Day By Day

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Hooded Man and the Claw

Errol Morris, famed lefty documentarian, has a piece in the NYT Magazine on the fraud perpetrated by one of the Abu Ghraib prisoners, various human rights organizations, and the MSM.

The most famous of the incriminating photographs taken at Abu Ghraib showed a hooded man wired for electric shock torture. The picture gained in value to anti-war forces because a man stepped forward saying that he was the victim under the hood and telling horrible details about his torture and dehumanization. One of the most terrifying details was his nickname, "Clawman", given him because of the mutilation of his hand under interrogation.

Morris notes that none of the photos attached to the story actually showed the mutilated hand, leaving the details to the imagination of the viewer [a magnificently effective expository device] and further discloses that the purported victim was a fraud. The real man under the hood could not be found and thus had no story of horrors to tell. Human rights activists and anti-war journalists needed a story to go with the picture, so when "clawman" stepped forward with his fraudulent account he was welcomed unquestioningly.

In short -- the MSM, the human rights and anti-American activists, and hostile governments accepted and celebrated the pictures because they conformed to the narrative they wanted to tell. They saw what they wanted to see.

Morris is not saying that terrible things did not take place at Abu Ghraib, only that the account spread around the world was falsely over-dramatized for maximum effect. What is disturbing is how avidly and uncritically journalistic and political organizations in this country seized on and publicized the embellishments.

Read the whole thing here.