Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Public Has A Right To Know??

There are apparently more photos from the prison at Abu Graib than we have seen. Apparently the abuses were much more serious than we had originally been told.

These abuses, when committed by Americans are absolutely indefensible. Those responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We expect much better of ourselves and each other than that.

However, I find the continued harping about this subject by the American Media to be a bit distasteful as well. I think that the Media may as well, when they get all of their facts together, rather than publish them themselves, put them in a box, mark it "TERRORIST RECRUITMENT MATERIALS, HANDLE WITH CARE", and send it directly to Al Jezeera. In a way, I would rather they did this than lend their own credibility (such as it is) to the story.

The soldiers who were involved in these atrocities have been apprehended, relieved of their duties there, and are being tried and sentenced by the military courts, as is their right by law. If found guilty (There is no reason to believe that they won't be...) they will be punished according to the Military Code of Justice. If it is found that people higher in the chain of command knew about these atrocities, and did nothing to stop them, then these people will be dealt with as well. I would expect nothing less from my government, and the American military. The investigation is ongoing.

At what point (within the context of this conflict) do we draw the line between informing the public and aiding and abetting the enemy? Is Dick Durbin's right to say whatever he wants on the floor of the senate more important than an American soldier's right to life? If this soldier is killed by a terrorist who was emboldened by Al Jezeera's coverage of Durbin's comments, is Durbin now responsible (in part) for the death of this soldier? If the same soldier is killed by a terrorist who was emboldened by the latest news on the Abu Graib story, then is the New York Times responsible for his death?

Does the public really need to know at this point how serious these atrocities were? If I believed that atrocities like those that may have occured at Abu Graib were the normal policy of American prisoner of war detainment facilities, then I would say yes.

But I don't believe this to be the case.

Abu Graib was an isolated incident. I don't believe that the prisoners at Guantanimo Bay were ever mistreated (by the worldwide standards for treatment of Prisoners of War.) To continually stress the point that they were does no one any good except our enemies in this war. ( With the possible exception of the Democrat Party, who want this issue for political advantage.)

I don't want to be kept in the dark on issues like this, but if informing me means that we endanger the lives of American Soldiers, then I can be content to wait until the conflict is over to be informed.

As long as I know that the people in charge are conducting the proper hearings (which they are), you can spare me the details.

Al Jezeera does not need any more anti-American material.

25 comments:

carrier said...

Minimizing the truth for public comsumption would a be dangerous thing. Government sanitized information should really be a scary notion for all of us. Unless a report endangers daily operations, the press should be allowed to publish at it's own descretion, not the governments.

Daffy76 said...

Bologna! Carrier1--This is really not about keeping secrets from the American public so much as it is about how much information is too much. I can know that injustices went on without having to see all the gory pictures and know all the details. Tug is not asserting that the government should sanitize this information, but that the media should use some discretion and not tell just everything.

And by the way, when it comes to the military, I don't think full disclosure is ever an option. In order to keep me safe, some things have to be kept secret from me.

It baffles me that the media tells as much as it does about the operations of our military. Just after 9/11, when the hunt was on for Bin Laden, the media kept telling exactly where we were looking for him. I've always said that all Bin Laden needed to keep hiding was a good portable t.v. set with access to a major news network.

tugboatcapn said...

Carrier,
Always with you I'm having to go back and explain what I did not say. I did not nor would I ever say that the Government should sanitize information. The point of my post was that the media themselves could use a little more restraint and take a little bit of responsibility for publishing specifically detailed stories that would help our enemies.

When the media is so blatantly against the Bush administration that they can only focus on stories that would hurt the president and the war effort, then the line between journalists and enemy soldiers becomes very blurry.

Toad734 said...

No they don't need more recruitment materials and that's likely all they would become.

However, this is another step that this administration is taking to eliminate our rights, this one being freedom of the press.

We get the point by now, yes some bad things happened that shouldn't have happened but no one died and as long as the people responsible are held accountable, and those photos are used as evidence against them I guess I can't complain too much.

But again, what reason will they come up with tomorrow for keeping information from the public? How much is already being kept from us? And how easy was it for them to do this?

rich bachelor said...

