Friday, February 04, 2005

Oh, thank goodness it was only crushing neglect...

Guess where today's news tips come from? (-50 points for guessing anything but Slate's Today's Paper's (TP).)

From the NYT (via TP):
[A] doctor, Maj. David Auch, told us that some of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were psychotic and out of control. One, he said, would repeatedly strip off his clothes and smash his head against the wall. After handcuffs and a helmet failed to stop him and with straitjackets unavailable, some soldiers suggested the leash. Major Auch granted their request.

The soldiers who snapped and posed for the photos of abuse are being called to account. But the focus on their culpability diverts attention from the causal relationship between the Pentagon's priorities and the hellish conditions that both prisoners and their captors endured. This larger story, of conditions that ensured neglect and invited cruelty, is being ignored.


"The hospital lacked basic supplies, according to members of the clinical staff, and at times it maintained a surgical service without surgeons. Sometimes the hospital ran out of chest tubes, intravenous fluids or medicines. Medical staff members improvised, taking tubes from patients when they died and reusing them, without sterilization." The shortages may help explain, though not excuse, that photo of a leashed prisoner...

Favorite "diss" of the day: the NYT apparently calculates, from the (~10%) partial vote returns showing the main Shiite coalition (al-Sistani's I believe, as opposed to Allawi's) with an even larger lead than expected. However, the 10% sample is considered statistically unsound, leading to this great exchange: "Election officials refused to add up the numbers they released. Asked why, an official snorted, 'You mean, why haven't we made it easy for you to do an analysis that we consider unsound?' The other papers heed that advice." (Good catch by TP: the cover story leads with the unsound analysis... a piece inside the paper has the quote saying it's bunk.)

Other TP rehashes: "...a day after President Bush said the U.S. is "working with European allies" to keep Iran nukes-free, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. won't work with European allies on their plan to offer carrots to Teheran. She also described Iran's human-rights record as 'something to be loathed,' apparently the kind of rhetoric Europeans don't find helpful." (In fact, those who DO expect the Spanish Inquisition, don't, in fact, expect the Spanish Inquisition...)

Lastly, oy vey: "The papers go inside with an internal EPA report saying the agency, as the Post puts it, 'ignored scientific evidence and agency protocols' in order to come up with a mercury proposal to the White House's liking. The administration accused the author, an apparent Democrat, of being partisan. But the Post gets corroboration from a few EPA employees. 'Everything about this rule was decided at a political level,' said one."

Sorry for the recent lack of original content and instead mostly meta-analysis or links to Slate. I'd encourage everyone to read Today's Papers every day, except then there'd be no reason to come here first...

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