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 V.13 No.19 | May 6 - 12, 2004 

Thin Line

Double-speaking in one sentence. Two days after CBS' "60 Minutes II" released photos of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and sexually abused by U.S. soldiers, President Bush weighed in on the matter. But because the timing of the event coincided with the one-year anniversary of Bush's "mission accomplished" speech, Bush unknowingly made one of the more ironic statements you will ever hear.

In response to the photos, Bush said, "I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated."

Then came a question about his aircraft carrier speech. "A year ago I did give the speech from the carrier saying we had achieved an important objective, accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein," Bush said. "And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq."

No more torture chambers or rape rooms? But didn't you just say you saw those photos? ...

A requiem for the dead, one-year after the flight suit speech

Did you notice last week that USA Today's weekend edition ran a moving, frontpage yearbook-style layout to honor the 100-plus U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq during April? It ran on Friday, April 30, with a print run of more than 2.5 million copies—the largest daily circulation in the nation. Later that evening ABC's "Nightline" dedicated its half-hour to showing the names and faces of more than 700 soldiers killed in the past year.

Thin Line has to wonder if these news outlets weren't connecting the timing to the anniversary of Bush claiming mission accomplished in Iraq. It makes sense to show the names and faces of those fallen soldiers who all died in the months after Bush's asinine display of hubris. Maybe this will teach him to show some humility once in a while.

As for those photos

... One aspect of the story not mentioned in the Associated Press report last week was that the facility, Abu Ghraib, is now the largest prison in the Arab world holding more than 12,000 inmates.

Before the U.S. invasion, it was known to Iraqis as one of the most horrifying symbols of Saddam Hussein's tyranny. CBS called it the "centerpiece of Saddam's empire of fear."

Which begs the question: Why didn't the U.S. Army just level the place? Hell, they're paying Bechtel and Haliburton billions of dollars already, why not add that job to the bill if the edifice was the national symbol of oppression? That would have pleased Iraqis no doubt.

Unfortunately, the facility is now the international symbol of U.S. oppression, since news media across the Arab world and Europe ran the prison photos widely on TV and in the daily papers last week. For example, a headline in the British "Sunday Herald" read: "The Pictures That Lost The War" followed by the lead, "It's an image that would do Saddam proud."

Back home, the Albuquerque Tribune had a small mention of the scandal on page A-4 on Thursday, April 29, without showing the photos. As for the Albuquerque Journal, the story appeared without photos on A-10 on Saturday, giving way to a frontpage story about Lady Victoria Hervey, Britian's version of Paris Hilton who no sensible person in New Mexico will ever give a crap about.

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