Amid calls for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's removal over allegations of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel, some conservative pundits have their own ideas of who is responsible. Media Matters for America has identified at least four groups who have been blamed: women, feminists, Muslims, and the academic left.
Ann Coulter, right-wing pundit and syndicated columnist, said:
I think the other point that no one is making about the abuse photos is just the disproportionate number of women involved, including a girl general running the entire operation.
I mean, this is lesson, you know, one million and 47 on why women shouldn't be in the military. In addition to not being able to carry even a medium-sized backpack, women are too vicious.
[FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, May 5]
Linda Chavez, syndicated columnist and FOX News Channel political analyst, wrote:
But one factor that may have contributed -- but which I doubt investigators will want to even consider -- is whether the presence of women in the unit actually encouraged more misbehavior, especially of the sexual nature that the pictures reveal.
[The Heritage Foundation's website Townhall.com and The Baltimore Sun, May 5]
George Neumayr, managing editor of The American Spectator, wrote:
The image of that female guard, smoking away as she joins gleefully in the disgraceful melee like one of the guys, is a cultural outgrowth of a feminist culture which encourages female barbarians. GI Janes are kicking around patriarchal Muslims in Iraq? This is [Feminist Majority Foundation president] Eleanor Smeal's vision come to life. Had Thelma and Louise gone off to Iraq -- and sexually humiliated some of Saddam Hussein's soldiers as payback for abuse to Jessica Lynch a few cities back -- the radical feminists could make a sequel. ...
Feminists are good at creating a culture that produces "equal-opportunity abusers," Donnelly says. What happened at Abu Ghraib is also happening in feminist America, she adds, pointing to an Associated Press article from last month on a "disturbing trend around the country. Girls are turning to violence more often and with terrifying intensity." ...
Perhaps in the eyes of feminists this isn't a crisis but a potential social program and these girls deserve ROTC credits.
[The American Spectator, May 5]
Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist and host of FOX News Channel's After Hours with Cal Thomas, wrote:
Some Arab commentators are repeating the myth that the West has, once again, humiliated Muslims. If there has been humiliation, it isn't the fault of the West. It is Muslims' fault. They took trillions of dollars in oil money, and instead of building a culture dedicated to elevating their people, including women, they have squandered it on agendas and adventures that had the opposite result.
[Townhall.com and The Monterey County Herald, May 5]
The Academic Left
James Taranto, editor of The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com, wrote:
[T]he New York Times profiles some of the soldiers implicated in abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and to be honest, they sound like a bunch of losers. ...
[I]ncreasing the quality of military recruits would probably help avoid future Abu Ghraibs. One constructive step toward that end would be for elite universities to drop antimilitary policies, so that the military would have an easier time signing up the best and brightest young Americans.
Many academic institutions have barred ROTC or military recruiters from campus for left-wing political reasons--first as a protest against the Vietnam War, and later over the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" law. Whatever the merits of these positions, it's time the academic left showed some patriotic responsibility and acknowledged that the defense of the country--which includes the defense of their own academic freedom--is more important than the issue du jour.
[OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web", May 6]