Obama's Abu Ghraib
By Paul Moomjean 01/19/2012
George W. Bush was plagued by much political turmoil. A lot caused by himself. A lot created in the media. But regardless of your opinion of the man, every honest person has to admit the media was after him. Dan Rather and CBS News were after him. The Los Angeles Times despised him. And the left saw him as more or less a war criminal tyrant. Maybe the worst moment (both for him and the country) in Bush’s Iraq war was the hideous Abu Ghraib incident. The pictures were vilifying. The images were shocking. No one dared to defend him. The media was relentless. Now the true test of liberal bias in the media is about to play out, as a video has recently leaked out showing a group of Marines urinating on three dead Afghan men. While the Obama administration has come out against these actions, will the president, in an election year, be treated as Bush was, or will he get a pass from his friends in the media?
Even though there are major differences in this case, both situations depict our military as barbaric and unnecessarily cruel. According to The Washington Post, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said he had viewed the video and considered it “utterly deplorable.” He telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai and pledged a full investigation. In fact, at this point, it is unclear if the dead bodies were those of Taliban fighters
Karzi has already asked for a full investigation and maximum punishment, and rightly so.
Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said he had asked the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to “pull together a team of their very best agents and immediately assign them responsibility to thoroughly investigate every aspect of the filmed event.”
Hilary Clinton has also come out claiming to be in “total dismay” over the situation.
While the administration has been diligent in separating themselves from the act, the next issue arising is how the media will play this out and for how long.
I’m more than positive that the Obama administration will punish the Marines who are guilty and attempt to make amends with the Afghan leadership, but will the media be as relentless as it was to Bush?
The argument is that the media picks and chooses how it will present news. While no one wants to see our men in uniform shown as cruel and inhumane, will the media give this incident a pass, in hopes that Obama will not be scarred by these findings?
My argument is that this will go quietly in the night, with the media not playing the video for weeks, or showing pictures, or interviewing any and all who would talk. As I sit here and write this, I know that the right thing to do is to allow this situation to move forward and just hope all those who deserve punishment will receive it. We hope this will not hurt the cause for peace in that part of the world, and that Obama will be able to make advancements with Afghan officials, despite our soldiers’ actions. That would be the right thing for the media to do.
No one likes seeing our military act out of character. No one wants to see our brave young men and women doing acts that disgrace their units or our country. But there is something to be said about doing the right thing for the wrong reason. If the media plays this down, then it is not trying to protect our soldiers from Taliban hatred, but instead, the media is protecting Obama as the GOP is coming at him full force this year. And if it plays this up, then the reputation of our troops is hurt the most. And we can’t afford that. Not now. Not ever.
This is the first great test of the New Year. Whether the media will be friend or foe to the political aspirations of Obama & Co. is the question that print and television journalists will ask themselves all year as numerous scandals and issues arise.