Most people have already seen the above photo of Iraqi "insurgents" murdering three Iraqi election workers, using time-tested Baathist techniques of intimidation of the public by sensational atrocity. The murders, which occurred in broad daylight on a busy Baghdad street, has provoked revulsion in the West and several other reactions. Thomas Friedman, writing in the New York Times, slams the killers:
As the Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum so rightly pointed out to me, "These so-called insurgents in Iraq are the real fascists, the real colonialists, the real imperialists of our age." They are a tiny minority who
want to rule Iraq by force and rip off its oil wealth for themselves. It's time
we called them by their real names.
Of course, Friedman can't restrain himself from hand-wringing about the Iraqi democracy movement's longer-term chances for success, and a slam on the Bush Administration:
We may lose because of the defiantly wrong way that Donald Rumsfeld has managed this war and the cynical manner in which Dick Cheney, George Bush and - with some honorable exceptions - the whole Republican right have tolerated it.
Cynical? Quite a charge to make when Americans are dying. Friedman is so often on target. He is just as often wildly off-target. But at least he does better than his paper, the Times, which is wildly off-target 90% of the time.
Meanwhile, The Belmont Club is starting to do what bloggers do best: Ask questions the older elite media will not ask:
There may be a perfectly plausible explanation for everything, but for the
record let me wonder:
1. How the Associated Press photographer happened to be at the attack
site at the time. Was it on his route to home or work?
2. How he photographed the execution sequence in the midst of an attack
by 30 persons from the middle of the major road (see the photo provided by
We need to go the "country mile" to reach the standard of proof that any
responsible reader would need to form an opinion on the issues.
Well. One must wonder. At a minimum, the photographed killers are pretty doggone lucky to have been captured in the act, thus ensuring world-wide publicity for their effort to intimidate election workers and voters. On the other hand, the assassins were brazen enough not to wear masks, so maybe they did not expect to be photographed. It would be a blow for democracy and decency if they could be apprehended and jailed quickly.
Not surprisingly, the left-leaning (and that's putting it kindly) Salon thinks it is shocking that anyone would ask the questions Belmont Club asks.
To round all this out, Victor Davis Hanson gives a characteristic sober, perspective-filled and scholarly overview of the whole situation, including the Rumsfeld Question.