Never pass up an opportunity to slander the Pentagon

The Washington Post reports that President Bush has “chided” Defense Secretary Rumsfeld for not keeping him well enough informed about the investigation into abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. But the story is mostly about the State Department seizing upon this affair to take shots at the Pentagon. Indeed, the first sentence of the story, in addition to telling us about Bush’s alleged admonition of Rumsfeld, proclaims that, according to unnamed officials, the State Department repeatedly urged the Pentagon to release detainees not charged with a crime and improve prision conditions for others.
The Post is mixing apples and oranges here. Everyone agrees that the humiliation of prisoners is wrong. But whether some prisioners should be released and whether money should be spent to improve general prision conditions are separate issues. By rolling these issues together under a headline that has Bush criticizing Rumsfeld, the Post is joining forces with its pals at the State Department in an attempt to convert the scandalous behavior of some National Guardsmen into a Pentagon scandal.

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