Writing for Newsweek magazine’s feature on the top ten “startling scoops” of the past ten years, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather identified the most shocking: “Abu Ghraib has opened our eyes, serving as a dark icon that reminds us our fiercest enemies – hubris, cruelty, and ignorance – wage war from within.”
Rather went on to proclaim that the prisoner abuse scandal “is still the subject of debate and the source of despair, a shadowy gateway to learning how these wrong-headed practices became American policy.”
Early in the brief article, Rather claimed: “Many don’t know that the story aired in the wake of debate and delay. At the time, there were deep fears that all of us would face a blast furnace of criticism for taking on the administration, ‘undermining the troops,’ and possibly exposing our soldiers to fresh anger from the Muslim world.” Rather certainly was not concerned with going after the Bush administration with fraudulent documents later that same year.
Rather defended the decision to break the story by arguing: “It was only the American public that was in the dark, never consulted or considered when these policies were approved. Back then, we all needed awakening to what was being done in our names.” He then alleged more widespread abuses by the U.S. military: “A couple of years earlier, when our team was in Afghanistan, we had heard whispers of abuse underway at Baghram Airport, where Americans were in charge of an unknown number of prisoners. We flat out didn’t believe it. Now we know better.”