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Prison abuse wrong, but nothing next to life under Saddam

Posted: Monday, August 30, 2004

Having Abu Ghraib prison incidents back in the news provides the liberal media a chance to shift the focus from John Kerry's self-inflicted problems to something they hope will damage President Bush.

Most of it has been hashed out before.

The most germane comment we've seen on the entire episode came from the American Spectator: "If these photos had been taken by Robert Mapplethorpe, the very senators complaining about it would have funded it through the NEA ..."

Another comment worth noting, from Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.: "When we talk about the treatment of these prisoners, that I would guess that these prisoners wake up every morning thanking Allah that Saddam Hussein is not in charge of these prisoners. When he was in charge they would take electric drills and drill holes through hands, they would cut their tongues out, they would cut their ears off. We've seen accounts of lowering their bodies into vats of acid. ... This was the type of treatment that they had."

Referring to a documentary, he said. "It talks about the unspeakable acts of mass murder, unspeakable acts of torture, unspeakable acts of mutilation, the murdering of kids lining up 312 little kids under 12 years old and executing them, and then, of course, what they do to Americans, too.

"There's one story in here that was in ... The New York Times ... on June 2. I suggest everyone ... get that and read it. It's about one of the prisoners who did escape as they were marched out there, blindfolded and put before mass graves, and they mowed them down and they buried them. This man was buried alive and he clawed his way out and was able to tell his story."

Torture by Saddam would not justify torture by the United States, obviously, but the point is that the prison abuse fell far short of torture.

Tillie Fowler of Jacksonville, who was on the panel that investigated the prison abuse, made the main point:

"We found no explicit U.S. government policy that called for torture or inhumane treatment of detainees."

What they found was the usual government ineptness, compounded by the fog of war.

Reserve the outrage over torture for Saddam's trial.

Jacksonville (Fla.) Times-Union

Aug. 28



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