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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Who's Slandering Whom, Jeff?

Jeff Jacoby has a typically foolish web exclusive op-ed on the Globe's site today, entitled "Ted Kennedy's anti-American slander." What did Kennedy say that amounts to anti-American slander, in Jacoby's estimation? The following two sentences from Kennedy's speech of May 10:

On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?' Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management - US management.

Jacoby thinks that, "it crosses a line to claim that US forces in Iraq are no better than the monster they toppled." Of course, Kennedy never said any such thing. All that quoted section above says is that American troops tortured Iraqis in the exact same prison where Saddam's forces tortured Iraqis. This is a statement of fact.

Kennedy's full remarks, helpfully linked by the Globe, are entirely reasonable and well sourced. He cites congressional testimony from Secretary Rumsfled and General Myers, the Taguba Report, and the Red Cross in laying out what has occurred in Iraq and arguing for a full investigation and accountability. Anyone who truly believes in what America is supposed to stand for would support Kennedy's remarks in full.

Jacoby wants to distract readers from the torture of Iraqis by the American occupying forces to score political points for Bush. In doing so, he denigrates the service of the best public official in the state and he weakens the chances of having real accountability for the disgusting crimes committed at Abu Ghraib. It is Jeff Jacoby who is doing his country a disservice by writing this trash.