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« Attorney General Gonzales should resign, or Congress should | Main | The highest form of citizenship »

May 28, 2006

Comments

Christopher Taylor

My problem with this is not that it can't have happened - it would amaze me if we had a military action and some atrocity didn't happen, wars bring out the worst in people. My problem is that it benefits nobody but our enemies to drag it out into the press and especially have congressmen making speeches for political gain about it.

The military deals with these guys, just like Abu Ghraib. The only possible reason to do this is because you want to hurt the military and gain political power. That's completely reprehensible. We had atrocities happen in WW2, but no politician or media type felt compelled to make them full page stories for months.

Frank Warner

Well, we forget Patton getting in all that trouble for slapping a soldier who had battle fatigue. But that was abusing our own.

World War II troops were given the benefit of the doubt. At that time, a constant stream of Hollywood movies boosted the campaign to victory, and there were no ubiquitous video cameras to record everything every soldier did.

But it's true that, in World War II, by U.S. troops slaughtered more than 100 Dauchau prison guards, and the massacre was almost completely overlooked in the press. No one had any sympathy for the guards, even though they were disarmed and had basic rights to protection. And other similar events happened in that "good war."

What floored me with Murtha's comments was the utter glee he took in announcing that U.S. troops had committed murder in Iraq. This is where he and his fellow travelers have lost all perspective. It was too clear he hoped this atrocity finally would lose the war to the fascists.

Nicholas

You're both absolutely right.

We'll see how the investigation/trial goes. Then we'll have something more closely resembling facts to discuss, hopefully.

jj mollo

These things are very distressing. The best thing to do, I think, is the Right Thing. Get it all out in the open expeditiously, to make it apparent that that's the SOP. Then punish the offenders. It's painful to do, because we can all understand their motivations, but it has to be done. Abu Ghraib is still a thorn in our side because we haven't cleaned it out yet. We should have made everything public at once rather than letting it dribble out. And some responsible officer should have gotten taken the blame.

Christopher Taylor

I fail to see how "getting it out into the open" is the right thing, jj. I cannot work out why it helps anyone but our enemies to widely publicize something like this. If the military is dealing with it (and they DO), then why on earth do we need to have the press covering it and some Senator grandstanding with it?

During WW2, the press had stories like this but they understood why it was important to let the system fix it rather than publicize it and help our enemies.

Frank Warner

Christopher, if those Iraqis who are still sitting on the fence know about U.S. atrocities, and they don't hear we're punishing the guilty, which side of the fence do you think they'll fall on?

They have to find out that we fully investigate these things, that those Americans suspected of crimes are taken to trial, and that justice is done.

Yes, there are ways the enemy can abuse, distort and manipulate this kind of information. The free flow of information makes a democracy vulnerable to liars and cheats, but overall, freedom of information makes us stronger.

Christopher Taylor

They can hear we're punishing the guilty without the media having to play the story here ala Abu Grhaib. Certainly congressman Murtha doesn't need to be making speeches for personal political gain about them.

I'm less interested in enemy propaganda than I am simply in the comfort and recruiting power of these kinds of stories being plastered wall to wall in the USA 24 hours a day, for weeks.

This stuff simply was not covered in the past because the media understood that their role as information for the public carried a moral and patriotic civil duty as well.

jj mollo

I am opposed to muzzling the press. I am also opposed to massacres. The press will find out whatever it is that people are covering up. Nobody, but nobody, believes that this action has the same kind of moral force as WWII. People don't trust the government since Vietnam. A lot of people never trust the government anyway. It's a lot easier to get all the crap on the same shovel. Once people have been shocked, they just want to see government action to clean up the mess. The more expeditious and thorough, the more likely they are to believe that the government is being honest. One whiff of coverup will have the press, and the people, howling for ages. Why take a chance.

Frank Warner

Exactly. We're supposed to have faith in the free flow of information.

How can we fairly demand to know more about Kerry's Vietnam War service, and then demand to hear less about a recent Iraq war massacre?

Yes, a lot of this is a matter of degree. It's not just what a newspaper or TV network reports that matters. It's how it's reported. But no democratic government will ever have control over that, and we don't want government to have that kind of control.

George

Was Haditha A Hoax?

Christopher Taylor

I am opposed to muzzling the press. I am also opposed to massacres.

So am I. And as you'll note at no point did I remotely suggest muzzling the press nor say I supported massacres. I clearly distinguished between the coverage in WW2 and today - both of which were voluntary. The media should know better, but does not and does not care to avoid harming the US military, the president of the US, and helping our enemies.

Given that Haditha is shaping up to be a terrorist hoax that the press lapped up like a kitten with a saucer of milk, I'm disturbed at how readily people wanted to believe it.

Frank Warner

I have the feeling Haditha is no hoax, but it's just a feeling. On this, I "know" nothing so far.

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