The Straw Man
I think we've probably all seen the hoo-ha that's going on about the Newsweek story that reported a copy of the Koran was desecrated* at the Guantanamo Bay. Newsweek printed it, as reported to them by an unnamed government official. There were riots in Afghanistan about it wherein people died. The unnamed official now says he's not sure he saw anything about the desecration after all, and Newsweek shouldn't have printed it.
Oh, yeah, also all the worst segments of the US government (namely the White House and Pentagon for starters), who are also the ones who'd most like all non-bought-and-paid-for journalists to go away, have all come out saying it's the worst thing they've ever heard of--not the desecration, but the fact that Newsweek rushed to print with it.
Let me say this about that:Item One:
I don't think for one second that the report of the descration is false. The people who are supposed to have done it are soldiers in an Army that is comfortable with a general saying that this IS a holy war, and that "our God is bigger than their God." They also serve in a military under a White House and Pentagon that think mistreatment is only torture if you're permanently maimed or outright killed.**Item Two:
I'm sure the unnamed source told Newsweek about this on purpose. Again, this is an admininstration that actually thinks very little is out of bounds, and that typically likes to suck up to the types who'd really like to see a good old-fashioned Koran defiling: Christian wackos.Item Three:
Of course everybody's going to back off the story when people start dying over it. Especially if by backing off it they can torpedo an even moderately independent news organization in the process.Item Four:
The current administration totally has a hard-on for cutting any remotely independent press off at the knees. This is exactly the same as the kind of payback that--who was it? ABC? I don't watch TV news--got over the forged National Guard documents.
It's the same right down to the fact that nobody particularly believes what was printed was untrue. Sure, in both cases, the rush to put something inflammatory out there probably trumped good journalistic sense. But I think it's disengenuous to think that the White House wasn't shitting when the National Guard documents came to light, because they knew full well Bush didn't serve as required--they just got lucky the docs turned out to be forged***. Same thing this time--they know damn well that kind of shit goes on at Gitmo, but since the source was kept out of the magazine, they were able to pressure him or her to recant once the shit hit the fan.Item Five:
This is nowhere near the important news item the crazy coverage makes it out to be. I mean, it's not like people aren't killing and being killed every day in Iraq and Afghanistan because of some shit our government is doing, whether they deny it or not. The press are getting played like a fiddle by the White House. I expect CNN and FOX to turn on Newsweek because they're SO owned by Bush and Co. anyway. But do all the other press outlets have to act like sharks at a feeding frenzy? They are so afraid of getting cut out of Bush's information club (where most of what they're told is bullshit anyway) that they're turning on their own any time there's blood in the water. Fucking disgusting.Item Six:
Newsweek fucked up. They should maybe have calculated what effect this piece might have had on folks in the Middle East, and insisted on publishing the source's name or left the info out. Now that they've fucked up, though, I think they should just out the asshole right now, and let the White House chew on that for a while, since I'm sure it would turn out to be someone who would never in a million years have gotten that wrong, or accidentally talked out of turn. Yeah, yeah--"If we tell who our sources are, nobody will ever talk to us again, whine, cringe." Guess what? If you called bullshit on some of the people who lie to you and later gut you like a fish over what you print, maybe that would stop too. Grow some balls.*Rumor has it a Koran was flushed down a toilet. Now, as an atheist, and someone with a working knowledge of toilets, this doesn't sound so bad. OK--it got wet. OK--the toilet is where you go poopie. But the water's relatively clean, and I'm absolutely positive they didn't get the damn book to go down, unless it was too wee to read in the first fucking place. If you are the type to get upset because of the symbolism of flushing a so-called holy book down a dirty, sinful toilet where you do your dirty sinful shitting, well fuck you. You're just the same kind of brainwashed idiot who'd do something like that in the first place. Books are books, not the word of some god. Sheesh.
**I would like to point out that setting such a standard for torture pretty much puts you in the position of, "Oops, he died. Guess that was torture after all. Sorry." It's like the witchcraft test--if she drowns, she was innocent.
***They probably figured out they were forgeries because no corresponding documents could be found in Karl Rove's secret stash of documents that prove Bush fucked up in the 60s (and 70s, and 80s...).