The NY Times Loves Abu Ghraib... Not So Fond of Tom Fox Torture

March 14th, 2006 12:29 AM

Tom Fox Protests the Israeli Barrier in PalestineJames Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's online opinion section,, made this interesting observation in his "Best of The Web Today" column:

Tom Fox, a member of the anti-American Christian Peacekeeper Teams, has been murdered by terrorists in Iraq who held him hostage for more than three months, the New York Times reported on Saturday. On Sunday, the paper carried a follow-up report that Fox "had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad."

The story of Fox's death ran on page A8; the story of his torture, on page A10. So what made the Times' front page on Saturday? Yet another story about Abu Ghraib.

Even more interesting is the reason why Mr. Fox was in Iraq in the first place. Here is a Times excerpt:

Ms. Rose said that in case he was abducted or killed, he had signed a "statement of conviction" appearing on his Web log: "We reject violence to punish anyone. We ask that there be no retaliation."

Mr. Fox was in Iraq investigating allegations that American and Iraqi forces were abusing Iraqi detainees, and was also working for an end to the occupation, Ms. Rose said. [emphasis mine]

In other words, Mr. Fox was in Iraq to keep an eye on American forces and to try and document any cases of abuse he could find so that the information could hopefully be used to force US troops to leave Iraq altogether. Here is a statement made by Mr. Fox himself, published just a day before his abduction:

"Why are we here?" We are here to root out all aspects of dehumanization that exists within us. We are here to stand with those being dehumanized by oppressors and stand firm against that dehumanization. We are here to stop people, including ourselves, from dehumanizing any of God's children, no matter how much they dehumanize their own souls.

Please note the fact that Mr. Fox calls US troops "oppressors," and accuses them of dehumanizing the people of Iraq. Never mind the fact that US troops, through the removal of Saddam, have likely already saved 100 thousand or so Iraqi citizens from torture, starvation, abuse, and the general mistreatment which was the stock and trade of Saddam and his followers.

Consider the fact that, to Saddam, there was no need to dehumanize some Iraqis because, in his mind, they were never human in the first place. He likely saw them more as cattle than fellow human beings. If we are lucky, Saddam will be the next political prisoner to drop dead in jail while on trial for mass genocide.

But I digress...

Consider the ultimate irony regarding Mr. Taranto's astute observation, that the NY Times basically buried the Tom Fox story. If Mr. Fox had somehow been dehumanized by US troops, he would have become the latest and greatest poster child for anti-war activists in general and the NY Times in particular.

Unfortunately for Mr. Fox, he was captured, tortured, and brutally murdered by terrorists who had essentially the same mission as the CPT members in Iraq, the withdrawal of US forces.
That is not a very good anti-war message to sell to the American people. That the very people you were there to help "humanize" abducted you, humiliated you, tortured you, murdered you, then dumped your body in the street for the authorities to find. Nope, not a winning lead story for the Times at all.

So, rather than make Mr. Fox's story the lead, the NY Times buried it, making yet another Abu Ghraib story the lead instead. How sad.