The Media Silence On WikiLeaks Revelations On Torture and Murder

I have had a lefty Brit friend for years named Dave Bones. We don’t agree on anything, but we respect each other’s opinion. He has been e-mailing me lately on why our media and lefty bloggers are not screeching about the Wikileaks documents that show severe abuse of Iraqi detainees by Iraqi Army officers that may have been ignored by the American military.

As I read his e-mail, I started wondering about that as well. If these documents had been leaked while Bush was President, it would be the 24/7 news loop that the Abu Ghraib story was. After all, these documents tell an even more gruesome tale than Abu Ghraib. Torture, cutting off of fingers, death, and burning are just a part of these documents, yet we aren’t seeing the vast amount of coverage we did with Abu Graib. We are only seeing a story or two in the New York Times.

I suppose you know why? Pres. Bush is no longer president. This is now President Obama’s war. There is this telling paragraph in the NYT story:

Some of the worst examples of Iraqi abuse came later in the war. In August 2009, an Iraqi police commando unit reported that a detainee committed suicide in its custody, but an autopsy conducted in the presence of an American “found bruises and burns on the detainee’s body as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs, and neck.” The report stated that the police “have reportedly begun an investigation.”

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Then in December, 12 Iraqi soldiers, including an intelligence officer, were caught on video in Tal Afar shooting to death a prisoner whose hands were tied. The document on the episode says that the reporting is preliminary; it is unclear whether there was a follow-up.

And there you have it. Some of the worst abuses came AFTER Pres. Obama became president. That, my friends, is why the media is not going NUTS over this story.

As the NYT story points out, during the course of the war there were many instances where American soldiers intervened to stop abuse of detainees. What has changed?

In 2005 official policy absolved Americans of their responsibility for what the Iraqis were doing. In other words, we officially gave control over detainees to the Iraqi government. It is their country. They dole out punishment as they see fit. This is what changed.

Iraq is not America. Not even close. It is a very violent society. Their treatment of prisoners is far different from ours. But does this mean that we should have ignored torture after giving control over to the Iraqi government?

I am about to give credit to someone I never thought I would give credit for anything, Glenn Greenwald. I have no respect for the man, but in this piece, he does seem to be as upset at this as he was about Abu Ghraib. I do admire consistency in beliefs. He seems to be the only high profile lefty that is as outraged as one might expect. He actually writes about what our media has completely chosen to ignore, and that is that that the UN chief investigator for torture has called on the Obama administration to formally investigate the complicity in Iraqi abuse.

Glenn also points out that in the NYT article on brutal detainee abuse, the word “torture” is clearly avoided. That seems ironic to me since it was the NYT’s favorite word during the Bush administration.

Is it not occurring to Glenn why everyone is being so quiet on this? Is it not occurring to Glenn why the story is more about how awful Julian Assange, the man that published wikileaks is, than the story itself?

Does Glenn really think that the NYT or The Washington Post wants to smear the President that they helped elect? Does he think they really want to taint Obama with the “torture” meme they used so well with Pres. Bush?

The irony here is that we aren’t talking about “waterboarding” with a Doctor standing by. We are talking about torture that no one would argue isn’t torture. Dismemberment, burning, murder, and rape. Yet, the NYT times can’t seem to bring themselves to use the term now.

This is all about protecting Pres. Obama. The last thing this administration wants to do is begin an official investigation into torture that what is now, THEIR military, might be ignoring. The last thing they want to do is go up against the Iraqi government on how they are treating their prisoners. Pres. Obama wants nothing more to do with Iraq. Even if the documents made Bush look bad, the media knows that Pres. Obama is now responsible, and that the worse incidents took place on his watch.

My lefty Brit friend, Dave Bones, does have a point. Why is the right staying silent on this as well? If one of our arguments about the Iraq war was to save the Iraqi people from the torture and the mass killings of Saddam Hussein, then we should certaintly be speaking out against a government that is seemingly doing the same!!! We can’t claim to save a people from this, and then look the other way when the current government participates in it as well.

Our media may be ignoring this, but as Glenn points out in his piece, the rest of the world is not. It would do us well to pay attention.

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