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Yet Another Reason To Cancel That Newsweek Sub

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Matt Welch alludes to it below, but Newsweek has now announced that its "Periscope" item about U.S. interrogators in Gitmo flushing pages from the Koran down the toilet is…well, maybe not so true, and uh, well, we're really sorry, if it is false, then we categorically are sorry, but just to cover our sorry little asses, "We're not saying it absolutely happened but we can't say that it absolutely didn't happen either" ….because you know in this topsy-turvy, post-9/11 world even the Red Sox have won the World Series, so you can never say never…

Newsweek's weasely non-admission is spectacular in its bad timing, almost seemingly calculated to maximize rotten effects. If the original piece was thinner than the skin stretched over Ann Coulter's bones, then what the hell did they run it for, even in "Periscope," a section that rivals the "Dog Gone Funny" panel of Marmaduke comics for credibility and laffs quotient? The single source was an unidentified "knowledgeable government source" who later admitted he couldn't verify the story.

And now, in the wake of widespread violence after the factoid became public, Newsweek retracts the piece, which makes the mag look like it's just trying to pour oil on troubled waters, thereby diminishing press credibility in general while in no clear way exonerating the U.S. military.

The final insult? It makes those of us who are critical of government sources, largely because they are quicker to lie than they are to tell the truth, agree with the Pentagon (!) spokesman who said of the mystery source, "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?"

But don't delay: Over at Newsweek's site, they've got a rip-roarin', straight from the headlines article about "rediscovering George Washington" on display. (If you're hankering for another expose of whether Jesus wore socks or whether the dinosaurs had cholesterol, etc., just wait for the next week's issue.)

And here's the editor's note about the Gitmo fuckup.

Side bets welcome: How long will it take before some sagacious media critic blames the problem on the unhealthy marketplace competition that degrades the journalistic standards once upheld by even classified writers of the days of yore and/or the Internet?

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  1. All this over a book.
    What century is this again?

  2. I thought “Izzy” was a charter member of the VRWC, friend of Lucianne’s etc?

    And how stupid would you have to be to believe a book as fat as the Koran would fit down a toilet drain?

  3. This is instructive on this issue:

    Newsweek Got Gitmo Right

  4. The interesting part of this would be the compare/contrast with the Bush administrations’ handling of evidence regarding WMD in Iraq. In both cases, false information was supplied in circumstances that should have at least called for second thought and confirmation.

    In both cases, a pre-conceived bias was more important than the truth.

    At least we can choose to ignore and refuse to pay Newsweek. Not so, with fearless leader…

  5. Quasibill,

    Suppose you tell us those circumstances which should have called for second thoughts!! So far as I know requsts to Saddam to prove that he had destroyed the WMD known to be in his possession went unanswered; he had kicked out the inspectors; all our allies without exception had reports of his having WMD; all our senators believed and are on record as believing he had WMD; our most recent ex-president is on record as to his having WMD. Anybody else?

    Next time get some credibility.

  6. I don’t dare tell Newsweek what I heard someone say about Mohammed.

  7. So obviously we should not be using anonymous sources any more. I realise that this is usually not held to be so for “Pentagon Spokesmen”, they are allowed to remain anonymous, but would anyone like to out him? I?d like to send him a thank you letter for that statement of clear reason.

  8. All of this violence over *one* news story, eh? I’d bet my life savings that any coverage of the States doing something right would be met with widespread skepticism or indifference.

  9. Tell me, Brian.
    I promise not to leak it.
    Really.

  10. You know, dick, most people don’t go out of their way to call attention to their screw ups.

    I knew there was no real threat from Iraqi WMDs, and that the administration was full of crap. Tens of millions of Americans shared by accurate perception. Maybe the most relevant question you should be asking is, why were you fooled, when so many others were not?

  11. So obviously we should not be using anonymous sources any more. I realise that this is usually not held to be so for “Pentagon Spokesmen”, they are allowed to remain anonymous, but would anyone like to out him?

    It was Larry DiRita. The quote is attributed to him everywhere except H&R, I believe.

  12. I’d bet my life savings that any coverage of the States doing something right would be met with widespread skepticism or indifference.

    While it’s not something that I’ve got empirical evidence to support, I really feel like most media institutions are clinging to Vietnam-era journalism. Basically, anything military is bad, anything NOT American is good.

    I’d even assert that certain mags/news sources assume that they’re both in touch with the “pulse of America” and more intelligent than most of the population at the same time. Those people see it as their duty to run anti-American stories.

    In that case, even when they’re proven wrong, they can still claim to be right. “The story was false, but the accusations still hold legitimacy” is the new “I did not have sexual relations” for the 2K’s.

  13. I’m not sure I get your point in the following passage. Since Instapundit deemed it insightful enough to highlight and link, I figure I must be missing something:

    “It makes those of us who are critical of government sources, largely because they are quicker to lie than they are to tell the truth, agree with the Pentagon (!) spokesman who said of the mystery source, ‘People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?’ ”

    Why is the source’s credibility undermined because people died? It seems the only appropriate barometer of credibility is whether someone tells truth or falsehoods.

