Learning the lesson of Abu Ghraib

No pictures of the flogged Iraqi. The Pentagon can’t control the problem, but it can control the press. And all the people who said the Abu Ghraib pictures were needlessly inflammatory will simply ignore the story, which, since it doesn’t have pictures, won’t have much traction.

Don’t let anyone take pictures. [See post below.]

I predict that all of the people who criticized the publication of the Abu Ghraib pictures on the grounds that the facts could have been conveyed with verbal descriptions and that publishing the photos was therefore needlessly inflammatory will ignore this story entirely. Since there aren’t any pictures, it doesn’t have any emotional punch, and therefore won’t get to the level where people who don’t want to pay attention to it have to pay attention anyway.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com