For the Bush regime, the ‘good fight’ is the fight against releasing more Abu Ghraib photos
Coming off the bench at the last minute to fight against release of further Abu Ghraib photos and videos, General Richard “Quag” Myers has apparently wowed Judge Alvin Hellerstein with an argument that flies in the face of facts.
Hellerstein, hearing the case in Manhattan federal court, hasn’t decided whether to let the public see these additional torture/abuse photos, but he promises to do so quickly. If he buys Myers’s argument that bad publicity from release of the photos would endanger our troops to the extent that the material shouldn’t be shown to us, that’s bad news.
The public needs to know the full scope of the prison abuses. Maybe then, the public would exert more pressure on the Bush regime to stop trying to white-knuckle its way to the bitter end of the Iraq debacle.
The AP reports this morning that the judge expressed hesitation during Tuesday’s hearing in New York to release additional photos and videos from Abu Ghraib, as requested by the ACLU:
The judge questioned whether he could disregard arguments by Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has warned that releasing the photos would aid al-Qaida recruitment, weaken the Afghan and Iraqi governments and incite riots against U.S. troops.
“How can I ignore the expert opinion of General Myers, who is concerned with the safety of his troops?” the judge asked. “I can’t substitute my opinion for the opinion of General Myers.”
But Myers’s affidavit is based on the unstated fallacy that most of the bloodshed in Iraq has been caused by the insurgents.
The Bush regime is desperate to prevent release of the photos because they would prove harmful to the Bush regime, whose approval ratings are plummeting. Safety of the troops is secondary, as it has been throughout the Iraq fiasco.
In the general’s “second amended declaration” to the court, dated August 26, Myers said:
Among the goals of the insurgency are to use violence against innocent civilians … . The insurgents will use any means necessary to incite violence and, specifically, will focus on perceived U.s. or Coalition mistreatment of Iraqi civilians and detainees as a propaganda and recruiting tool to aid their cause.
Thus, for example, we have documented situations in which insurgents have falsely claimed that U.S. actions in Iraq, rather than their own terrorist attacks have caused death and suffering.
Yes, the insurgents do doctor photos and present false evidence. No doubt. But the facts are that we have killed more civilians than the insurgent terrorists have. As I pointed out last month, most of the bombs exploding in Iraq are ours.
Iraq Body Count’s detailed study released in late July estimated 25,000 civilian casualties so far and asked, “Who did the killing?” The answers:
• US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
• Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
• Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
• Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.
What puts our troops in danger in Iraq is their continued presence in Iraq.