I have a coupla thoughts about the torture tape story. As mentioned earlier in here, last week we showed such a tape at the American Enterprise Institute, and presented six Iraqi victims, the ones who had had their hands amputated at Saddam’s orders.
In addition, the victims identified at least one torturer who currently holds a position of power in Iraq. And they pointed out that they are among the few people able to testify about Saddam’s crimes against humanity at the upcoming (let us hope at least) trial of the ex-dictator.
The USG has not done well by these people, as Richard Perle and I pointed out at the AEI conference. It took private benefactors to get them to America and to arrange for their surgical repair in Houston. And private benefactors have raised money to help them develop decent security back in Iraq. One would hope for more. One might even ask Jerry Bremer why he has not done more. After all, he has signed billions of dollars of checks while serving as viceroy. Why not protect these people?
In short, it was a pretty newsworthy session. Nobody came from CNN or from the “majors.” Nobody came from the NY Times or the Wash Times or the Wash Post (although the “Post” had buried the existence of the tape on page 18 or something a couple of days before. Pretty stingy, but still something, and the headline was something like “Administration seeks to deflect attention from Abu Ghraib…”
The entire session was shown live on the web. It is now posted on the aei website www.aei.org, and the torture tape is there too, sound and all.
Maybe forty people showed up. You can be sure that if we’d found more Abu Ghraib–American style material there would have been hundreds of people. Deborah Orrin wrote a wonderful piece about it for the NY Post.
So Aaron Brown can claim to have “covered” this, but it didn’t happen. I’m glad CNN did something, but it isn’t good enough.