Wednesday, June 02, 2004

When did PM John Howard know about torture in Abu Ghraib?

I can't believe the amount of hubris and bullshit circulating around this complete non-story. As last Monday's "Media Watch" made clear, international agencies were reporting torture at Abu Ghraib as early as May 2003 - but these reports received scant media ("old" and "new") coverage until, of course, those photos somehow made the abuse real.

The only story here is about how complacent, manipulable and/or individually powerless we in the West can be about such things. A sobering comparison can be made, about how ordinary, decent Germans could have denied the Holocaust's reality, even as it happened around them - if it wasn't seen to be happening in the mass media of the time, then it wasn't really happening.

In this respect, I'm just as guilty as John Howard and Major George O'Kane. Unless Michelle Grattan, John Quiggin and the "me too" media pack chasing this story can establish their provenance as Early (pre April 2004) Lone Crusaders on Abu Ghraib, they should cease their ridiculous posturing and join the bog-ordinary ranks of "us", the ashamed.

"Children Overboard - the sequel" this ain't.

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