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Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Covering the Abu Ghraib Report

By Steven Taylor @ 12:14 pm

I am finding the coverage of the pre-release of the report to be a bit odd. All the headlines I have seen or heard on the radio lead with the idea, such as this one: Abu Ghraib Report Faults Top Officials, that the report is going to really show how upper brass were directly responsible. Then body of the story says things like this:

The Pentagon’s most senior civilian and military officials share a portion of blame for creating conditions that led to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, according to a new report.

[…]

A person familiar with the report said it implicitly faulted Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by finding that those responsible for the military prison system in Iraq were operating under confusing policies on allowable interrogation techniques.

IS this really news? It seems to me that by definition there was inadequate supervision and training-because if there had been adequates levels of either, what happened would likely not have happened. As such, the idea that the report has some shocking revelation about upper brass appears to be a distortion.

And a report that “implicitly” faults the top brass isn’t as serious as explicitly doing so.

Now, the lack of training and supervion is a very serious issue, but it is far cry from direct involvement, which is what the headline implies.

I am not downplaying the report, but the reporting strikes me as an attempt to write a particular story which appears not to be there.

Filed under: Iraq: Global Politics

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2 Comments»

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  1. Short Version of coverage:

    Military Bad - Makes kids do bad things.

    I, for one, will not rue the day (not if) when the “traditional media” falls to obscurity. I mean, we’re already seeing this with the nightly national news. Adjusting time slots, changing format - no help. Fewer people are interested in sitting in front of TV at the dinner hour and watching stuff they’ve seen on cable all day.

    Comment by Joel (No Pundit Intended) — Tuesday, August 24, 2004 @ 2:08 pm

  2. Moreover, the commission putting out the report unanimously rejected any idea that Rumsfeld should be asked to resing. I do not have the exact qwuote, but the piece on the radio said something like “Rumsfeld’s resignation over this would be a victory for the enemies of the U.S.”

    THAT doesn’t wuite match the headlines, either.

    Comment by Steven L. — Tuesday, August 24, 2004 @ 11:10 pm

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