The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is Morally Repugnant

So says RS Politics over at RedState. The post pertains to a Luckovich cartoon that shows the United States instructing Al-Qaida on how to torture. RS Politics writes, “What you do not see is what else was on the editorial page the day that cartoon ran — the photographs of the two American soldiers who were tortured and killed in Iraq in the past week.

33 comments

  1. buzzbrockway says:

    I wish Luckovich would get as outraged at the terrorists who torture and behead as he does at “allegations” of abuse by our troops.

    He won’t, because this cartoon will probably win him another Pulitzer.

  2. Rusty says:

    The CIA, under your boy Reagan, trained Osama bin Laden to aide the Afghans in their war with the Russians in the 80s. And the U.S. sold arms to Saddam all through the decade, viewing his tyranical secular dictatorship as a lesser of two evils compared to the tyrancial theocratic dictatorship in Iran. And I think the Abu Ghraib photos speak for themselves. So, it’s not all that far off.

  3. Greg Greene says:

    Uhhh, Mike Luckovich doesn’t run the layout staff of the print paper. I’m just sayin’, you know — because he likely had no idea what that team would publish underneath his cartoon.

  4. JP says:

    Luckovich rocks, he forces people to THINK. I respect him greatly for that, instead of just toeing the Republican Party line.

  5. Jeff Emanuel says:

    (Full disclosure: I had a column on the AJC editorial page the same day the Luckovich cartoon ran)

    OK, one at a time, before there get to be too many comments to respond to–and PLEASE READ TO THE END before responding:

    Greg: True, ML doesn’t control layout. HOWEVER, he DID publish the cartoon in question (viewable here), which he entitled “book on torture” (originally called “pot to kettle”) two days AFTER our missing soldiers were recovered, after having been mutilated while alive, beheaded, and desecrated after killing. This is LITERAL terminology–not a euphemistic reference to “torture” via solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, et cetera.

    With this full knowledge, he chose to create and publish a cartoon showing the US instructing a machete-wielding terrorist on the best use of torture. That much is HIS fault.

    Rusty: Really? Let’s focus here, and look at some REAL history.
    1) Afghanistan: The “evil empire,” whose goal was global socialism under Soviet domination–requiring the destruction of the US–invaded Afghanistan, and was met by legitimate armed resistance. BEFORE you try to compare this to America’s invasion of Iraq, think about this: the USSR invaded Afghanistan with no intention of leaving. They wanted to permanently expand their physical empire; the so-called “Empire” of the US which Leftists love to refer to is a figment of their imagination; name one country, please, which we have continued to “rule” after liberating it. Iraq is no different.
    As far as bin Laden goes, the US did provide, through the CIA, limited weapons and tactics assistance to the legitimate armed resistance, or Mujahedeen, which is NOT the terrorist-Taliban regime which we ousted in 2001. Bin Laden is not an American creation, as much as Liberals want him to be.

    2) Iaq vs. Iran: The US did not sell arms to Saddam “all through the decade”; in fact, of his total arsenal, 4.9% came from the US, according to DOD and UN reports, with over 20% coming from Russia and 15% from France. The fact is, due to Carter’s revocation of support for the dictatorial (but not anti-Western) Shah immediately installed the mullah-run revolutionary government we see in Iran now. This did, in fact, make Iran the lesser of two evils in the region–or would you rather that we had supported a government which had held American hostages for a year instead? The limited-at-best help we gave Iraq was focused in the 1982-83 Iran/Iraq war; please note the weapons being used against our troops now–NOT American weapons, but Russian-made AK-47s and other weapons.

    3) Abu Ghraib: Sure, the photos speak for themselves. Some disgraceful Army soldiers–the primary contributors to which have since received jail sentences of three and ten years–committed a bad error by humiliating prisoners. Bad move? Yes. Same as beheading and mutilating people, or as (intentionally, especially) blowing up civilians? Are you kidding me?

    Read my lips here: The US DOES NOT TARGET CIVILIANS. The US DOES NOT TORTURE PRISONERS. Any and all who do are immediately taken care of–ie, given a trial and, if guilty, imprisoned. The attempts at moral equivalence between us and terrorists are absolute, bald-faced LIES, and are worse than APALLING.

    AND, before you question my knowledge of the War on Terror, US practices, or terrorist weapons and tactics, please do yourself a favor and read my profile–just so you don’t look COMPLETELY ridiculous.

  6. LINDA says:

    In my ideal scenario, the Marines and the other soldiers would put down their weapons and tell all of the stupid liberals to fight their own war the way they would fight it in their delusional fairy tale world. Perhaps, the military could use this cartoonist and the layout people that ran the cartoon in a real life instructional video! That would bring a new light to reality filming, and perhaps these morons would think twice before running such a cartoon again. Shame on these liberal rags of an excuse for newspapers that are only good for lining bird cages.