    The equation in the Pentagon quote is People Died = Source Has No Credibility. There’s nothing there that speaks to the actual veracity of the source’s comment — just that the source is not credible because the comment resulted in people’s dying.

    What is it about this quote that’s making you set aside your normal distaste for government spokesmen?

  14. I knew there was no real threat from Iraqi WMDs

    joe for President!

    Tell us, sagacious and prescient one, what you know about North Korean nukes.

  15. Nice shot quasibill. But your hero Saddam was in violation of the terms of a cease-fire he agreed to in 1991. A cease-fire is like being on parole, if you disappear for two weeks the parole board doesn’t have to prove you were on a crack spree or robbing banks and raping women, they just cancel your parole (cease-fire). I know you?re sad but Saddam isn?t coming back no matter how many times you say WMD?s or accuse Bush of lying.

  16. Maybe the most relevant question you should be asking is, why were you fooled, when so many others were not?

    Which begs the question, to which info did you have access that BOTH the Clinton and Bush administrations did not? What did you have that Powell did not that PROVED “the administration was full of crap.”? Or, like Newsweek and Brokaw appeared, were you swayed by your own rose-colored anti-war glasses?

    On each side of the issue it’s possible for the proverbial “50,000 Elvis fans” to be wrong. It looks like you’re relying on ex post facto to prove your claims.

  17. “Basically, anything military is bad, anything NOT American is good.”

    Uh, yeah, like the all-war-porn-all-the-time we were treated to throughout the first half of 2003 on all of the major networks. Or the several minutes the Newshour dedicated to running the honor roll at the end of each episode.

    What was it you were saying about “even when they’re proven wrong, they can still claim to be right.”

    “The story was false, but the accusations still hold legitimacy” If you’re going to shift into a critique of the administration’s statements about WMDs, you should warn us first.

  18. You’re far too kind, RC. I’m neither sagacious not prescient. I just don’t jam my head up my ass and shut off my brain when a politician threatens me with a mushroom cloud.

    I don’t know dick about North Korean nukes. But if you’d like, I’ll let you know when the Bushies are lying about them. You don’t seem to be very good at picking up on that.

  19. “I knew there was no real threat from Iraqi WMDs, and that the administration was full of crap.”

    Actually, the proper formulation here would be: “I chose to maintain that there was no real threat from Iraqi WMDs.”

    That’s the only sort of thing you or I could say, because you and I were not present in Iraq, seeing or not seeing weapons of mass destruction. I’m not just playing semantics; this is a crucial point about the judgments people decide to make based on their perceptions of secondhand information.

    At any rate, as has been said a gazillion times already: Weapons or no weapons, the WMD thing was never the primary reason that we — via our elected representatives — chose to invade Iraq. It was merely one in a whole bunch of supporting motivations. Its “importance” has risen only after the fact, as the anti-war left has singled it out and pushed it through the historical revisionism machine.

  20. ranger,

    I had no access to any information not already in the public sphere. And I got it right anyway. My anti-war glasses seem to beat the snot out of your eyewear, no?

    “It looks like you’re relying on ex post facto to prove your claims.” I can go back to the threads where we argued this out throughout the end of 2002 and the first half of 2003, and show you where I was right about the issue in real time. I can also find any number of links to pundits, reporters, and political figures who were similarly blinded by their bias into an accurate perception of the situation. Would you like me to do that?

    As a great man said to George Bush, “Just because you can’t do something, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”

  21. SP, I “chost to maintain” that position because I was confident of its truth.

    How about you? The New Republic, war pig suckers that they were, had the decency and honesty to admit that they were wrong, and their critics right, about the central political question that has faced our nation in the new millenium. They’ve even done some soul searching. I wonder when we’ll see a similar degree of decency from the right.

  22. I remember quite a few anti-war folks assumed Saddam had WMDs as well. It just wasn’t worth a war; “give the inspectors more time!” was the rallying cry. That’s pretty much where I was, and I fully expected some kind of chemical attack on US forces once we were in the country.

  23. I’m sorry. No more threadjacking.

    Man, Newsweek sucks, huh? I like Atrios’ old suggestion – whenever a reporter gets lied to by a confidential source, he should immediately out the source by name and position, and publish a complete account of what the source said.

  24. Which is more likely:

    That this incident never happened, despite there being literally dozens of independent accounts (including from US government personnel) describing the use of religious and ethnic harassment by American interrogators at Guantanamo and other military prisons? (See, e.g., http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25962-2004Dec25.html , describing FBI reports on prisoner abuse)

    OR

    That this incident did happen but the administration is strong-arming Newsweek into denying it? (The same way Condoleeza Rice was sent to lean on the American media to not run unedited bin Laden footage: http://www.newhumanist.com/guidance.html )

  25. Great, now there’s a user named “SR” in addition to the user named “SPD.” I may need to go back to “Semolina Pilchard.”

    Joe: Yeah, let’s not turn this into a WMD thing. I’ll just close by saying that if the New Republic sought war because of WMD, then soul-searching is indeed now appropriate. WMD were not the reason I supported the war, however, and I’m not soul-searching.

