Friday, August 18, 2006

Coverup, what coverup?

This is serious. Of course, weeks ago, when we first heard of the story in which Marines are alleged to have murdered two dozen Iraqis in Haditha, we were told "at least there was no coverup."

Now, it appears that that was not true. According to the lead story in today's Times, there was, in fact, a coverup. The investigation found that an official company logbook of the unit involved had been tampered with and that an incriminating video taken by an aerial drone the day of the killings was not given to investigators until Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the second-ranking commander in Iraq, intervened, the officials said.

This obviously doesn't say that every American over there is a lying murderer or murdering liar. Still, on the heels of the conviction yesterday of a CIA contractor for beating an Afghan detainee to death, you have to ask serious questions, mainly, has the government fostered a muscular, no-holds-barred approach to the people we're supposedly trying to help that causes us not only to go way beyond the bounds of civilized behavior but hurts what we're trying to do.

With Guantanmo, abu Graib, and other abuses in the background, and terrorist plots on almost every continent, maybe we should consider how we can be a model for the rest of the world.

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