When the New York Times admitted that its reporting on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction came from unsupported allegations, it did so not on page one, where all the dire predictions about WMDs had appeared, but on page ten. This is a quiet mea culpa.
Vietnam veteran John Smathers and his wife, Judy, knelt at the altar rail at the Falls Church, a 272-year-old faith community at which George Washington once prayed, just outside the nation’s capital in Virginia. Holding a microphone, they bowed their heads before worshipers struggling to come to terms with disturbing photographs of American soldiers sadistically abusing Iraqi prisoners.
The myth of American innocence dies hard. It resurfaces even as it is being punctured by reality. President Bush, faced with evidence that American soldiers have tortured Iraqi prisoners, declared that the photos do not show “the true nature and heart of America.” Somehow, according to such rhetoric, the true heart of America remains pure, untouched by the actions of actual Americans.
Nearly four months before the publication of photos of Iraqi detainees abused by their coalition captors, a small Christian peace organization issued a report detailing incidents similar to those now sparking outcries from North America to the Middle East.
Call torture scandal a damaging self-inflicted blow
Jun 01, 2004
High-ranking Vatican diplomats are calling the Iraq torture scandal a self-inflicted blow that has caused more damage to the United States than the 2001 terrorist attacks. That stark assessment comes only weeks before President Bush is expected to meet with Pope John Paul II in Rome, and as U.S.
Both the International Red Cross and Amnesty International knew about the horrors of Abu Ghraib. Both organizations had sent reports detailing brutal behavior in U.S.-run Iraqi prisons to military authorities. But no action was taken until Specialist Joseph M. Darby alerted the army’s Criminal Investigation Division and mentioned photographs.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.