  26. SP –

    “At any rate, as has been said a gazillion times already: Weapons or no weapons, the WMD thing was never the primary reason that we — via our elected representatives — chose to invade Iraq. It was merely one in a whole bunch of supporting motivations. Its “importance” has risen only after the fact, as the anti-war left has singled it out and pushed it through the historical revisionism machine.”

    This from Editor and Publisher, via DailyKos:

    “In case anyone is buying the administration’s line that we went to war in Iraq over “freedom” or “democracy”.
    I went back and studied the president’s address to the nation on March 17, 2003, in which he famously gave Saddam 48 hours to get out of Dodge City, or else.
    Doing this, I half-expected to find that Bush’s defenders would be proven correct. In my memory, just before the war, the White House did indeed begin to de-emphasize the WMD and mushroom cloud imagery, after United Nations’ inspectors in Iraq failed to find anything. Alas, this was not the case at all.

    Bush’s key March 17 address, in printed form (available at http://www.whitehouse.gov), runs 27 paragraphs. For those keeping score at home, exactly 18 of those paragraphs mention or emphasize the WMD threat. Five raise the “freedom” issue.

    And the WMD warnings receive much higher priority; Bush does not “bury the lead.” The first four paragraphs discuss nothing but WMDs, in 10 separate sentences. Only after that, in one short paragraph, does Bush mention that Saddam’s regime “has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East” and has “deep hatred” of America. He then linked Saddam to al-Qaeda, another charge now widely discredited.

    Then it was back to WMDs for eight more paragraphs, before mentioning a “new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”

    Historical revisionism from the left?

    I myself never bought the justifications for invading because all this info seemed to surface at precisely the time when the administration wanted to launch an invasion. A bit too convenient.

  27. Mark, I recall the continuous debates I heard, read and engaged in during the pre-war buildup — arguments both online and real-world. I can say with complete certainty that the WMD stuff rarely made an appearance during these encounters. On either side of the argument.

    I know that’s just personal anecdotal evidence. But looking back, it’s enough for me to feel assured that WMD were not the driving force on either side of the war issue.

  28. Do monkeys believe in a Supreme Being?

    “There is no God but Bongo…”

  29. U.S. interrogators in Gitmo flushing pages from the Koran down the toilet is…well, maybe not so true

    I remember when I tried to flush Tom Riddle’s diary down the toilet during my first year at Hogwart’s. That didn’t work to well either.

  30. Isn’t the outrage on the right a little overdone here? People are just way too excited to jump all over the MSM at any opportunity. Isikoff was told this story by a high level government official who still hasn’t backed down. Similar stories have been floating around the international press for over a year. That, combined with what we already know happened at Abu Ghraib, doesn’t make this story seem far-fetched in any way so why would Isikoff think to quadruple check it? This is a story Isikoff knows is true, he was just looking for someone to go on the record, and someone did. And let’s assume it is actually true – so what? Why should we tip-toe around suspected terrorists religious beliefs? Our culture has become far too sensitive to “religious beliefs” as it is. We should defend freedom-of-worship to the death, but I should also be free to peacefully mock your religion if I so choose. And really, what kind of God is so petty and small that he would be outraged by someone flushing his word down the toilet? I would think an omnipotent God can pretty well take his own revenge on the blasphemers, he shouldn’t need outside help.
    Finally – the argument that “Isikoff lied, people died.” Well, should Newsweek be blamed if people are stupid enough to riot over this? This article was hardly the precipitating factor – since everyone in Pakistan already “knows” the US hates Muslims it’s hard to imagine they could really be shocked by this story. These are people simply looking for an excuse to riot.

    All that being said – Newsweek really is a pathetic excuse for a magazine.

  31. SP,

    “But looking back, it’s enough for me to feel assured that WMD were not the driving force on either side of the war issue.”

    From my perspective, the case for an Iraqi WMD was so obviously faked that I never believed it to be the genuine motivation for the Bushies’ actions. The fact that all of the people making the most noise about the horrible, immediate WMD threat (administration officials, and their toadies in the press) just happened to be signatories to the PNAC letter urging an Iraq War in the name of spreading American hegemony established in my mind what their genuine motivation was.

    Nonetheless, the WMD threat was the public cassus belli, the justification for the war that they presented to the public, and to the world. They looked us in the eye and told us we had to sacrifice the lives of our troops, and the lives of many, many Iraqi civilians and conscripts, or we would end up with a mushroom cloud over an American city.

  32. Vanya,

    “We should defend freedom-of-worship to the death, but I should also be free to peacefully mock your religion if I so choose.”

    Does holding someone captive at gunpoint while you engage in your mockery really count as “peaceful?” How about if you slap them around a little bit, or threaten to set military dogs on them?

  33. SP –

    For the record, I don’t think WMD were the real reason, but I think the post I quoted seems to back up that they were the main ostensible reason.

    I think the real reason, as stated clearly by the PNAC for years, was to democratize the region, not out of altruism so much as for strategic geopolitical reasons. However, it’s one thing to have good intentions and another to have the competence to bring them about.

  34. First, nice job trying to paint me as a SH supporter, but you’re wrong. But that is the fallback position of those who can’t support their arguments – the ad hominem.