Actually Toad, it looks more a fair amount of people (in the 30's, allegedly) did die. That was part of the original cycle of news from Abu Ghraib, and this time it's that there's even more than initially thought.
My point there is always-does anyone ever get any decent intelligence out of torture? It seems to me that I'd just say whatever the torturer wanted to hear, in the hope that maybe he'd stop torturing me, regardless of whether or not it was true.
The other, more disturbing aspect of this whole thing is that it has sounded, from some reports, like the whole thing wasn't the work of some bad apples, but a policy mandated from the top. Or, it also sounds like in a lot of these cases, the chain of command was unclear. The guy in civilian clothes ordering certain interrogation procedures might be CIA, might be a contractor...Might just be some guy. That's not good, to put it lightly.
Of course, I wasn't there and I don't know, this is just what I've pieced together from different accounts.

Xena76 said...

You are right, you don't know. Don't just assume it goes to the President, there is no evidence to support that. Why does it seem so evil to you to support your President until it is shown he has violated a law?

I am not saying that he should have unwavering support from you, or that you should like him. I am simply asking why it is so much more palatable to assume he is evil, than to give him the benefit of the doubt?

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Similar to Xena's feelings, what irks me is just how wildly out of proportion this scandal is; and none of us even have all of the facts. The press make wild assertions and claims without all the facts. The military itself was conducting its own investigation and announced it in a press statement, months before 60 Minutes "broke" the story with photos.

I know we hold ourselves to a higher standard; and the fact that we take responsibility for our own misdeeds should speak volumes about the goodness of our nation. But the abuses do not warrant scores of frontpage NY Times stories; and the irresponsibility in reporting does give fuel to our enemies. Especially when certain stories pushed by the media have turned out to be inaccurate or completely false; such as the urine on Koran story at Gitmo. Do you think al Jazeera will provide any retractions? Or the NY Times provide one on the frontpage? A WWII vet a few months ago told me stories that he was witness to. If we had the same press back then that we do now, I don't think we would have won WWII. We would have been too ashamed of ourselves and would have in-fighted ourselves to defeat.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

This might be of interest:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,16016105,00.html

It's a story about how one of the London Islamic militants was motivated by stories of abuses against Muslim, like the story of the Koran splashed with urine. The stories that inflamed him, of course, are spun and inflated.

rich bachelor said...

Allow me to clarify: I never said anything about Mr. Bush ordering torture. By 'the top' (and again, I don't stand by this as unimpeachable truth, just things I've read), I meant some elements in military intelligence, maybe even Rumsfeld.
What I didn't do was make any accusations. I was careful in my language...So where's all this 'thinking the president is evil' rhetoric coming from? I never once said he was evil. Don't paint me with that brush, or at very least don't try to respond to an argument that I'm not making.

Mark said...

If the stories about Abu Ghraib are indeed true, There must certainly be some accounting. As I understand it, the principles involved have already been brought to trial, and are being judged accordingly. If it comes out through the course of these trials that higher ups are involved too, they should be punished as well.
The unfortunate truth in all this is that the Liberal arm of the media will no doubt exploit this for all it's worth.

Toad734 said...

RE: Mark

So you are saying that an all conservative media wouldn't expose this, thus saving face of the administration and keeping the truth from the world, and it would keep from exposing the true nature of war, and you think that would be a good thing?

Why was it a good thing that the media jumped all over Clinton, and not good when they jump over Bush policies?

Can't you see the idiocy in that logic?

If there's an accusation it should be investigated by the media, if it is true the media should, and has an obligation to report it. It's not liberal or conservative if it is indeed what happened.

If it wasn't for the "liberal media" your phone could be tapped right now and you wouldn't know it, nor would you have anyone to fight for your rights.

Was it the "liberal media" playing partisan "attack" politics when they exposed Nixon or was it just news?

Francis Lynn said...

The news media are after two things when it comes to "scandalous" news - embarrass the Bush Adminisration & increase circulation. The circulation ploy has worked - Al Qada has subscribed in bulk.

The "catch ya if I can" mentality of the news media leads to it own abuses if not properly self-restrained.

If Gitmo or Abu Ghraib were relocated to Area 51, we wouldn't have these problems. Nothing, but nothing, gets out about Area 51. But, then again, Sen. Durbin would be accusing the Grays of using torture.

alaletos said...

I didnt even have time to read your post. thats how busy I have been!!!!! I have been at work every night till after nine. Im flippin beat!! I m even at work right now. just takin a short break. to check on things.

yeah pretty sweet for mom huh??!!
Did she tell you about our little shindig???? at b-boro??

I ll post again tonight. my first night off in a week.

Mark said...

I am saying a conservative media would report it. The liberal media will always use it to equate it with all the armed forces when in fact it is just a few rogue soldiers, and you know it, and don't call me an idiot.

Mark said...

