When you are pro-war even the abortion doctors call you "baby-killer."

2004-05-21

How the Bush Administration was Scooped by the Media

The Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse "scandal" quickly devolved into ammunition for the anti-Bush crowd to damage the president. How did this innocuous and isolated incident get so out of control?

Here's my view of what happened:

1. The abuse was reported to the media and was largely overlooked by said media several months ago. Investigations were ongoing, photos were known to exist (to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and not the President, allegedly).

2. Rumsfeld failed the administration by not informing the President about the photos, which surely would eventually be leaked. Here is where Rumsfeld and the Bush administration made their fatal flaw.

Months passed...

3. The media received the photos (deliberately, no outrage was made of the "press release") and immediately began a campaign to undercut the President's credibility and handling of Iraq. The photos were apparently taken all on one or two days and included many "personal" images of soldiers acting badly (aren't people supposed to be free to act how they please according to the left?).

4. Rumsfeld refused to fall on his sword, Bush refused to hold him accountable.

5. Media feeding frenzy outshines an American having his head forcibly removed on live (internet) TV. More pictures are slowly released to inflict more damage on Bush over a longer period of time hammering at his approval rating as we head towards an election that may very well define our country's future for many many years to come.

Now. Here is what should have happened.

1. Media is informed of abuse incidents, called "isolated" and "unfortunate" acts by "poorly trained" soldiers. All will be held accountable. BTW here are some selected photos of the incidents in question and what really happened before and after the photos were made. Stress this was isolated and happened on only one or two days.

2. Bush comes before American people, not the media wags, within days of discovery of the abuse and stresses how this was a terrible thing and those responsible will not go unpunished, states he has seen all photos and materials and is getting weekly updates as to the investigation of the "isolated incident." Accountability is the theme. Rumsfeld is seen, but not heard. The President is in charge after all. The buck stops there.

3. Rumsfeld testifies before Congress that the "abuse" was found quickly and contained and soldiers were re-trained or rotated out or will be prosecuted for committing the abuse or allowing this to happen. Stresses that we must also remember these were "insurgents" or "terrorists" and photos taken out of context do not tell the whole story, regardless of the intentions of the few soldiers committing these acts.

4. As a show of compassion any prisoners not considered a threat are released with those who may have been mistreated receiving compensation (money, car, satellite dish, whatever). Bush reiterates we are a nation of laws, those guilty will be held accountable. Bush must be seen as taking control and "fixing" the "wrongs" and not constantly doing cleanup for Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld should not speak publicly except to report to Congress.

If this had happened this mess would have been a none-story after a week or two. The media's dribs and drabs of "new" photos that were all taken on one occasion by a very small group out of well over 100,000 soldiers would seem like opportunism for a story that was neutralized by a firmly in-control President. A President who took the responsibility for the incident(s) and made swift action to close the matter and move forward.

Bush takes a momentary hit, appears firmly in control and aware of what's going on. The pundits harp about it and it is quickly repalced by Nick Berg and again Bush comes out and points to this video and reiterates THIS is what we are fighting against. End of story.

Why didn't this happen? Who is advising Bush to hideout from the realities of war? We expect a leader, not a manager passing around blame and juggling things to keep all the plates in the air at once. Be forceful but not bossy, preempt the media and seize control of these messes before you lose the election! Please!