May 05, 2004

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Greetings. Over on "fair and balanced" Fox News a couple of days ago, one of their resident celebrity talking heads editorialized that CBS should indeed have reported the story of Iraqi prisoner abuse, but should not have shown the photos. Showing the photos, he suggested, went too far and did too much damage.

He couldn't be more wrong.

The photos exist, and sooner or later they would have appeared. In the interconnected era of the Internet, they were impossible to suppress.

More importantly, it has become clear that knowledge of the abuses had been present in some U.S. government circles for months (it had even been earlier mentioned publicly in oblique and generic terms).

But until the photos appeared, the public had no idea of the scope or disgusting intensity of the criminal acts involved, apparently running the full range from sexual humiliation to torture to murder. Nor does it appear that the higher echelons of our government were particularly concerned (the critical report had long been available but had reportedly not been read by key people who should have been among the first to see it).

A pair of Washington Post articles put much of this into perspective here and here.

If the photos had not been made public, the odds are that the entire situation would have been effectively swept under the rug, and the probability of such events continuing or recurring would have been greatly increased.

Even though they show us things that some might prefer not to see or know about, the photos in this case are worth more than all the pontifications of our military leaders and politicos combined.


Posted by Lauren at May 5, 2004 08:52 AM | Permalink
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