    Second, there is irrefutable proof that much of the ‘evidence’ used to support statements such as “mushroom clouds” was based upon false intelligence, whose accuracy was ALREADY questionable when the statements were made (think about yellow cake and the whole genesis of the Plame affair, then take a look at the memo leaked by the British government).

    Third, you’re using the opinion of slick willie to validate your position? The man who perjured himself? Shew – maybe you want to cite to OJ, next. You know, he’s still looking for the real killer, and all.

    Fourth, trying to keep this on topic – before we all go off the deep end slamming Newsweek (who does deserve criticism), let’s keep it in perspective. Did they lie? Only if you buy the argument that W’s administration lied about SH’s WMD programs (which, BTW, I believe he had stockpiles that got ‘lost’ in the invasion, just like I feared they would).

    The problem is Newsweek relied on bad info. Just like W. So what level of criticism is appropriate for both of them? Some, none, or alot?

    I stick with “some”, in both cases.

  35. Actually, as it turns out, the “retraction” is based on the fact that that source says his information came from another document, not necessarily the Southern Commend review he attributed it to. There are also other reports of this practice dating back to 2003, from detainees’ families and US personnel. Cripes, every single time I find myself giving the benefit of the doubt to right wingers, I end up getting burned.

    Not that expect this to dissuade the “faith based” from waging this particular mini-crusade against the evil media. I just wanted announce that I officially off this bandwagon.

  36. There are also other reports of this practice dating back to 2003, from detainees’ families and US personnel.

    What US personnel have made the claim? I’ve been looking for that for hours. I know former detainees have said similar things for a long time.

  37. And of course had bloggers done this, they’d be calling for restrictions on blogging. I just love it when people try to convince me that the news media is so essential to the “functioning of democracy” when in fact our news media is probably the biggest deterrent to a health democratic process in the US. Who can honestly say that they really believe much that the media reports that isn’t slighlty more opinionated than “he said, she said” anymore?

  38. This is ridiculous. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, SP still doesn’t believe that WMD’s were the primary justification for war. Here’s the link to the above article quoted by Mark. Read and see for yourself what you think.

    Dear leader himself quite obviously makes WMDs the primary justification for the war.

    As for the Newsweek issue, no new information came to light based on thier article and the informant DID NOT back down. He merely said that he can’t remember which report he saw the information in.

    Did the right win a game of chicken?

    And from Libertarian Arthur Silber on the Right’s Crusade Against the Truth

  39. phocion,

    The FBI interrogators/whistleblowers who complained last year cite numerous similar events but, to be fair, did not specifically mention Koran flushing. My bad.

  40. Vanya, good points.

    There’s a touch of faux-righteousness surrounding this whole brouhaha. (And not just the standard blogger hubris about the mainstream press. I mean, Glenn Reynolds is over there now menacingly intoning, “I don’t want to hear another word about the superior ‘responsibility’ of Big Media. Not one more word.” What a joke that guy has become, with his increasing myopia on the subject of blogs-vs-pro-journalism.)

    I’m talking about those who, on the one hand, constantly decry the knee-jerk savagery of Islam — but who are now “outraged” and “saddened” that a bunch of Muslims were forced to riot and die because of this. It’s an odd formulation, created to serve one purpose: to build another case against the “MSM.”

    Seems there are a few truisms getting overlooked by some folks:

    1. Humans who form violent mobs to protest a book’s desecration are stupid.

    2. Newsweek had no reason to presume that stupid humans would form violent mobs. Even if it did, it’s not Newsweek’s responsibility to withhold information just because stupid humans might form violent mobs.

    3. We don’t know the chain of reporting work that led to the item’s publication. Perhaps the source had a golden credibility record. Perhaps the source was Donald Rumsfeld. Perhaps the source was the flusher himself, now disclosing his actions.

    We don’t know. But somewhere in all this, it may be possible to chalk up Newsweek as simply a messenger, and not shoot it. If Korans were not flushed down any toilets, the source either lied or was mistaken, and he deserves the bulk of wrath.

    4. Until we know exactly what transpired, we can’t lob accusations of “bad journalism” against Newsweek. There’s a whole heap of premature judgments getting spouted about. Which leads to…

    5. A bunch of people might end up looking really goofy if evidence turns up proving that Korans were indeed flushed down toilets at Guantanamo Bay.

  41. And as for “Newsweek lied, people died”…

    As stated above, they didn’t lie at all. The desecration most likely did occur as it has been corroborated by multiple sources, see the links above. How would Christians feel if this was done to a Bible. And which is worse, the fact that it was done, or the reporting of it?

    And how about “Dear leader lied, people died” anyways… about 1600 Americans and over 100,000 Iraqis so far. Get some fucking perpective people.

  42. When Isikoff credulously passed along Ken Starr’s sensationalistic bullshit, the conservatives loved him. Ideological fanatics can be so fickle.

  43. “which is worse, the fact that it was done, or the reporting of it?”

    Since neither is bad, it’s difficult to say which is “worse.”

