I don’t normally go for conspiracy theories, but here’s a fun little timeline I cooked up this morning:
- October – December 2003
- Members of 800th MP Brigade take photos and videos of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib in sexually humiliating positions.
- 19 January 2004
- Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez makes request that an Investigating Officer investigate reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib.
- 31 January 2004
- Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba is appointed to conduct the investigation into abuse at Abu Ghraib.
- 1 February 2004
- Janet Jackson’s right breast is exposed by Justin Timberlake during Superbowl XXXVIII half-time show.
- 2 February 2004
- FCC Chairman Michael Powell — the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former Army general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and someone who still has numerous contacts within the military and Defense department — condemns the Jackson episode and promises a clamp-down on obscenity on the airwaves.
- mid-February 2004
- Maj. Gen. Taguba completes his report on Abu Ghraib.
- March and April 2004
- CBS’s “60 Minutes II” prepares a story on the Abu Ghraib abuse and the Army’s investigation, based on the Taguba report.
- mid-April 2004
- The Defense department and current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Meyers ask “60 Minutes II” to delay broadcast of their report on abuse at Abu Ghraib.
- 28 April 2004
- CBS’s “60 Minutes II” broadcasts story on Abu Ghraib abuse, including doctored images of naked Iraqi prisoners, as the story was about to break in other news outlets around the world.
Now, if you thought the response to the Superbowl show was a bit overblown, you might be inclined by the confluence of events around the end of January and beginning of February to believe that someone in the Army tipped off Colin Powell in January that there was some ugly stuff about to blow out of Iraq. Janet Jackson unknowingly (?) gave Powell’s son a chance to help the administration by trying to put a clamp on broadcast of sexually-humiliating pictures. Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean they didn’t try.
Or, it could just be a coincidence.