Friday, August 12, 2005

Riots in Iraq?: Sweeping The Outrage Under The Carpet

1:49 pm: Government: release of Abu Ghraib prison photos could cause riots
August 12, 2005

NEW YORK - Releasing pictures and videotapes of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison would aid al-Qaida recruitment, weaken Afghanistan and Iraqi governments and incite riots against U.S. troops, the top military adviser to the president says.

Those must be some pretty evil events that were captured.

Myers said the release of the pictures "pose a clear and grave risk of inciting violence and riots against American troops and coalition forces."

He said it was "probable that al-Qaida and other groups will seize upon these images and videos as grist for their propaganda mill," leading to violent attacks, increased terrorist recruitment, continued financial support and a worsening of tensions between the Iraqi and Afghani populaces and U.S. and coalition forces.

He said the photographs and videos would be used in a propaganda campaign by insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq who "use any means necessary to incite violence" against innocent civilians to undercut the U.S. mission.

The mission of what, exactly? Torture and videotapes? Snuff films? Hushed up murder of detainees?

In a response to the arguments by Myers, the ACLU submitted a declaration by retired U.S. Army Col. Michael E. Pheneger, who said Myers "mistakes propaganda for motivation."

He said he does "not underestimate the propaganda impact of the release of additional photos of the degradation of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody, but the photos will not be the real cause of subsequent attacks."

He noted that insurgents average 70 attacks a day and that they "will continue regardless of whether the photos and tapes are released."

Pheneger, a military intelligence officer from 1963 to 1993, said he found it difficult as a patriot and a career soldier to criticize the government.

But he said he believed that the release of the photos _ though damaging to the Army's reputation _ would lead to a thorough public examination of the effects of the administration's decision to change long-standing policies and approve interrogation techniques that the Army had long prohibited.

"The first step to abandoning practices that are repugnant to our laws and national ideals is to bring them into the sunshine and assign accountability," he wrote.

Full story at The New Mexican