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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
April 22, 2009
Another Spectacular Success For Media Memory Hole
The Abu Ghraib story was broadcast on Sixty Minutes on April 28, 2004. One of the first times Bush addressed it was on May 6, in prepared remarks with King Abdullah of Jordan in the Rose Garden:
BUSH: We also talked about what has been on the TV screens recently, not only in our own country, but overseas -- the images of cruelty and humiliation. I told His Majesty as plainly as I could that the wrongdoers will be brought to justice, and that the actions of those folks in Iraq do not represent the values of the United States of America...
I assured him Americans, like me, didn't appreciate what we saw, that it made us sick to our stomachs.
On April 16, 2009, the Obama administration released the main Justice Department torture memos. Five days later, Obama met with King Abdullah in Abdullah's first visit to the White House since he took office, and then took questions. The most obvious thing in the world to ask would have been whether Obama stood by Bush's commitment that "the wrongdoers will be brought to justice."
Of course, the White House press corps failed to do so—even after Obama's response to the questions that one reporter did ask about the memos:
Q: You were clear about not wanting to prosecute those who carried out the instructions under this legal advice. Can you be that clear about those who devised the policy? And then quickly on a second matter, how do you feel about investigations, whether special -- a special commission or something of that nature on the Hill to go back and really look at the issue?
OBAMA: For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it's appropriate for them to be prosecuted.
With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.
As a general deal, I think that we should be looking forward and not backwards. I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively, and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations.
Moreover, not a single news outlet mentioned Bush's five-year-old commitment.
So, President Bush pledges to Abdullah in front of the world that the wrongdoers will be brought to justice. Almost exactly five years later, when the wrongdoers are known to have included the highest levels of the Bush administration, Abdullah visits the White House again, and no one anywhere in the media remembers it ever happened. Success!
—Jonathan SchwarzPosted at April 22, 2009 10:43 PM