You know things are not going well in Iraq when pop singer Jessica Simpson joins the ranks of the outraged. Simpson is reportedly upset that footage depicting the not-so-great side of life in Iraq was excised from a show about her trip earlier this year to visit U.S. troops.
ABC filmed Simpson's trip to perform for soldiers there, but Simpson reportedly claims that ABC didn't include the parts involving "the enemy attacks and the shelling," charging that those tapes "got mysteriously misplaced."
You have to hand it to the cut-off jeans-wearing star of "The Dukes of Hazzard" for speaking the truth about her experience in Iraq. And there doesn't seem to be much good news coming out of there these days. A terrorist group linked to al Qaida announced Wednesday that it had executed two Algerian diplomats who were kidnapped on July 21. Also on Wednesday, the U.S. military command disclosed that four American soldiers had been killed Sunday by a roadside bomb and 16 Iraqi government officials had been slain by automatic gunfire on Tuesday while leaving their offices in western Baghdad.
Meanwhile, The Denver Post has obtained the transcript of a soldier in the National Guard who testified that he witnessed fellow soldiers beat an Iraqi detainee with the handle of a sledgehammer. William Cassara, the defense attorney for one of the 3 soldiers on trial for murder, said "I have no doubts that other government agencies used methods of interrogation that were much worse."
A separate report emerged Wednesday that a company of the California Army National Guard operating outside of Baghdad has been put on restricted duty after allegations surfaced that members of Alpha Company mistreated Iraqi detainees and extorted local shopkeepers. Soldiers within the company are being investigated for allegedly doing "a pretty good job" on one detainee with an electric stun gun. "This is a battalion that is just rotting," one soldier was quoted as saying. "There is no trust in each other. There is no confidence in leadership."
And if that's not bad enough, there is growing concern that the nascent Iraqi constitution will incorporate Islamic law to the degree of curtailing women's rights.
As for Jessica Simpson, her weekly wisdoms on the reality television show "Newlyweds" never created the impression that she would emerge as a free-thinker. But she's clearly got better political instincts than her colleague Britney Spears. A "gum-smacking" Spears told CNN in Sept. 2003 that questioning the course of national affairs isn't her bag -- and apparently shouldn't be anyone's. "Honestly," she said, "I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that."