05/26/04 — Atrocities? A little balance would be welcome

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Atrocities? A little balance would be welcome

Let’s get things in perspective.

The abuses of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib by a few American soldiers and civilians were abominable. They were against all the principles for which this country has been respected around the free world down through history.

They have been deplored by the president of the United States who also apologized before the world.

Steps are being taken to punish the violators at all levels.

The world can be assured that it won’t happen again.

Having said that, let the world’s attention — and that of our national and the world media — try to get a modicum of balance in the picture.

Nothing that has happened in Iraq, or even on 9/11, justifies what occurred at Abu Ghraib. But let’s not allow the actions of a handful of prison guards and interrogators blind the world to the far more atrocious acts of the enemies of freedom in Iraq.

They routinely have murdered their own people — innocent children, women and civilian men — with homicide bombings and attacks with rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.

Almost daily they have killed our service personnel with roadside bombs.

They captured, mutilated, burned and strung up for public display the bodies of four American civilians who had gone to Iraq to help rebuild their country.

Nicholas Berg, an American civilian who also was in Iraq to help that country’s people, was captured and beheaded — the scene videotaped and released to the world.

While a few Americans were humiliating some detainees — apparently hoping to get information that might prevent more Iraqi atrocities — far more U.S. troops and civilians were restoring order, electricity, water and highways to most areas of that country, rebuilding and opening schools and trying to form a democratic government that will respect all religious beliefs.

In a policy which many Americans should question, our military has even held off on attacking mosques which Iraqi fanatics have used for terrorist staging areas and headquarters.

Some among us must feel our military and political leaders have been too reluctant to take out mosques which have been used to launch attacks on our soldiers.

Yet, in the face of all these facts, the attention in the national and international media and among many politicians in Washington has been incessantly and almost exclusively focused on the unfortunate occurrences at Abu Ghraib.

The missing ingredient in the media coverage and partisan political commentaries is balance.

Published in Editorials on May 26, 2004 10:22 AM