  7. LINDA says:

    And to the liberals on this blog that want to rant and rave against this war, and point fingers at who is to blame shame on you. This Fourth of July may I suggest that you take a hike in the hot sun with a canister of water, and walk say 12 miles and then dig yourself a hole to sleep in for the night. No Ipods, no computers, no televisions, no beers, no partying and no good time at all. Maybe just maybe, you can get into the reality if even for a nanosecond that “FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!”

    GOD BLESS THESE TWO VERY BRAVE YOUNG SOLDIERS THAT WERE TORTURED WITH THEIR HEARTS CUT OUT AND THEIR HEADS CUT OFF. I KNOW THAT FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, AND IT IS ABOUT TIME THE REST OF YOU GOT THE PICTURE.

  8. GAWire says:

    Jeff, you make a good point, primarily about Afghanistan and Bin Laden. First, you beat me in pointing out how assenine Rusty’s comment was (without using those words). Second, your analysis is accurate about war in Central Asia; however, it goes much further than USSR in the 70’s. War in this area dates back centuries, even before the Great Game (I’m sure Rusty will have to look that one up). The difference is that in 3 years, the US’ presence in Afghanistan has been more effective and more people and freedom oriented than ever before in the nation’s long history of war.

    Further, the CIA did not create the Taliban. Did they support Bin Laden in some ways? Perhaps, but it is no different from signing on a nationalistic operative from the US who later turns into an enemy of the state, i.e. a traitor. Bin Laden was never a citizen and was never officially “hired” by the CIA, but he was an asset, and strategy dictates that we have to use assets when they present opportunity. Unfortunately, that one turned very bad, but we could not have foreseen that, any more that we can foresee a FBI agent or CIA operative turning bad later in life.

    Finally, it’s easy for people like Rusty and liberals to say “your boy Reagan supported Bin Laden” when they don’t even understand what the circumstances were at the time.

    They would much rather let crazy dictators like Saddam, Castro, Stalin, Hitler, et al do what they want, claiming its not our business to get involved (even if they are killing thousands of innocents).

    As far as the AJC … are we really surprised? I mean, really? The AJC is a wanna be NY Times. They WISH the media referred to the AJC like they do the NYT. They want to appear extreme, so they can get attention, but they look pathetic doing it. The AJC is the laughing stock in the world of print media.

  9. JP says:

    Linda, in MY ideal scenario, righties would recognize we CAN NOT win a war of ideology *against terrorism* while our leadership fights AGAINST restrictions on interrogation methods such as waterboarding, as well as against restrictions on renditions. We must be beyond reproach in this war–and if it weren’t for freaks like Cheney arguing that we shouldn’t limit our methods, maybe people’s impression of incidents like Abu Gharib would BE as an Exception, rather than as policy approved from above.

    Plus, in my scenario, righties would stop yelling “Freedom isn’t free!” as if people should support their country NO MATTER WHAT, rather than insisting it do the right thing. But neither of us are going to get our wish, are we?

    Meanwhile–I must compliment your ‘rock and roll & spirituality’ blog; another Queen title for you to look up would be “All God’s People.”

  10. John Douglas says:

    As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, I was stunned to see how low the AJC would go on their editorial page. Putting that particular cartoon directly over the photos of the butchered American soldiers was beyond reprehensible. It was wrong, no matter what your political philosophy, no matter what your thoughts on the war.

    I have received information on just how brutally these two soldiers were treated and what the enemy actually did to them. I can tell you that no person in their right mind can equate underwear on the head or dogs barking too close to what happened to our soldiers at the hands of these murderers.

    Should the General Assembly be called into special session in August, I will likely introduce a resolution condemning the AJC for printing this editorial “cartoon.” They must realize that there is a price to pay for their actions and that they have finally crossed the line with this obscenity.

  11. JP says:

    Jeff, I’m not suggesting that no good has been done; in fact, I do think the news is too far in the direction of the “bad” news (but then, all news fits this pattern–not just Iraq war news).

    What I also see, and what the world sees–that you chose not to respond to–is the position of our leadership, in this case the Vice President of the United States:

    “Cheney has lobbied against a measure in Congress that would outlaw ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment’ of prisoners, calling for an exception for the CIA in cases that involve a detainee who may have knowledge of an imminent attack.”

    We all want to prevent terrorist attacks. By granting ourselves an exception, we provide the enemy the room to make the rational conclusion that if we can permit inhuman treatment under some conditions, they can do the same. Loopholes in our guidelines from the top-down that provide wiggle room for rationalization by our men in uniform don’t prove to the world that we stand AGAINST that type of behavior no matter what.

