New detainees strain Iraq’s jails
Sharp rise follows start of security plan; suspects housed with convicts
And the lede:
BAGHDAD - The capture of thousands of new suspects under the three-month-old Baghdad security plan has overwhelmed the Iraqi government's detention system, forcing hundreds of people into overcrowded facilities, according to Iraqi and Western officials.
I wonder what the headline would have been if the "surge" had been unsuccessful in rounding up "thousands of new suspects"?
This article carefully skirts the issue of the evidence against these "suspects." Nowhere is the claim that neighbors with grudges are gleefully informing on one another and that this alone is enough to get you crammed into Baghdad's overcrowded jails - so, since there's no doubt in my mind (particularly given the tenor of the many, many other articles to which the WP's special correspondents on this story have contributed) that that detail wouldn't have been left out if true, it strikes me that perhaps the standard of evidence to throw someone into the slammer where they'll await arraignment is perhaps along the lines of "seen planting a roadside bomb."
This isn't to say jail overcrowding is not a problem, nor that it's good that uncharged suspects are held with convicts. My point is that the narrative doesn't change no matter what the news is: Baghdad is burning. Pre-"surge," it was an insurgency out of control; inter-"surge," it's an imperfect and inadequate criminal justice system, of all things. (Still no resurgence of the rape rooms, though.)
I commend to your attention the "parliament of clocks" fable from Chicagoboyz. It's highly instructive, with regard to the media narrative.