the defense of the US Constitution at all doorsteps to foreign soils?  

As for me, I think the defense of the US Constitution should never be dropped in any circumstance or condition.

Originally posted to mrcoder on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 09:29 AM PDT.

Poll

Do you, the reader, feel that it would better serve the interest of the USA to perhaps modify the oath, to drop the defense of the US Constitution at all doorsteps to foreign soils?

0%0 votes
100%6 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 6 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Please recommend this article only if you like it and wish other people would read it.  Thanks!

    Same story different day: Warrantless eavesdropping ends in impeachment.

    by mrcoder on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 09:31:10 AM PDT

  •  The first Saddam law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Devore

    the USA employed was the 1987 Saddam law banning labor unions. This was in 2003, mind you.

    Pinkertons at the CPA
    Iraq's resurgent labor unions could have helped rebuild the country's civil society. The Bush administration of course tried to crush them.

    By Matthew Harwood

    First, during his tenure, CPA chief L. Paul Bremer repealed virtually the whole Iraqi legal structure with his so-called 100 Orders. He did not, however, repeal Saddam's 1987 Labor Code, which forfeited the right of public sector workers to bargain collectively. That decision, though deeply foolish for purposes of nation-building, made perfect sense to the movement ideologues staffing the U.S. occupation. Much of the CPA's effort in Baghdad was devoted to helping create a conservative's ideal state, complete with a 15 percent flat tax on individual and corporate income. Bremer's crew was so zealous that they tried, in September 2003, to privatize virtually the whole economy—200 state-owned firms. Legalizing labor unions would not have been helpful, to say the least, to these privatization plans.

    Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

    by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 09:38:09 AM PDT

  •  we are still funding (0+ / 0-)
    efforts to get the "good news" out of Iraq:

    "U.S. military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    I swore I heard a stem cell yell:'Blastocysterhood is powerful!"

    by Miss Devore on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 09:46:32 AM PDT

  •  What would congress think? (0+ / 0-)
    What do you think a Senator or Congressperson would say, if they were asked whether the US military's imprisoning of journalists in Iraq is a proper expression of defense of the US Constitution?

    Would they duck the question?

    Same story different day: Warrantless eavesdropping ends in impeachment.

    by mrcoder on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:08:13 AM PDT

  •  It is the right of the Iraqi government (0+ / 0-)
    The NYT article also says, in a quote,

    It is the right of the Iraqi government, as it combats terrorism, to silence any voice that tries to harm the national unity, said Mr. Sadr, of the Iraqi Media Network.

    There is where we differ, Iraq and US.

    That "right to silence any voice" is certainly not a right of the US government, if the First Amendment is a concern.

    I wonder then, why are there reports of the US military cooperating in silencing journalists, as the article says.

    Same story different day: Warrantless eavesdropping ends in impeachment.

    by mrcoder on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:13:39 AM PDT

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