    As for John Douglas’ comments, I’ll take for granted that the cartoon appeared on the same printed page with the photograph since I read the AJC online. Given that, the placement on the same page appears unfortunate at best, and the layout editors should have prevented that. They should probably apologize. But I do not agree with John that the paper should not have printed the cartoon at all; too close to censorship or blind patriotism (a.k.a. nationalism) for my taste.

  12. LINDA says:

    JP,

    If we did not have traitors to our country working in the press, the photos from Abu Gharib would not have been released to the press. My feeling is whatever it takes to get these evil mad dogs to tell us what they know about a planned terrorist attack should be used. I don’t care if they put 200 pounds of weights on them and throw them in a lake, when it comes to fighting this war on terror. If you think that they play nice, you are sadly mistaken. This is not a conventional war, and rules of engagement should not be part of the plan.

  13. Mike says:

    Right on Linda! If some SOB has knowlege of an emminent attack, it’s time to start removing fingers. God help us if pansies like JP ever come to power.

    By the way Jeff, thanks for serving. I undestand that, as a tactical air controller, you had a hell of a job.

  14. Smillican says:

    I made a commitment that I wouldn’t post on the Pundit until after the primary, but I just had to log on a laud the comments by Chairman Douglas – bravo, sir, and I’d hope the entire Senate caucus would support you as heartily as they did in the Hanoi Jane resolution.

    The Atlanta Journal Constituion is as unbalanced a publication as this state has ever seen – it’s bias knows no bounds, except perhaps in the Macon Telegraph.

  15. JP says:

    Boy, I love it when the righties resort to calling people “pansies.” That’s exactly the kind of man I only wish I could be, one who can call another man a “pansy.” Makes me so proud I want to go right out and enlist, or maybe run for office.

  16. bowersville says:

    There is a huge difference between interrogation methods and the physical mutilation of our soldiers by terrorists both prior to death and postmortem. Tell me, do you actualy believe a terrorist is concerned about our abstinence from cruel and unusual punishment? No, they want to bask in our abhorance for it at Gitmo, then they want to appeal to the US Supreme court and go free. Which prisoner at Abu Ghraib did our solders dismember and mutalate while alive? Where is your outrage over our fellow Americans being mutilated prior to death? Oh, I haven’t heard any outrages from you Libs. Do you believe the solders had it coming because of our policies? I hear only your praise of Luckovich. Why doesn’t Luckovich move to Iran and publish the cartoons? Oh, I understand, Luckovich can’t go to Iran and express freedom of speach without fear of beheading. Tell me JP, had you rather come into custody of our armed forces and water boarded, or skewered with a sword through your privates by a terrorist? Oh, you prefer neither? Welcome to the United States.

  17. Rusty says:

    Jeff,
    LOL. Typing in all caps and saying DYKWIA does not an argument make. You acknowledged that 1) the U.S. sold arms to Saddam, and that 2) the CIA trained bin Laden. Then you proceeded to try to wish the Abu Ghraib photos away. Thanks for making my point. And thanks for your military service, but it doesn’t make your opinion here any more or less valid.

    Linda,
    You’re always good for unintentional comedy. Within the space of two paragraphs, you talk about the “ranting and raving liberals” then proceed to type in all caps for emphasis. Bravo.

    GAWire,
    I understand the circumstances perfectly. The U.S. had (and still has I’d add) a policy of propping up dictators it thought to be the lesser of two evils. It sells arms to those countries and sometimes even trains their troops (which isn’t in dispute here, as far as I’ve read). Combine that with what’s been going on at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, and the cartoon isn’t very far off.

  18. JP says:

    Bowers, I respect and understand that what’s happened in Abu Gharib doesn’t begin to compare with the killing of our soldiers, and I’m personally sorry that has to happen to anyone. Aside from the lives lost, families are broken by such events.

    If the allegations about Haditha are proven correct, that would be a more equivalent comparison. I’m not arguing the soldiers “had it coming” as you suggest some “Libs” believe, but I would say that it makes America’s case for moral superiority more murky when incidents such as the alleged Haditha massacre occur. And again, it’s easier to argue those types of incidents are abberations if the civilian leaders aren’t busy fighting to allow torture.

    Ultimately, all the terror mongering does not have ME driving around 285 worried about a terrorist attack. I think as a country, we’re allowing ourselves to sacrifice some of our principles in the name of security–which is exactly what terrorism seeks to achieve. I think the AJC cartoon–accurate or not–encourages these conversations, and because I think that’s productive, I support it. I’m embarrassed that so many want to chastise them, and even more embarrassed that our Legislature would consider a resolution of condemnation.

