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Colonel Hunt's Mixed Interview on Dayside

Reported by Janie - October 21, 2005

Yesterday (10/20) on Dayside, hosts Juliet Huddy and Mike Jerrick brought Colonel David Hunt onto the show to discuss the developing case of soldiers taunting Taliban fighters and burning/desecrating the bodies of those that had killed.

Recently, the Australian public broadcasting company, SBS, aired a videotape of United States soldiers burning the bodies of Taliban fighters that had recently been killed in battle near the Afghan town of Gonbaz. The report from SBS also stated that these US soldiers then taunted the Taliban fighters over loudspeakers, by broadcasting the words "Taliban, you are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned."

Colonel Hunt was invited on to explain these events to the American people. He began with: "I think it's a great idea, right up to the part where they actually burn the body. I think it's ok and it's acceptable, and we're fighting an unconventional war against enemies that don't have rules. We of course, have rules in our great country and we have to fight with a certain amount of ethics. However, tempting the enemy to come out and fight, telling you burned the bodies is great, right up until the time you do it. The reason you can't do this, it's leads down the trail of mutilating bodies. You can't do that in our military. But I have no problem with telling the enemy you're going to do it or you did it, it's just the problem comes up when you actually do the burning. That's over the line."

Comment: I actually agree with Colonel Hunt's statements here. He at least steps up and states that the actual desecration of the bodies was over the line. However, he doesn't give the audience the full story. As most Americans are not aware of Muslim traditions, it would have been appropriate for either Hunt or the hosts on Dayside to note that desecration of bodies in such a manner goes against the teachings of the Muslim faith, and can be seen as highly offensive to the religion. Hunt and Dayside do not provide the viewers with the full levity of the situation, and many people could have been led into thinking this is less of a deal than it's being made out to be.

Unfortunately, later in the interview, both Huddy and Hunt decided that attempting to play down the event in question, and let their audience think this wasn't such a big deal, was the way to go.

JH: "It ends up backfiring on our military because you have situations like this that are anomalies, but they get hyped up in the foreign press and we've seen that happen so often."

CH: "There are mistakes like this, in Abu Ghraib, that get blown out of proportion."

Comment: Sorry Huddy, but these events are looking less and less like anomalies, as they crop up from Iraq, Abu Ghraib, to Afghanistan, to Guantanamo Bay. Not to mention that the "foreign press" in this situation have a tape of the actual events, and hyping is completely unnecessary. And to say that what went on at Abu Ghraib was blown out of proportion is simply preposterous, when the actions that occurred there only give aid and comfort to the enemy. The interview started off well, the original points Hunt made were virtually spot on, but the entire interview disintegrated into a sham attempting to take away the gravity of the disgraceful situation at hand.

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