Friday, April 29, 2005
On this day:

"What Liberal Media?" -- Eric Alterman

Opinion Journal: Abu Ghraib Accountability -- An overhyped story, not a whitewash
The independent inquiry headed by former Defense Secretary Jim Schlesinger--whose Cabinet career included a stint in the Carter Administration--likewise concluded last summer that the Abu Ghraib abuses weren't related to interrogations at all. That should have put the nail in the coffin of the theory that high-level Bush Administration discussions about techniques for handling al Qaeda detainees somehow resulted in the abuses in Iraq. Yes, there were abuses in Iraq beyond what was pictured at Abu Ghraib, but abuses happen in war and in civilian prisons too. No evidence has been produced to support allegations that the abuses were "systematic" or that they were inspired or condoned by superiors up the chain of command. As Mr. Schlesinger also noted, by any statistical measure--such as the rate of reported abuse incidents per detainee--treatment of detainees in the overall war on terror has been exemplary. In short, the so-called "torture narrative" that was so hyped by the media last year was entirely false. [...] The salient and remarkable truth here is that America has punished its own for the Abu Ghraib abuses; and it has done so even before Saddam and his henchmen have faced justice for the horrors they propagated in that same prison. More than a few good soldiers have had their careers tarnished by the media and Democratic innuendo that they somehow condoned human rights abuses. They deserve an apology. After all the evidence to the contrary, continuing to allege systematic prisoner abuse--and a coverup--by the U.S. military is itself shameful.