Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Deja Vu Prison Break Edition

The past week or so has seen dramatic prison breaks in Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan.  I cannot help but have flashbacks not just to the movies and TV shows of my youth but to more recent events: the prison breaks in Kandahar in 2008 and 2011.  Like the more recent ones, hundreds of extremists (and other folks) were freed in attacks upon the prison (break number 1) and tunnels (break number 2).  Like the recent ones, the prisons in Kandahar were in the hands of the indigenous folks.  It astonishes me that anyone would look to the US when thinking about the Abu Grhaib break since the US has been out of Iraq for a few years now.*  Same for the other places.
*  The original sin, of course, still is American--choosing to continue to use a prison that was used by Hussein to torture people and then where American abused occurred.  They should have closed that place down after Hussein fell...

In Kandahar, one could wonder about whether the Canadians should have faced some blame even though the prison was in the hands of the Afghans.  So much effort was made by the Canadians to improve the prisons--in terms of treating the prisoners better.  Not so much in keeping them in the prison.  The first break could be seen as surprising--that the Taliban could coordinate and plan better than expected.  The second?  This was not the first time someone tried to tunnel out of a prison.  Plus it was clear then as it is becoming clear in the case of the Abu Grhaib prison that there was significant inside help. 

Anyhow, as people keep talking about the three big prison breaks of July, I cannot help but think of the Saraposa prison in Kandahar.  That and whether we should use the theme from The Great Escape or from Hogan's Heroes?  This silly suggestion is actually a reminder that none of this is very new.

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