It's the War Crimes, stupid

Because reporting "wasn't up to the task," the Washingtonpost.com's Dan Froomkin provides some pointers for covering torture. He begins by warning that stories of the White House "caving in" on torture are greatly exaggerated.

Make no mistake about it: the Republican "rebels" and the White House compromised on just how much torture would be allowed.

According to Froomkin, the compromise is that: "the Republican senators essentially agreed to look the other way."

From the WaPo editorial board:


"Mr. Bush wanted Congress to formally approve these practices and to declare them consistent with the Geneva Conventions. It will not. But it will not stop him either, if the legislation is passed in the form agreed on yesterday."
La la la la la la la, I don't hear any screaming, la la la la la la...

Since this agreement to not publicly disagree, the press, Froomkin writes, "tendencies will be to cover the issue mostly from the angle of its effectiveness as a political cudgel in the mid-term elections."

Among his suggested questions:
Here's a question reporters should be asking: If, as Suskind has alleged, the administration is aware that those harsh CIA interrogation tactics don't really work -- and no one is currently in CIA detention anyway -- then why is this such an important issue for the White House? One possible answer: That this has nothing to do with the future; that it's about giving them cover for their actions in the past.
And:
Finally, as the White House gears up to use detainee policy as a political issue, it is incumbent on the press to remind the public that there are not only two choices: Doing it Bush's way and letting terrorists go free. Even if the Democrats aren't coherent about other alternatives, the press should be.
(WaPo.com)

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