    And, dude… your “dear leader” locution, just like other such slurs (see: “Demoncrats,” “Hitlery Clinton,” “Chimpy”), is bound to make people take your arguments less seriously. It’s a poor rhetorical device. Many readers instinctively skip past writers who use those sorts of slurs. The slurs serve as reliable signals that the accompanying argument is likely based in emotion, not in critical thinking.

  44. Ah the defenders of the terrorists appear once again as predictable as a spring rain.

    “newsweek could not have known that insulting the koran would cause trouble?” yeah right; who has not seen/listened to the various fates of artists who dare write/paint/film something critial of Isam?

    How quickly the defense is made that Bush did it worse thus newsweek is justified….

    If a newpaper prints events/actions that are not sourced for sure but they ‘feel’ ‘reflect’ the’truth’ about a racial incident (since racism exists in the US) that causes riots/deaths; no doubt the libbies would be claiming the protesters were “stupid” that there was no way the reporters could have known, it was Bush’s fault anyway for being so evil, the whities would have acted just the same if the stories were reversedc, we don’t know yet for sure so its ok to print it, Bush killed more people with his refusal save the environment so these deaths are trival, etc. etc.

    Bah. Newspaper reports a damning event that it is not even sure took place but it makes the US military look horrid, that event is now used for the terrorists gain, people were killed as a direct result, and now the lefties say it is all justified ’cause it confirms pre-held beliefs that Bush is evil and so is the military/USA.

    The media is turning ever more to the terrorists side and those that support the media are just so many useful fools.

    dddd

  45. Newsweek‘s decision to print this story without any secondary confirmation or fact-checking was stupid, irresponsible, and demolishes the credibility not only of itself but any other journalist or researcher trying to uncover the truth about what’s happening at Gitmo, Abu Guarib or other detention facilities. This may mark the end of Newsweek as a “serious” publication, after a sustained decline evidenced by their glossy cover-story reviews of any movie or theatrical production financed by their parent corporation.

    The right-wing websites are already in full cry, and we’re seeing the usual polls trotted out about people’s beliefs in Big Media “bias” and “unaccountability.” Glenn Reynolds is already trotting out his laundry list of links, most of them as crappy and unaccountable as anything produced by the MSM, but given new life by Newsweek‘s irresponsibility.

    I have to agree with joe on the publically-presented rationale for the Iraq War – WMD was the principal argument used by the Adminstration in support of an immediate invasion. Powell’s presentation to the UN, the playing up of the expulsion of the weapons inspectors, Bush’s addresses to the nation – all made a point of emphasizing the strategic threat Saddam posed, directly to his neighbors (i.e. Israel and Saudi Arabia) and indirectly to the US. The same held true in the UK, as witness the flap over the notorious “45 minutes” claim in Blair’s address. OTOH, I don’t think that the Administration deliberately lied – much like Mr. Bolton, they tended to listen to the people who told them what they wanted to hear, and at that point, they’d made up their minds to eliminate Saddam once and for all. The underlying strategy was always to create a democratic, pro-Western government in Iraq (one with lots of cheap oil and land for permanent US bases), but the WMD issue was the quick way to create broadbased support for the war.

    I didn’t detect a lot of “anti-American” reporting in 2003. The embedded reporters and war coverage on both the major and cable networks presented a glowing picture of American military prowess, with just the right number of brief delays and setbacks to make the eventual fall of Baghdad all the more dramatic. The inital months of the insurgency seemed to be no big deal, either – stories focused on bringing relief aid to Baghdad, rebuilding Umm Quasir, etc. It wasn’t until the insurgency began to build in late 2003 and early ’04 and it became clear just how poorly the Administration had planned its post-war and occupation strategy that the skeptical-to-hostile tone began to appear.

  46. “Who can honestly say that they really believe much that the media reports that isn’t slighlty more opinionated than “he said, she said” anymore?”

    you say this like it’s a bad thing.

    in all seriousness, the sunny side of the darkened cloud in this case is that the realization is out in the open and “common knowledge.” people are going to find what they want to in the first place. (i.e. the back and forth on the WMD thing)

  47. Mark: “I think the real reason, as stated clearly by the PNAC for years, was to democratize the region, not out of altruism so much as for strategic geopolitical reasons.”

    Right, that’s why I’m willing to cut Bush a lot of slack on this topic. He can’t exactly go on TV and announce that our goal is to eliminate Islamic fundamentalism as a viable worldview.

  48. BTW, Matt, “another expose of whether Jesus wore socks or whether the dinosaurs had cholesterol” hits the bullseye.

  49. googled Michael Isikoff and Isikoff. Here’s what I got (although this will certainly change very soon).

    The lead story is

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5335853/site/newsweek/

    ‘More Distortions From Michael Moore’

    criticizing Moore for F911.

    I also got a few bios.

    Then I got a story from Moore firing back at Isikoff.

    I also got a review from Isikoff of Blumenthal’s book in Slate. Isikoff lambast’s Blumenthal

    ‘Sid Blumenthal rearranges facts and besmirches the character of his fellow journalists.’

    The book, of course, sought to defend Clinton.

    I also got an article describing how he took his story on the Lewinsky scandal from the Wash. Post (which refused to print it) to Newsweek, which broke it.

