On Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times (search) carried an interesting story about Iraqi TV (search).

In Iraq, one of the most popular shows — you might call it a reality show — is a program that features people who are purported to be captured terrorists confessing their crimes — and in some cases facing the families of their Iraqi victims, or in some cases those families taking kind of largely symbolic retribution, like hitting them on the head with a shoe.

The show is called "Terrorism in the Grip of Justice" and it began airing just before the election. The L.A. Times says it couldn't figure out if the people confessing are really terrorists. Evidently Iraqis think they are and the Iraqis are glued to the tube for this show.

Iraqis say the show demonstrates that the Iraqi government is functioning and fighting the terrorists. The insurgents don't like it at all. They have already kidnapped and killed one reporter from the network that airs the series. And they've put out their own tapes saying they'll kill anybody working for the TV station.

According to The L.A. Times, in one video a man identified as an insurgent says he was sent to Iraq by Syria — that he conducted a school for beheadings, using sheep to practice on before his trainees grabbed Iraqi cops and cut their heads off. Another confesses to kidnapping and raping women as a form of intimidation. And one who claimed to be a cell leader of beheaders said he made as much as $30,000 a month to cut off peoples heads.

Iraqis are apparently flocking to their TV sets for this series. They get to see old ladies in black whacking terrorists in the face with a shoe. And they are promised that the terrorists will be dealt with harshly by the new government.

So what does this show say to Iraqis — who, by the way, tend to watch the show because it's too dangerous to go out to public places like parks? It says you're winning — the terrorists aren't.

Maybe Americans would like to see this program. After all, Americans might like to hear that same message too.

That's My Word.

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