From what I’ve seen of President Bush’s interviews on Arab media today, I thought they were appropriate and he did a good job. Without precisely apologizing–fine by me–he made clear that the actions of a few renegade National Guardsmen, while nothing in comparison to the brutality that goes on every day in every Arab country, are still far below our military’s high standards of conduct. What the Arab world will make of it all, I haven’t a clue.
I will say, though, that this threatens to become the most over-blown news story of the decade. What these Guardsmen did was stupid, cruel, and thoughtless. It was also not much different from some fraternity pranks. Anyone who thinks that the goings-on at Abu Ghraib prison would have cracked a list of the 50,000 worst things that happened that day is a fool. And I don’t think that most of the media critics and politicians who are doing their best to fan this story are fools; I think they are cynical opportunists who have gotten far more pleasure out of the Abu Ghraib farce than the soldiers who perpetrated it.
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