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The Media and Mr. Rumsfeld
by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
10 May 2004

Donald Rumsfeld It is no surprise that the mainstream media outlets focused disproportionate attention on the Congressional hearings regarding Abu Ghraib prison while giving only brief mention to the positive economic news.

On the day Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testified at the Congressional hearings regarding the torture of Abu Ghraib prison detainees, the Labor Department released the latest economic statistics indicating very good news for President Bush.  In April, 2004, 288,000 new jobs were created, and 867,000 jobs have been created this year, with many in the manufacturing sector and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent.  There was an overall eight month gain in job growth.  That the mainstream media outlets focused disproportionate attention on the hearings while giving only brief mention to the economic news was no coincidence.  Consumer confidence is up, which will bolster President Bush’s approval ratings and almost assure his re-election.  That’s the last thing Democrats want, which is why their carping about the treatment of Iraqi prisoners is so spurious. 

No doubt Senate Democrats, accompanied by vindictive Republican Bush-haters like Senator John McCain, will milk the photos of the tortured prisoners for all they are worth.  McCain’s accusatory interrogation of Mr. Rumsfeld cemented his alliance with the Democrats.  A New York Times editorial strongly agreed with McCain’s warning to Mr. Rumsfeld:  “As Americans turned away from the Vietnam War, they may turn away from this one unless this issue is quickly resolved with full disclosure immediately.”  When the left-leaning Times is in league with a self-proclaimed Republican moderate, it’s time for the GOP to do a spring cleaning of the Senate.

The Iraq War is not an occupation, as the New York Times calls it, but a necessary component of the War on Terror. Democrat Senator Lieberman understands this.  He stated that America never received an apology for the lives lost on September 11, 2001 and for the killings of American soldiers and innocent civilian employees.  Mr. Lieberman shows statesmanship and courage in defending the Iraq War effort as a means to strengthen our national security.   The New York Times ignored Mr. Lieberman’s comments, but then they also ignore the gratitude of millions of Iraqi citizens now free of Saddam’s torturous regime.

The New York Times showed unwavering support of Clinton’s interventions in Kosovo, condemning genocide, demanding the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic and encouraging humanitarian and peacemaking efforts in the region.  In a June 4, 1999 editorial, the Washington Post approved of our involvement in Kosovo stating that “the West will have showed that this time, in this place, it would not stand for crimes against humanity.”  The liberal press are obviously very selective about which crimes and which humans they care about.
We can win the Iraq War, but the antagonism and hostility perpetuated by the left proves they are willing to sacrifice the safety of American soldiers for political gain in the election.  During one heated exchange between Senator Dayton (D-MN) and General Myers, Senator Dayton seemed more concerned that Americans see the pictures than keeping our troops safe.  General Myers defended his request to CBS News to delay the release of the pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse.  As Mr. Rumsfeld and General Myers clearly pointed out, the release of the photos could hinder the investigations and place our servicemen and women in imminent danger.  The General explained that his efforts were done to protect American troops from further harm by insurgents seeking revenge for the prisoner abuse. 

The soldiers responsible for the brutal treatment of Iraqi prisoners should be prosecuted and punished.  However, their actions are not a reflection on the 135,000 honorable soldiers who are risking their lives daily.  Mr. Rumsfeld’s apology and admission of responsibility should be enough.

Americans realize the safety of American soldiers is the only priority.  A just-released ABC-Washington Post poll shows that 69 percent of those polled do not want Rumsfeld to resign.  Only 20 percent believe the Defense Secretary should step down.  At 48 percent, the President’s approval rating has remained steady despite the Iraqi prison abuse scandal. It’s time the media catch up to the rest of America by abandoning election year partisanship and presenting a balanced perspective on the war.

Bonnie Chernin Rogoff is the Founder of Jews for Life and reports on a variety of subjects including pro-life issues and politics. 

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