Green Room

BREAKING: Obama’s Abu Ghraib: The Stuff Hits the Fan

posted at 1:00 pm on March 21, 2011 by

When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in 2003, the mainstream media and liberal blogosphere couldn’t find enough column inches to express adequately their shock and revulsion. The New York Times alone published 56 stories on the hideous revelation that members of the U.S. Army Reserve had tortured prisoners of war and posed for “trophy pictures”—inexcusable acts that the Times placed squarely at the feet of then-president George W. Bush.

Nor could left-leaning sources conceal their delight when President-elect Barack Obama boldly proclaimed:

[U]nder my administration the United States does not torture. We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals.

What a difference a president makes. Until you flash forward to today’s bombshell, dropped by the British newspaper The Guardian, noting that members of a self-styled U.S. Army “kill team” posed for photos not with tortured prisoners but with corpses. Of civilians. Whom they had killed.

The photos, Guardian reporter Jon Boone writes, were published in German news weekly Der Spiegel, noting that:

[s]enior officials at NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul have compared the pictures … to the images of U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq which sparked waves of anti-U.S. protests around the world.

Investigators at Der Spiegel unearthed approximately 4,000 photos and videos taken by the soldiers. The accompanying article in the magazine provides shocking details about the depraved, sadistic behavior of the men. In one alleged incident from last May, a mullah captured by the team is forced to kneel down in a ditch, where he is summarily executed. According to the article, the team later claimed to their superiors that the mullah had threatened them with a grenade and that they were acting in self-defense. This account still fails to explain why Gibbs reportedly severed one of the dead man’s fingers and removed one of his teeth, presumably as gruesome “souvenirs.”

The U.S. military has endeavored to keep the images out of the public eye, fearing it could touch off a new round of anti-American, anti-military sentiment in Afghanistan at a time when antipathy toward the U.S. is already running high. A spokesman for the military is quoted as having apologized for the images, which in his words depict “actions repugnant to the U.S. as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States.”

So far, the White House has released no statement regarding the images or accounts. Neither, surprisingly, has the New York Times.

Cross-posted at the Examiner. Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com or by posting a comment below.

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Comments

Liberal, and morals just don’t work together. It’s ok under Obutthead, but under a Republican? It’s just moral outrage.

capejasmine on March 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM

If true, this makes abu ghraib look like a day at the farm.

But I have to at least wonder at the thought that not only were they taking pictures of what they were doing, but with civilians? Seriously? Seems like a lefty propaganda bonanza. Be interesting to see how they spin this to keep the focus negatively on President Bush and the military, and off teh won.

WitchDoctor on March 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I don’t think this is something we should be gleeful about.

I’m also going to wait to hear the U.S. military’s side of the story, because right now my B.S. detector is chirping wildly.

Chris of Rights on March 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Chris of Rights on March 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

that didn’t stop dear leader or the nyt

cmsinaz on March 21, 2011 at 1:40 PM

I don’t think this is something we should be gleeful about.

I wholeheartedly agree. My intention in reporting this story, as I did, was to focus on the media double standard. My personal feeling, as was the case with Abu Ghraib, is that when we recruit people who are too immature and/or overworked in the military, we run the risk of outrageous abuses like this occurring.

Howard Portnoy on March 21, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Before I tell you what I think, can we please have a definition of “civilian” from the people making this accusation?

Pardon my cynicism, but I have seen non-uniformed fighters counted as “civilians,” especially when a leftie is doing the counting.

Sekhmet on March 21, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Yet another example, if one were needed, that liberal outrage is not a matter of principle but merely of partisan politics.

If Bush had launched the Libyan offensive, without the express permission of Congress, liberals would be howling for his blood and the media would be wailing and gnashing their teeth from dawn to dusk about how it was an illegal war for oil.

Jay Mac on March 21, 2011 at 2:16 PM

So far, the White House has released no statement regarding the images or accounts. Neither, surprisingly, has the New York Times.

Are you sure? I recall a lengthy profile about the leader who is now on trial. I think it was last year.

lexhamfox on March 21, 2011 at 2:24 PM

War is hell. I guess I’m just not sympathetic to any one who bows to Allah.

Tim Burton on March 21, 2011 at 2:55 PM

So far, the White House has released no statement regarding the images or accounts. Neither, surprisingly, has the New York Times.

Are you sure? I recall a lengthy profile about the leader who is now on trial. I think it was last year.

It is true that members of this team are already on trial in Seattle. The images, however, were not released until the Spiegel article. To my knowledge there has been no reaction from the administration to these.

Howard Portnoy on March 21, 2011 at 3:38 PM

A “D” by the name
Changes the game

SurferDoc on March 21, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Before I tell you what I think, can we please have a definition of “civilian” from the people making this accusation?

Pardon my cynicism, but I have seen non-uniformed fighters counted as “civilians,” especially when a leftie is doing the counting.

Sekhmet on March 21, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Simple. If the dead Afghanis are not wearing uniforms, they are civilians. Works the same way in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Lebanon and Syria and . . .

BigAlSouth on March 21, 2011 at 6:05 PM

I don’t think this is something we should be gleeful about.

I’m also going to wait to hear the U.S. military’s side of the story, because right now my B.S. detector is chirping wildly.

Chris of Rights on March 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

The US Gov’t is prosecuting these men over their murders, so I’m not sure what you are waiting on exactly.

But I agree with your first thought, why some are celebrating this as some kind of black mark on Obama while ignoring the fact that it’s a black mark on all of us who call ourselves Americans.

uknowmorethanme on March 21, 2011 at 6:37 PM

It is true that members of this team are already on trial in Seattle. The images, however, were not released until the Spiegel article. To my knowledge there has been no reaction from the administration to these.

Howard Portnoy on March 21, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Their silence is all the “reaction” you need to know how bad this really is.

uknowmorethanme on March 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM

The images, however, were not released until the Spiegel article. To my knowledge there has been no reaction from the administration to these.

Howard Portnoy on March 21, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Don’t hold your breath.

gryphon202 on March 21, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Can you feel the world’s love grow for America?

Mmmm… Mmmm…. Mmmmm……
Barack Hussein Obama…..

Roy Rogers on March 21, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Simple. If the dead Afghanis are not wearing uniforms, they are civilians.

Look up the war crime of “perfidy” under the Geneva Conventions. Then look up all the proven examples of jihadists using ambulances for transport, putting fighting positions in the middle of civilians, and yes wearing civilian clothes while fighting.

SDN on March 22, 2011 at 12:52 AM

This is, once again, not a good day for the US. But the salient point here is the utter hypocrisy of the NYT, which simply could not find enough column inches over the Page One fold when the abu Graib story broke. They quite clearly were using the incident to sabotage the war in Afghanistan, so long as Bush would be the one to suffer the political consequences. Utterly despicable.

paul1149 on March 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

I see a link to Drudge on this. Good Job, Howard.

upinak on March 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM

[upinak on March 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM]

Ditto.

Dusty on March 22, 2011 at 4:46 PM

The NYT’s isn’t publishing ’cause “they got ethics!”.

Hahahahahahahaha………………

GarandFan on March 22, 2011 at 9:49 PM

If true, this makes abu ghraib look like a day at the farm.

But I have to at least wonder at the thought that not only were they taking pictures of what they were doing, but with civilians? Seriously? Seems like a lefty propaganda bonanza. Be interesting to see how they spin this to keep the focus negatively on President Bush and the military, and off teh won.

WitchDoctor on March 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM

They’ll just say, “Hey, it’s Bush’s war”.

Ward Cleaver on March 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM