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Media Yawn as Saddam's Torture Victims Thank Bush


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Media Yawn as Saddam's Torture Victims Thank Bush

American journalists fascinated with U.S. mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison gave a collective yawn yesterday when President Bush played host to seven victims of genuine torture perpetrated by Saddam's Fedahyeen at Abu Ghraib.

The dearth of media interest came despite some fairly expansive quotes from Bush himself on the matter, delivered in the Oval Office:

"I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein," said Bush with the Iraqi victims by his side. "I'm with six other Iraqi citizens, as well, who suffered the same fate. They are examples of the brutality of the tyrant."

After weeks of front page photos depicting Iraqi prisoners forced to wear underwear on their heads, and anguished accounts of detainees being pelted with Nerf footballs, scenes of genuine torture victims thanking an American president for ending the true horrors of Abu Ghraib should have prompted major coverage.

But the New York Times, which has offered perhaps the most hysterical coverage of the prison scandal, mentioned not a word in Wednesday editions of the seven torture victims.

That other elite media cheerleader for the U.S. prison scandal, the Washington Post, was nearly as bored as the Times by the Abu Ghraib seven, offering only a few scant references to the Oval Office event in its Wednesday editions.

After introducing the Iraqi torture victims, Bush went on to thank the Texas businessman and surgeon who made their rehabilitation possible and offered to take questions from the reporters on hand.

But the only "torture" journalists wanted to discuss was that allegedly perpetrated by U.S. troops.

"Mr. President, can you say why General Sanchez is being replaced as the top commander in Iraq? Is that in any way related to the prisoner abuse scandal?" asked the first questioner.

Likewise, the second reporter's question had nothing to do with the genuine torture victims sitting in front of him.

After two more off-topic questions, the president thanked the reporters and ended the session.


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