Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are we trivializing war crimes? NO

Q. A week ago you printed a story with the headline, “U.S. general accuses White House of war crimes …’’ in which Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who investigated the abuse at Abu Ghraib, says, "... there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes." This seems like a pretty important story, one that should have been displayed prominently on Page A1. But instead, it is buried on Page A8 without even a reference to it at the bottom of page A1. How in the world do you justify minimizing such an incredibly important story? Do you consider war crimes trivial?
-- Mark Phillips

A. We agree that this story – and more significantly, this issue – is an important one. That’s why we published (and hope that you read) a five-part investigative series called “Guantanamo: Beyond the Law’’ on the front page last week and dedicated more than six entire pages to it. This exclusive series by our Washington bureau disclosed the Bush administration’s policies and practices at Guantanamo and in Afghanistan – including how U.S. forces routinely rounded up the ‘wrong guys’ and abused them. It made abundantly clear that the rule of law, Geneva Conventions, was thoroughly stretched if not outright violated by Bush policies. The story you reference reiterated the theme of this series, so we played it on Page A8.
Clearly, story play is a judgment call and wise people often disagree. We believe we positioned this story correctly.

Q. When the vast majority of newspapers are either reporting non-news or reporting with biases that render the information irrelevant, I want to thank you for taking the step to engage in real reportage (your Guantanamo Bay series). The Bush-Cheney policies demand a thorough investigation and an impartial evaluation and this will only come from an independent media. I hope to see more of this caliber of news.
-- Elaine Watson, Los Osos

A. You are most welcome. Indeed, we will continue to offer strong investigative coverage from our Washington bureau. The staff there has been praised nationally for exclusives on intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq and taking a hard look at the administration’s justifications for war.

-- Sandy Duerr

3 comments:

Concerned SLO Citizen said...

I thought the Guantanamo Bay series was invaluable coverage of the so-called War on Terror. Thank you for running it in full.

david.medzyk said...

As a Soldier who has spent 28 months in Iraq, I wish you and your readers would fully read the "Geneva Conventions". Mainly because the reference is nearly always used in the wrong context, such as prisoner detainment. The Geneva's deal with how medical aid will be rendered to POW's and other injured combatants captured on the battlefield. It does not cover how, otherwise, healthy prisoners will be treated.

Those rules come from the "Hague Protocols", which specifically points out the difference between a uniformed member of a countries armed forces, and enemy combatants. A uniformed Soldier is covered by the Hague, in the manner of his humane treatment.

A guerrilla fighter is not. 95% of the Abu Ghraib prisoners were, and are, nothing more than criminal guerrilla fighters. There are NO conventions or protocols that cover the treatment of enemy combatants that do NOT wear the uniform of the armed force of their country.

The Senate and Congress is filled to the gills with lawyers, yet not one...NOT ONE...has brought any credible evidence of any crime committed by President Bush in the execution of this war.

In other words, the Tribune has it right; no reason to put non-news articles on the front page.

SSG David Medzyk--US Army

esar said...

Nice blog :)
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