Abu Ghraib-bag


The Washington Post's Jefferson Morley has a useful wrapup of foreign press reactions, especially in the Arab world, to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Needless to say, it's not playing well. Consider the most nuanced response Morley quotes:

Musa Keilani, writing in the Jordan Times, sees an element of hypocrisy in the Arab reaction.

When Hussein was in the power, he writes, "the overriding feeling among the Arabs" was that the "the Arab world needed a leader like Saddam to challenge the West, particularly the US, and, of course, Israel. In the bargain, we all simply forgot that Saddam's continued survival in power in Iraq was at the expense of the basic human rights and well-being of the people of Iraq—or most of the people of Iraq. Therefore, few wanted to focus attention on what was going on in Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq."

The photos of U.S. prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib "brought back memories of the Saddam era to many, and thus the basic question was immediately raised: Is this the way the US, the country which boasts of a great record of respect for human rights and dignity, treats its prisoners?"

Keilani says yes.

"The US, having invaded Iraq in the name of non-existent weapons of mass destruction and connections with international terrorism and then having shifted the argument to 'democracy' and human rights, is now kicking around the people of Iraq, whether in prison or otherwise. They have no respect for the people of Iraq and they consider every Iraqi as an enemy until proven otherwise."