    I also got several articles by left wingers viciously attacking him for his role in breaking the Lewinsky scandal, even referring to him as Starr’s stooge.

    Now I did get one article from a left-winger
    http://www.kafka.com/politics/2005/01/michael-isikoff-on-death-squads.php

    which itself linked to a Newsweek article about Special forces squads in Iraq. However, Isikoff did not write the original story and is not credited anywhere in the story so the link attributing this to him is incorrect.

    So we have here someone who uncovered very damaging stories about the Clinton administration. It would indeed be hard to classify someone like this as a left-winger, but that isn’t going to stop Instahack.

    I think the original article was poorly sourced, but it was just one line in a 10 line item. My guess is that Newsweek (and the Pentagon) did not realize how inflammatory the story could be, or they would have researched it more (or denied it). The real blame should go to Pakistani and Afghani demagogues.

  50. As far as the George Washington story goes, newsweek did not retract the story until late yesterday. There probably wasn’t time to pull the main headline, which was already at the printer. Look for the next issue to do it.

  51. I didn’t see anything about the Newsweek item being untrue. It caused a shitstorm, and now the Pentagon sources behind the leak are in trouble, and the White House needs a new “Rathergate” … and oh my god the Saudis are angry, so who cares if the story hasn’t been retracted and the desecration of Korans at Gitmo as an interrogation tactic has been reported again and again for years.

    Come on Nick, don’t be such a sucker.

    Besides, the riots in Afghanistan started a week *before* the Newsweek item was published. The riots started because civilians keep getting killed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. And it’s funny that last week’s deadly riots — when U.S. troops opened fire on crowds in Jalalabad.

    And isn’t it a little odd that Abu Ghraib didn’t cause this kind of violent outrage throughout the Muslim world?

  52. whoops, something disappeared there. Should be:

    “And it’s funny that last week’s deadly riots — when U.S. troops opened fire on crowds in Jalalabad — didn’t warrant front-page top-blog coverage until there was a journalistic scapegoat provided.”

  53. I didn’t see anything about the Newsweek item being untrue.

    You mean, other than it being impossible as reported, and not supported any more by even the single anonymous source relied on?

    I mean, c’mon, Ken, you can’t even flush a Newsweek down a toilet, much less a whole Koran. As reported, this is so inherently implausible that you’d think it would override even the “too good to check” reflex.

    And don’t start with the “fake but accurate” line, either. Other reports of Korans being desecrated don’t somehow change this particular pile of steaming BS into something more fragrant.

    And isn’t it a little odd that Abu Ghraib didn’t cause this kind of violent outrage throughout the Muslim world?

    Yeah, I think its a little odd that some Muslims get totally torqued when a book gets slapped around, but couldn’t care less when a person does. Says something (unpleasant) about religious extremism, IMO. I’m not sure what your point is, though.

  54. While I don’t have enough information to decide if the story has any basis in fact, I’m not too worried about how this incident is perceived in the Muslim world.

    After all, most of the Muslim world does not believe Arabs were involved in 9/11. I’m not sure a Powerline piece on the story would sway them.

    While working in India, I was told of the sectarian violence, ” if told of a rumor of another faith’s transgressions, they would kill 100 solely on the basis of the rumor, and another 100 when the rumor was confirmed.”

    I still think this is mild compared to what would happen if those other pics from Abu Ghraib were released.

  55. I’m sure the mob would have found some excuse to raise hell and kill people. The tragedy is the ammunition it gives to the moronic Bushbot commentators and their knuckle-dragging following.

  56. Well, “impossible as reported” might be exaggerating a little bit, itself.

    Get two hours of sleep per night for a week. Then, after having dogs bark at you from several inches away after sitting in extremely uncomfortable positions for a while. Then watch, while still sitting in that uncomfortable position, an interragator drop a Koran in a toilet and then push ‘flush’.

    Does it really require that the book fit down the pipe? Or does it only require that the prisoner perceive it to have been? Or even that it was dropped in a toilet that the prisoner uses for waste dispoal purposes and then ‘flushed’ – does the value of the act REALLY depend on whether the book actually went down the pipes?

    All in all, I could care less – if that was the worst they were doing down there, I’d be okay with it (not supporting it, but it would be low down on the list of problems with our current government). But let’s not obscure the allegations with hyper-technical readings and figuring out whether the allegation, as worded in a short story, is technically possible.

  57. joe: I knew there was no real threat from Iraqi WMDs, and that the administration was full of crap. Tens of millions of Americans shared by accurate perception. Maybe the most relevant question you should be asking is, why were you fooled, when so many others were not?

    joe, what you know is that you don’t like Republicans. You would have sucked Bill Clinton’
    s dick when he was bombing the hell out of Iraq, or when he bombed the Serbs.

  58. DM —

    “And how about “Dear leader lied, people died” anyways… about 1600 Americans and over 100,000 Iraqis so far. Get some fucking perpective people.”

    Where do you get your figures? 100,000? You sure about that?