And where did you get the idea that the media jumped all over Clinton? They did everything they could to help him cover it up and minimalize it. And yes, the Liberal media did engage in partisan attacks against Nixon. Clinton implicitly broke the law, with malice aforethought. Nixon only attempted to keep his friends out of trouble. He actually did nothing wrong other than that. The liberal media, true to form, blew it way out of proportion.

rich bachelor said...

Hey everybody! There's a guy defending Nixon over here!

tugboatcapn said...

Bachelor, why is that so outrageous?
What did Richard Nixon do that was so horrible?
The watergate breakin was not ordered by Nixon, he even said himself that the whole thing was stupid. But he knew that the media would over-sensationalize the situation and at least try to cost him some advisors that he needed, he tried to cover it all up in order to minimize the damage.
It wasn't right, but it wasn't all that bad.
And when it did come out and he realized how serious the situation was, He resigned rather than drag the country through extended impeachment hearings when he knew he was guilty.
I think he handled himself a lot better than some other lying impeached former presidents we have had recently...

tugboatcapn said...

But then again, to resign took character. The public expected that from Nixon.
By the time Clinton came along, we had decided that character didn't matter...

Mark said...

Can anyone even remember now what Nixon did that was so terrible? He ended the war in Vietnam, brought home the POW's, ended the war in the Mideast, opened relations with China, started the first nuclear weapons reduction treaty, saved Eretz Israel's life, started the Environmental Protection Administration. Does anyone remember what he did that was bad?...Oh, now I remember. He lied....That is his legacy. He was a peacemaker. He was a lying, conniving, covering up peacemaker. He was not a lying, conniving drug addict like JFK, a lying, conniving war starter like LBJ, a lying, conniving seducer like Clinton -- a lying, conniving peacemaker. That is Nixon's kharma.

When his enemies brought him down, and they had been laying for him since he proved that Alger Hiss was a traitor, since Alger Hiss was their fair-haired boy, this is what they bought for themselves in the Kharma Supermarket that is life:

1.) The defeat of the South Vietnamese government with decades of death and hardship for the people of Vietnam.

2.) The assumption of power in Cambodia by the bloodiest government of all time, the Khmer Rouge, who killed a third of their own people, often by making children beat their own parents to death. No one doubts RN would never have let this happen.

So, this is the great boast of the enemies of Richard Nixon, including Mark Felt: they made the conditions necessary for the Cambodian genocide. If there is such a thing as kharma, if there is such a thing as justice in this life of the next, Mark Felt has bought himself the worst future of any man on this earth. And Bob Woodward is right behind him, with Ben Bradlee bringing up the rear. Out of their smug arrogance and contempt, they hatched the worst nightmare imaginable: genocide. I hope they are happy now -- because their future looks pretty bleak to me."

Erudite Redneck said...

Y'all have actually managed to rewrite the history of two presidencies. I think I'm going to be sick. Anyone who thinks the press gave Clinton a free ride, and that Nixon deserves defending, is so detached from reality that I don't even know how to join the discussion.

The problem with refusing to believe anything you read in "the media," especially if you don't read any scholarly history -- and by that, I mean, serious, actually researched and documented history, the kind the academic grown-ups do -- is then you have no established facts upon which to base opinions. And without that, opinions are just sounds made when air, usually hot, blows between smirking lips.

tugboatcapn said...

ER, I don't believe that the media gave Clinton a free ride, but you can not make the assertion that they went after him with the same fervor that they went after President Nixon either.
I stand by my comments about President Nixon. He absolutley did not deserve the treatment that he got. His involvment in the Watergate coverup was wrong, absolutely. But to say that that is the only thing he did is to re-write history.
I believe that the media was and has continued to be too hard on President Nixon, just like they were too easy on President Clinton.
I was alive, and aware, and I vividly remember how both situations went. I do not now need to go back and read someone else's re-telling of the events.

tugboatcapn said...

I am not detatched from reality. I watched these events unfold.
I was somewhat young at the time of the Watergate scandal, granted, but I remember. I understood it then, and I understand it now.

Toad734 said...

So Clinton just lied yet:
Defeated Milosevic
Ended modern welfare
Presided over the most profitable economic period in History
Brought Israel and Palestine together
Basically ended the turmoil in Northern Ireland
etc.

So are you now saying it was ok for Nixon but not Clinton?

tugboatcapn said...

No, Toad. It wasn't Okay for either one of them.

tugboatcapn said...

Oh and that period of Economic Profitability you are talking about was the result of President Reagan's Economic policies, not Clinton's.
If you want to talk about Clinton's Economic Legacy, then you have to talk about the Recession of 2000/2001.