The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Thursday, May 13, 2004


The Bill Keller-led New York Times puts the smackdown on this ridiculous idea that the murder of Nick Berg somehow negates the Abu Ghraib scandal and that some disparity in coverage makes the media out to be hypocrites:
The claim of this young American's murderers that they were retaliating for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners is a cruel ruse. They killed him out of the same madness that drove their comrades in Al Qaeda to slaughter thousands on Sept. 11, 2001. But this manipulative attempt to establish a moral equivalence between the gruesome execution of Mr. Berg and the torture of Iraqi prisoners is now being mimicked by some hard-core supporters of the American war in Iraq. They are cynically trying to use the images of Mr. Berg to wipe away the images of Abu Ghraib, turning the abhorrence for the murderers into an excuse for demonizing Arabs and Muslims, or for sanctioning their torture.
Also, it's pretty simple. Al Qaeda is "evil" and thus, brutally killing an American from time to time is "what they're supposed to do". America, on the other hand, is "good", but the abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib is "not what they're supposed to do".

For that reason alone -- though also for many others -- Abu Ghraib is necessarily the bigger story.

I'd also like to add that last night I viewed the Nick Berk video (which has since been pulled from the website that was hosting it) and it made me sick to my stomach. I have not explicitly commented on it until now because, to echo Josh Marshall, (and not to aggrandize myself)
I could write a post saying that I thought Berg's execution was horrifying and awful and that I couldn't get to sleep last night because the ugliness of the images wouldn't leave my mind. But what would that tell you? That al Qaida is awful and that I think they're awful too? Perhaps I simply have nothing to add. The online world has lots of vociferous me-too-ism, going on record saying in fist-clenched tones things I think we all know we all feel. That's fine; I just don't like doing that.


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