  59. Ok, we all know Newsweek sucks and they should’ve been more professional and thorough on this.

    As far as mocking someone’s religious beliefs – I can live with that. Now if it’s used in conjunction with electrodes to the testicles, breaking fingers, or slapping that person around with his own “holy book” about a vengeful, imaginary sky-being, well, I’m 100% against torture. But those are 2 different animals, are they not?

  60. Um… about the physical possibility of flushing the Koran… If someone was going to do it, I think he would most likely rip out pages and flushed them in manageable wads, not try to wedge a whole 2000 pages in at once.

  61. Jim–

    “The tragedy is the ammunition it gives to the moronic Bushbot commentators and their knuckle-dragging following.”

    Yes. Indeed. That is the tradgedy. Now individuals holding a politically differing opinion have some talking points. What a tradgedy.

    Forget that people died. Who cares? Forget the loss of credibility by a major news source. Who cares? The real tradgedy here is that poor Jim will have to listen to those with whom he disagrees harp on a legitimate point.

  62. a,

    Sounds like the discredited Lancet figure.

  63. phocion —

    That’s what I figured. Just wanted to hear him say it.

  64. God made man. And then God dictated a book to man. In one of the chapters God says “I am going to creat Americans, and they are going to flush this book down a toilet. (this book will be published in small versions, so that is not quite as big a feat as it seems). And when those Americans that I made flush the book down the toilet. I want you all to get mad, and destroy some of your property and lose some lives”

    And so it was.

  65. Obviously, a Koran wouldn’t fit down most toilets. Stratfor had a good take on this, pointing out some other problems with the story:

    “The problem began because Newsweek did not apply common sense to the story. The purpose of officials at Guantanamo Bay is to make prisoners talk. How would desecrating the Koran help induce prisoners to talk? Why would a devout Muslim prisoner, having seen the Koran flushed down a toilet, turn and say, “Well, that convinces me. I’ll talk.”? If anything, desecrating the Koran would stiffen the resolve of believers. There are two ways to induce a
    prisoner to talk: One is coercion — applying physical or psychological pressure that weakens him; the other is befriending him — showing him that you are his friend and ally. Desecrating the Koran is not going to weaken anyone’s resolve to resist, nor will it make you his friend. It’s just stupid.

    It is not that people don’t do stupid things. The abuses at Abu Ghraib proved that. But common sense should have put huge warning flags on the
    rumors — they just didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Moreover, anyone with any sophisticated knowledge about the region would know that the story was explosive — and likely to cause chaos.

    Sexual humiliation, coupled with photographs that might be sent to family members, potentially might make sense as an interrogation technique. It is not likely, but it is not absurd. Getting a religious fanatic to talk by
    desecrating his holy book does not pass the basic common sense test. Newsweek suspended common sense for a reliable source. No one seems to have asked a simple question: Does this make any sense at all?”

  66. One thing this story has taught me is that artists who try to shock people by desecrating Jesus, Mary, or the Bible are all failures. If they want to cause a real shitstorm, they oughta have the stones to show some menstruating fat lady squatting on the Koran and chuckin’ in into a vat of pig lard.

    Just as long as they tell me their plans before my death pool’s entry submission deadline.

  67. The whole “it doesn’t fit in the toilet!” argument is weak. Maybe they threw it in a latrine. Maybe they put it in the toilet and flushed, but it didn’t go down. I’ve now seen about a billion different versions of this event, including at least one that says a detainee was putting Koran pages down the toilet. Basically, I doubt we’ll ever know the real story. Won’t stop right-wingers from denying the possibility, and it won’t stop the Muslim world from believing that the Koran is flushed every day as part of the official daily Gitmo tortures.

  68. If I was ever captured by an enemy*,

    And they came at me with pliers I’d be scarred. If they pulled out my nails that would suck. But if they desacrated a book holy to me, I would think to myself. “Cool, y’all get some of God’s wrath”.

    Of course they are not me. And they have their own cultural way of responding to stuff. But really, fuck them. For years I have seen tv footage of them burning the American flag. That is sacred to me, bitches. Why is that OK? You didn’t see me rioting.

    *(and it is unlikely that I’ll be captured, they might kill me as I fight with my last breath, but not capture me, as I’v seen what they do with the people they capture. If it comes to that situation, I aim to go down kicking and screaming, I am going to try to destroy my wrist watch too, so none of them can take it from my dead body and enjoy it.)

  69. a,

    From the International Herald Tribune:

    Study puts civilian toll in Iraq at over 100,000

    And I apologize for my “dear leader” references. SP is correct that this in not constructive. From now on, I will refer to our president as GWB.

  70. Ahhh… the study was discredited. My bad. Just going from memory there. Well, we’ll just stick with what the Iraq Body Count webpage says then, eh?

    Please revise the above to “1600 American deaths and 21000-24000 Iraqi civilians”.

    Does the revised number make it less important? No, but if it makes you feel better about yourself because I had a death total wrong, they bravo I say. Bravo.

  71. RC Dean, haven’t you ever seen those little pocket Bibles? They fit into a shirt pocket. One of those could go down a toilet no problem.

    Don, I understand both your discomfort, your determination not to discuss the substance of the issue, and your desire to attack me ad hominem.

