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updated 5/7/2004 1:47:37 PM ET 2004-05-07T17:47:37
COMMENTARY

Various media apologists place "buts" after descriptions of the horrors at Abu Ghraib.  I've heard lines like:

“It was terrible—but, what about the four Americans burned in Fallujah.”

“It was terrible—but the investigation wasn‘t tainted and moved quickly.” 

“It was terrible—but these troop just needed better training and were under immense psychological pressure.” 

“It was terrible—but they have done worse to our troops.” 

“It was terrible—but it‘s being blown out of proportion.”

The apologists are claiming that somehow, souvenir photo of smiling troop standing over naked and humiliated prisoners needs some context. 

This is about numerous incidents of American soldiers behaving in the words of Secretary Rumsfeld, “un-American.”  It needs no context. 

We are supposed to be better, more democratic and more humane than “them,” meaning the terrorists and other international barbarians out there.  We are trying to create a democratic and peaceful nation in the heart of the Middle East.  We must show we are different.  Comparisons to “them” mean nothing. 

Why can‘t we expect the military investigation to move quickly and efficiently?  “The Wall Street Journal,” for one, seems to think the fact that the investigation into the abuse did not transform into a cover-up is some cause for celebration.  Why were they expecting so little from our senior military officials? 

As for the pressure the troops are under, so many veterans have written into my show saying that blaming it on the pressure is an insult to those who endured similar hardship without transforming into criminals. 

Now I am not referring to our administration.  The president, the secretary of defense, secretary of state have all recognized the severity of the situation— no buts. What I‘m talking about is coming from a handful of media apologists. 

This nation needs to swallow the nasty-tasting medicine in one gulp.  Taking small tastes, as the apologists seem to be suggesting, will only prolong a sickness that must be cured quickly. 

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