I really ought not be surprised that this prisoner scandal has slipped into the usual political dynamic of scandal, with one side making accusations and the other shifting the blame. If there was ever a catastrophe that we could all agree is bad business, that we could all work together to address, this would have been it. But the fingers are starting to point, accountability is shifted, myriad excuses are offered to the media in hopes that one might stick. It's sick, and people are getting mad.
Tommy over at Zunta has some words on this new line that the beheading of Nick Berg is the media's fault, since they broadcast the Abu Ghraib images.
What a ludicrously patronizing point of view. Does he really think the Iraqi people tune in to CBS to learn what's going on in their own country? That they would discount their countrymen's anecdotal accounts because of a lack of photographic evidence? Let's be just a little bit realistic: released prisoners will relate what happened to them; families will notice when their loved ones don't come home; soldiers will continue leaking photos of atrocities until they find someone who will show them. People will talk. The truth will emerge. Holes in the evidentiary record will simply be filled in by people's imaginations, which is hardly a preferable alternative.
Covering up the photos would have served no purpose -- aside from protecting our leaders from the shame and scorn they're currently facing. It's too bad we've got to lose even more of the world's esteem, but under the circumstances it's tough to call it anything but justice.
Hell yes. Flipping over to Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall is taking on the reprehensible statements of Senator Inhofe, who you'll recall professed being "more outraged by the outrage" than by the abuse. (You mean the Senator is more troubled that this scandal is biting the Republican Party in the ass than that America has betrayed its own fundamental principles? I have zero trouble believing that this is a true statement, and certainly more revealing about Inhofe than anything else.) He further said, "I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons, looking for human rights violations while our troops, our heroes, are fighting and dying." Sen. McCain, a former POW himself who probably wouldn't have minded a few "do-gooders" crawling around his cells, walked out of the room at this point.
An angry Josh Marshall writes:
America's greatest moments in the last century came when she tempered power with right and toughened, or sharpened, the edges of right with power -- World War II, then the post-war settlement that framed the Cold War are the clearest, though certainly not the only, examples.
But here you have Jim Inhofe lumbering out of his cave and on to the stage, arguing that we can do whatever we want because we're America. Inhofe's America is one that is glutted on pretension, cut free from all its moral ballast, and hungry to sit atop a world run only by violence. Lady Liberty gets left with fifty bucks, a sneer, a black eye, and the room to herself for the couple hours left before check out.