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Wednesday, May 12, 2004


IMAGE IS EVERYTHING 

President Bush was criticized for evoking 9/11 while everyone else gets to exploit Iraqi prisoner photos. What then to do about Pat Tillman, Nick Berg and Thomas Hamill?


President Bush was attacked for praising how Americans responded to 9/11

George Bush's critics assailed him for having campaign ads show firefighters removing a body from the World Trade Center. Those firefighters symbolized the best of America by according their fallen comrades the utmost respect and Bush was attacked for showing what's great in America. Yet, no one has complained about the barrage of images detailing what a few soldiers did, to Iraqi prisoners, embarrassing themselves, their families, the military and our country. The message is clear; When Americans do something right, don't show it. When Americans do something wrong, the whole world has to see it over and over again.

Back in early March, the Bush campaign eagerly released a round of campaign commercials marking the President's foray into the election season. After sustaining many attacks throughout the Democratic primaries, the Bush team couldn't wait to get its own message out to the American people. Of course, the campaign commercials highlighted President Bush's leadership after the biggest event of his presidency, 9/11. One commercial, ever so briefly, showed firefighters leading a flag draped body out of the World Trade Center rubble. The image was meant to highlight how Americans understood the way their lives had changed, rose up, acted heroically and bravely to honor their fallen fellow citizens. Immediately, the Bush campaign came under a barrage of criticism for what partisans deemed as an "exploitation" of 9/11 images. Instead of remembering what all of us went through, President Bush was expected to ignore something that all of us will never forget.


Bush couldn't highlight how Americans overcame tragedy but anyone can claim that Americans are hypocritical, sadistic thugs

Numerous media outlets reported on the "outrage" concerning Bush's campaign ads. The New York Daily News led the charge with an article, "Furor over Bush's 9/11 ad." This was followed by CNN's "Bush ads anger some 9/11 families," BBC's "Relatives condemn Bush 9/11 ads," USA Today's "Bush campaign defends 9/11 images in ads" and of course, many others.

However, the last two weeks have been filled with images of American soldiers subjecting Iraqi prisoners to abuse and ridicule. The media has breathlessly reported about these photos, even creating special "galleries" for viewing including the BBC and CNN websites. No doubt, the continuous airing of these Iraqi prison photos have been used to garner attention, readers and viewers for the various media outlets. The media publications have been able to "exploit" such photos for selfish gains while, at the same time, fomenting an anger at America that overshadows the good work that millions of American military people do on a daily basis.

Last week, Thomas Hamill escaped from his Iraqi captors. His story was not as widely disseminated and discussed as much as the Iraqi prison scandal. But, Hamill's heroic escape attempt should have been all the more reason to celebrate his newfound freedom. Hamill epitomizes the resiliency, determination and decency of most Americans. He provided a good example for all of us about the power of prayer and not losing hope. Despite his ordeal, Hamill said "We need to form a democratic government over there. We need to get that country on its feet. And we need to take care of those people that are trying to stop it."

Hamill cited the media furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and said it affected the way he was treated in the days before he escaped. The barbarian terrorists who beheaded Nicholas Berg and recorded it on video cited the Abu Ghraib photos as motivation. Of course, they used it as a red herring but it seems America's critics use Abu Ghraib as justification for the Nick Berg video.

Nick Berg and Thomas Hamill suffered as a result of the Iraqi prison photo flap. There has been barely a ripple concerning whether or not the airing of these photos was a good idea. Yet, there was an outcry when an American president dared to remind everyone how his fellow citizens rose up to the challenge of 9/11. The same people who dismissed the sacrifices of Thomas Hamill, Nick Berg and other men like Pat Tillman are the same ones who cast all Americans with a devastating broad stroke as an unfeeling, sadistic, imperialist country. Image is everything.

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Update: Glenn Reynolds has Arab reaction to the Nick Berg murder. Andrew Sullivan says Al Qaeda exploited the prisoner photos., LGF has more Arab reaction, Oxblog has good news out of Iraq, Cox and Forkum also discusses the media and Nick Berg.

Update II: Also check out Citizen Smash discussing Lynndie England and her "taking orders" defense. WorldWideRant talks about inanity of Westerner's in BBC Message Board. Outside the Beltway has a good roundup. Wizbang reveals what Boston Globe deleted from their website- a hoax porn picture involving troops. PowerLine has an interesting Telegraph article about Iraq, Bush, and Blair.

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