Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 16, 2004

But Would Rumsfeld Be Going Down If There Had Been No Pictures?


Apparently, Sy Hersh’s latest bombshell shows Rumsfeld approved coercive treatment of Iraqi prisoners. However, would it have made any difference if pictures had never come out? In a twisted bit of logic, Rumsfeld made the point in his own defense before the Armed Services Committee meeting last week, intimating that ‘this kind of stuff’ happens all the time.

The idea that it “happens all the time,” however, is not so matter-of-fact. Neither is the information that most of the Abu Ghraib prisoners were complete innocents.

It was not until this week that International Red Cross data was finally publicized that 70 to 90 percent or more of the prisoners held at Abu Ghraib were not insurgents and had no information to provide, as well as the fact that 75 percent of those detained in the first Gulf War of 1991 were also uninvolved noncombatants.

(Joy Garnett is a painter in New York whose work typically reflects current events and social unrest. This image is from her recent show, entitled Riot, at the Debs & Co. gallery in New York.)

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