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Rumsfeld: "Kind of Following the Headlines and the Bullets in the Television"

Donald Rumsfeld, though he "can't read all the articles," said in a press conference last Friday that the media has drawn too much attention to prisoner abuse scandals, noting that in the "Washington Post the other day -- I forget when it was -- just a great, bold 'torture.'" This is unfair, of course, because, as Rumsfeld said, "the implication is that the United States government has, in one way or another, ordered, authorized, permitted, tolerated torture."


And he's right to be upset. The media should not be giving people the impression that the U.S. government authorized torture. The administration's own memos do a pretty good job of that on their own.

More complete excerpt after the jump.

Memo Says Bush Not Restricted by Torture Bans [Reuters/Yahoo]

Defense Department Regular Briefing, June 17,2004 [Defenselink]

I've been kind of following the headlines and the bullets in the television -- the big, powerful hits on torture and this type of thing that we've seen.  Needless to say, I can't read all the articles, and so I'm no expert on what every person says, and I know headline writers and people dramatize things.

But in thinking about it all, and I have to be a little careful -- we know that there's still more investigations going on, and we're going to learn more information, so no one can speak with finality or definitively or conclusively at this stage.  But -- and second, I have to be a little careful about what I say because of the risk of command influence.  But let me just say this:  I have read this -- editorials, "torture" -- and one after another.  Washington Post the other day -- I forget when it was -- just a great, bold "torture."

The implication -- think of the people who read that around the world.  First of all, our forces read it.  And the implication is that the United States government has, in one way or another, ordered, authorized, permitted, tolerated torture.  Not true.  And our forces read that, and they've got to wonder, do we?  And as General Pace said, we don't.  The President said people will be treated humanely, and that is what the orders are.  That's what the requirements are.

Now, we know that people have done some things they shouldn't do. Anyone who looks at those photographs know that.  But that's quite a different thing. 

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