Sunday, June 04, 2006

But we're better than the monsters!

This is really too stupid to believe. In the course of discussing the apparent massacre at Haditha, Glenn Reynolds quotes Peter Beinart thusly:

The way we show the world that we mean what we say about democracy and human rights is by acting well. That means on a thing like Haditha by not trying to cover up, by being absolutely open and saying 'We are capable of being barbaric like other peoples are, under conditions of extreme stress and without legal restraint. But what makes us different from them is the way re respond to that.' We use it as an opportunity to show that we're different from our enemies because we bring our own people to justice.

To which Mr. Reynolds notes:

That's right, and I note that it has been the pattern of the U.S. military in this war. Compare this to the record of, say, the United Nations where troop misbehavior is concerned.

Not that the critics will do so.

Actually, in this case, the pattern seems to be completely the opposite of what these two men are asserting: Cover-up and denial in the face of apparent troop "misbehavior." Indeed, the Haditha massacre would likely have never come to light had it not been for a few -- gasp! -- Big Media news reporters.

The alleged massacre took place in mid-November, some seven months ago. As Thomas Ricks ably lays it out in his excellent Washington Post article today, some Time magazine reporters got their hands on disturbing video earlier this year that seemed to show images of dead women and children from an Iraqi morgue. When the reporters started interviewing survivors and witnesses, they found a disturbing pattern that indicated a massacre had taken place at Haditha.

Here's where it gets interesting, and tends to blow apart the "different from our enemies" narrative. They contacted the public information officer, one Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool, to look into the matter. That officer completely brushed it off, and came back with a classic media-bash straight out of the nuttersphere textbook:

Pool, the Marine captain, sent the reporters a dismissive e-mail saying that they were falling for al-Qaeda propaganda, the magazine said recently. "I cannot believe you're buying any of this," he wrote.

Though Ricks's reporting tiptoes around the matter, it is becoming increasingly clear that Pool, or someone perhaps above him, sought to quash any information coming out of Haditha and then lie to the world about what happened (do read the whole story to get the sense of the cover-up). Indeed, as I heard one of the reporters tell it on NPR's "To the Point," this week, lower-level spokesman continued to blow off the Time reporters, until, finally, the reporters started going over their heads.

Obviously, it is good that we are now, finally, getting to the bottom of this. And it is becoming clear that the only way for the U.S. can make amends is to punish those who are guilty to the fullest extent. For that, I suppose, we can be thankful. But for relentless media-bashers like Reynolds to try to push this storyline that the military would have, out of its own sterling morality, come clean on its own, is preposterous and not demonstrated by the reporting on the matter.

The only reason we're learning about this now is because the Marines were caught. By the dreaded, biased, lazy, anti-American reporters of the Mainstream Media.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:36 AM

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