Jewish World Review May 12, 2004 / 21 Iyar 5764

Dan Abrams

Abrams
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


How can we pay abused Iraqis and fail to give frozen Iraqi funds to Americans tortured by Saddam?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | In Secretary Rumsfeld's testimony last week, he said the administration is seeking a way to provide appropriate compensation to the abused Iraqi prisoners. "It's the right thing to do," Rumsfeld said.


It is the right thing to do, and on its face, it makes good sense. Compensation represents a symbol of our sorrow and shame to the families of the victims and the Arab world as a whole. As I've said on many occasions, we're supposed to be better. We're supposed to be helping them create a society that reflects the elevated values of a democracy. One that eradicates the brutality known under Saddam's reign.


But if these abused detainees are going to be paid for their suffering, how can the administration justify fighting 17 U.S. POWs who won a huge verdict against Saddam for the torture and suffering they endured in the 1991 Gulf War? A judge awarded them nearly $1 billion in damages to be paid from $1.7 billion in frozen Iraqi funds, but a change in the law led the judge to rescind his initial order. Now on appeal, the administration continues to argue that the frozen funds should go to rebuilding Iraq instead and, it now seems, to paying Iraqi victims of abuse as well.


Our soldiers endured beatings, burning, starvation, mock executions and castrations. They, too, should be guaranteed compensation. They're not going to get anywhere near $1 billion-I think they accept that fact. But as the administration reaches out to the Iraqi victims, they must also reach out to our troops who are not just morally entitled to compensation but legally as well.


In a previous editorial, I said I don't want to hear any "buts" when it comes to the abuses endured by the Iraqis. No "but look what they did to our troops," no "but the investigation went well…." I attacked media apologists who tried to deflect blame and minimize this disaster. Trying to put it into context, I argued, will only prolong the pain.


But paying damages is very different from just accepting responsibility. The money is designed to send a message. It's a message that should be sent. And we have to ensure it doesn't send the wrong one to our own troops.


Donate to JWR


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.

Up

ARCHIVES

© 2004, MSNBC