Image is everything
Regarding Abu Ghraib: there is going to be the temptation for some on one side of the debate to use this heinous story to show that America is morally corrupt. Similarly, there is going to be the temptation for some on the other side of the debate to use those comments to paint all who get upset about this story as being of the same opinion with regard to the morality of the Americans in Iraq.
Here's a clue: the problem here is not whether or not the Americans in Iraq approve or disapprove of what happened in Abu Ghraib.
The problem is that a lot of the people we need to help get us out of this mess will believe we do even if we deny it.
America has a HUGE image problem. Complaining that the image does not match reality is a waste of time. We are fast approaching the time when then world will no longer listen to our protestations of innocence.