I was amused to read the following in the NYTimes today:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 17 - American investigators plan to work with an Iraqi commission to widen an inquiry into prisoner torture and abuse by scrutinizing all Iraqi-run detention centers across the country, American officials said today. The announcement reflected the gravity with which the Americans are approaching reports of torture at a secret police prison in central Baghdad.
But it came in stark contrast to comments made earlier today by the Iraqi interior minister, Bayan Jabr, who tried to play down the discovery of torture at the prison by American soldiers. Mr. Jabr is a conservative Shiite, and almost all the prisoners were Sunni Arabs.
"There has been much exaggeration about this issue," Mr. Jabr said at a news conference, speaking in an angry, sarcastic tone. "Nobody was beheaded or killed."
Mr. Jabr acknowledged that seven of the 169 emaciated, malnourished prisoners discovered by Americans on Sunday night had been tortured. He said the Iraqi officers responsible would be punished. But he added that many of the Iraqis and foreign Arabs being held in the prison were suspected of heinous bombings and assaults.
Mr. Jabr also suggested that the furor over the prison was being drummed up by "those who support terrorism" since "it's natural for them to attack the Interior Ministry."
Now, on the basis of the above, I submit this Minister of the Interior, at any rate, has gotten this democracy thing down rock solid. "Nobody was beheaded," and all the media fuss is just support for terrorism, he says.
You could fly this guy to Washington and he could stand in for any number of folks in the Bush White House.
This shows real promise.