I predicted last week that comparisons of Abu Ghraib to My Lai were inevitable. Lo and behold last night’s “60 Minutes” made a direct comparison. Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly common on the web. Instapundit noticed it too and he also notices the other talking point — that this is like Algeria (i.e. the French colonial screw-up in Algeria). The comparison is slightly better than My Lai since the excesses of the Algerian campaign are commonly associated with torture of prisoners etc. However , the analogy is still a monumental stretch since the French were trying to Frenchify the Algerians on a scale we’ve never dreamed of in terms of “Americanizing” the Iraqis. Algerian school kids had to chant “Our forefathers the Gauls” in the classroom every morning.
There are other distinctions to be made, but I will point to one potential similarity. In succeeding to expel the French, the Algerians made their lives much worse.