    Rusty, re: GAWire, you have a point–funny you’d even need to make it given that the School of the Americas is located in Georgia. I’m all about loving one’s country, but when that love reaches the point of denial where one can ignore one’s own country’s faults, it becomes dangerous.

  19. GAWire says:

    No one is in denial that the US has faults. Just look at our full prisons and the tax dollars going to support them – obviously, there are bad people. Just look at the immigration problem we have – obviously, there is s/t wrong with the situation as a whole.

    But that’s not the point … the point is that making comparisons of America with Al Quaida or the Taliban is disgracing ALL Americans. It’s not just saying we have a few bad apples – it’s describing a larger assertion that states “America is evil” or s/t like that.

    Listen, of course we have some bad people, including some bad people in the military. Some of those people make bad decisions and do things that are wrong. But, the real point is that those actions DO NOT represent our military, our country, or the people therein.

    So, making wild comparisons and assertions is WRONG!

    What really annoys me is that in today’s MTV and CNN dominated world of media, and constant access to information, we have a lot of “Fair-weather Americans”. These are just like many of our Braves fans, but on a much serious level … as soon as some hard times come along, people start turning their backs, making fun, and making wild accusations, assertions, and general rediculous claims.

    Some bad Americans make bad decisions – the AJC and the NY Times claim that the entire country and gov’t are responsible and are just like those bad people.

    This is not the case, and people like Lukovich and others should not take it upon themselves to make such assenine comments, comparisons, or illustrations.

  20. jsm says:

    I disagree with the analysis that this depicts the U.S. instructing Al-Qaida how to torture. The word “etiquette” in the book title tells me that Luckovich is depicting the U.S. as a terrorist no different than Al-Qaida. He’s just saying that we follow some “rules” about how we torture people and that we expect other terrorist organizations to follow the same so-called guidelines. To top it off, he makes the U.S. look petty in its outrage toward the brutality and inhumanity of Al-Qaida terrorists.

    I don’t understand how Luckovich and other liberals who agree with him stay in this country. If we’re so terrible a country, why don’t they move to a country they don’t have to feel so badly about and vilify? Luckovich is a disgrace. He has no moral character, and the AJC should be ashamed to publish such rot.

  21. duluthmom says:

    I’m not going to begin to defend the AJC or Luckovich, because I too think the cartoon was in poor taste.

    However, I’m in shock over reading some of these posted comments like “if you don’t agree with all the Bush Admin. policies you should leave our country” or the ones that imply or outright claim that dissent is somehow unpatriotic or disloyal/traitorous.

    Teddy Roosevelt once said: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

    Before anyone begins to make blanket accusations against “liberals” or the “liberal media” of being traitors simply for speaking out against certain policies or what they perceive to be an unjust war, remember that they do have that right, even if you or I don’t agree with them. If you don’t like the AJC or the NYT, then don’t read them–no one is forcing you to. If your true outrage over the AJC or the NYT (aside from the current cartoon) though is that their readers might question or disagree with this Administration’s policy, then what you really want is censorship.

  22. Rusty says:

    jsm reminded me of the “A little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll” episode of South Park.

    “If you don’t like it, you can giiiiiiit out!” (points thumb sideways)

  23. GAWire says:

    We are not against these groups or anyone “speaking out” against something they don’t agree with (even if they are wrong) … this does not make them treasonous or unpatriotic, or wrong for that matter.

    What makes them wrong is their wild assertions and comparisons of America to dictatorial murder groups. That is not speaking out – that is speaking out of line.

  24. duluthmom says:

    GAWire-
    Perhaps some of their assertions are out of line. But what you said was:

    Quote: “What really annoys me is that in today’s MTV and CNN dominated world of media, and constant access to information, we have a lot of “Fair-weather Americans

  25. jsm says:

    Rusty, I’m amazed at the depth of your thinking. I never said anyone should get out. I merely wonder why people who are so disgusted with U.S. behavior would stay here. If Luckovich really believes what he is spewing, he has no allegiance to this country.

  26. Rusty says:

    jsm,
    People who don’t think other Americans should be free to believe what they want to are the ones with no allegience to this country. I question your patriotism.

  27. jsm says:

    You really are thick, Rusty. I’m not saying other Americans should not have the freedom to believe what they want. I’m merely saying I don’t understand how they can stand living here under an administration and policies they have such disdain for. If I viewed my own government as a terrorist regime, I would want to live somewhere else.

    Try to keep up.

  28. JP says:

    JSM, easy answer: These people believe in American ideals just as much as rightist Republicans do, but rather than fall for the pathetic “love it or leave it!” dichotomy they realize that a 3rd option exists: change it.

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