With the conviction this week of an Army dog handler, the military has now tried and found guilty yet another low-ranking soldier in connection with abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, while the higher-ups with whom ultimate responsibility laid again were spared.
Military experts try to explain this away by saying that the Army doesn't have anything comparable to a civilian district attorney's office with prosecutors who have the clout to go after the big guys.
See, it's a structural problem, not a cultural one.
I'm not buying.
Neither is the New York Times, which notes in an editorial today that:
The contrast could not have been more stark, nor the message more clear. On the day that a court-martial imposed justice on a 24-year-old Army sergeant for tormenting detainees at Abu Ghraib with his dog, President Bush said once again that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose benighted policies and managerial incompetence led to the prisoner abuse scandal, was doing a "fine job" and should stay at his post.We've seen this sorry pattern for nearly two years now, since the Abu Ghraib horrors first shocked the world: President Bush has clung to the fiction that the abuse of prisoners was just the work of a few rotten apples, despite report after report after report demonstrating that it was organized and systematic, and flowed from policies written by top officials in his administration.
BAD NEWS BEARERS
One of the flash points in the U.S. over the war has been the dearth of good news from it in the news media. The reasons for this depend upon one's perspective about the war.
You didn't ask, but I more or less come down on the side of the opponents, of which I am one. That also is because I covered a war or three myself. It is unlikely that most critics of the MSM got within 5,000 miles of one, but that's another story.
Proponents believe that it's all a big liberal mainstream media (MSM) conspiracy.Opponents believe that it's because good news is hard to find.
Anyhow, veteran New York Times war correspondent John Burns and other journos address the issue in a USA Today story. For his part, Burns isn't particularly convincing, but then he's part of the big liberal mainstream media conspiracy, right?
Oh, by the way, the rescue of three Western aid workers in Iraq today by a multinational military force after four months of captivity led all newspapers and newscasts. If that isn't good news, what is?
SO WHAT IF SADDAM'S GUN WASN'T LOADED?
Goldberg also gets in a few shots at veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas (see my post yesterday on Iraq II: A Regrettable Slip of the Tong), whom he calls "that thespian carbuncle of bile."
Helen, who undoubtedly has been called worse to her face, would take that as a compliment.