  72. There is little doubt that Iraqi Army conscripts died by the tens of thousands, as well.

  73. And isn’t it a little odd that Abu Ghraib didn’t cause this kind of violent outrage throughout the Muslim world?

    &

    Yeah, I think its a little odd that some Muslims get totally torqued when a book gets slapped around, but couldn’t care less when a person does. Says something (unpleasant) about religious extremism, IMO.

    Interesting quote pertaining to this point from here:

    Given all that has been reported about the treatment of detainees — including allegations that a female interrogator pretended to wipe her own menstrual blood on one prisoner — the reports of Qur’an desecration seemed shocking but not incredible. But to Muslims, defacing the Holy Book is especially heinous. “We can understand torturing prisoners, no matter how repulsive,” says computer teacher Muhammad Archad, interviewed last week by NEWSWEEK in Peshawar, Pakistan, where one of last week’s protests took place. “But insulting the Qur’an is like deliberately torturing all Muslims. This we cannot tolerate.”

  74. the joe-o-meter,

    If the administration says first sight of the sun in the AM will be in the East they are lying.

    If all the American politicians say look to the east for the sun in the AM they are administration dupes.

    If the politicians of foreign governments say east in the AM they have been bribed.

    BTW joe is never wrong.

    OTOK joe is making a grevious error in the spelling of his name. He left the “k” out.

  75. M. Simon,

    I was right.

    You were wrong.

    Ha ha.

  76. Well done M.Simon. Lose the argument, attack the messenger.

    You pass “Discussion like a Republican 101”.

  77. phocion,

    I believe the Koran was printed on ice and they just waited for the ice to melt and then flushed it.

    Of course we will never know for sure.

    But it coulda happened.

    The real truth is that it was carved into dry ice and evaporated. Thus putting the koran in contact with every latrine and land fill in the world.

    Of course it is much worse than that. The koran was printed on fried pork rinds and the prisoners were forced to eat them. My inside source “porky” swears it is true. He will swear on Korans, Bibles, DOD budget documents, or “Atlas Shrugged”, depending on your personal needs.

  78. “Does the revised number make it less important? No, but if it makes you feel better about yourself because I had a death total wrong, they bravo I say. Bravo.”

    contrast with…..

    “Well done M.Simon. Lose the argument, attack the messenger.

    You pass “Discussion like a Republican 101″.”

    Pot calling the kettle black, there, DM? When it’s discovered that you are making stuff up, is your method then to attack the one who pointed that out with snide comments such as “but if it makes you feel better about yourself….”? Did M.Simon learn his method from you?

    Anyhow, now that you’ve got your facts straight, would you care to explain how exactly that relates to newsweeks irresponsibility? Are you honestly trying to tell us that Newsweek’s lie wasn’t so bad, as the body count resulting from the eviiilll rebuplican’s lies is so much higher?

  79. The point is that muslims take their toilet habits seriously and attempting to flush a book down the drain is bad form. The riots are an obvious consequence of such folly.

  80. Context, a, context.

  81. I have as much proof for my assertion as joe (missing k) does for his.

    More in fact.

    I have Bush, Clinton, US Senators, leaders of France, and GB all saying that Saddam had WMDs.

    I can understand why all the rest might lie to me but the French? Say it isn’t so.

    In any case Saddam no longer has a country. I think that is an improvement in the world situation. Of course I can understand why you might be of a different opinion.

  82. Objection, a is assuming facts not in evidence. The statement that the Koran flushing story has not been shown to be a lie. Numerous other sources have reported it, and the source for the Newsweek story stands by his statement, revising it only to change the name of the document in which he first saw it.

  83. joe —

    O.k. then. “Newsweek may have been wrong, but they didn’t lie, Bush, on the other hand lied.”

    Is that about right?

  84. “I have Bush, Clinton, US Senators, leaders of France, and GB all saying that Saddam had WMDs.”

    As good a reason as any why you should be skeptical of statements made by political leaders, rather than take them at face value when doing so suits your agenda. Are you familiar with the Mr. Pink “Thai Stick” monologue in “Reservoir Dogs?”

    Here’s a hint that might prove useful the next tiem you buy a used car – if a guy looks you straight in the eye when he makes a statement, but then looks away, changes the subject, and starts calling you names when you ask follow up questions, he’s lying to you.

  85. One really has to start wondering how much freedom of press there remains in the US, when the Pentagon and White House would rather scold a newspaper than explain to the world that Americans are free to do such things.

    If flushing a holy book is the only thing remotely objectionable at gitmo, I’d say we’re good pretty good. Most tales lead one to think otherwise.

    Will I now get arrested if I burn a Koran? How about a Bible?

  86. a, the jury’s still out on whether Newsweek even got the facts wrong. What’s known so far is that they reported that their source cited one document, then said it was a different document.

    Had George Bush said, “I saw photos of the WMDs that Condi took on vacation,” then said, “Oops, I meant, that Rumsfeld took on vacation,” we’d have a valid analogy.

  87. Well, we’d have a valid analogy if there had actually been WMDs in Iraq at the time of the invasion.

  88. That should be DOING pretty good.

  89. kmw, lots of things that you are free to do are bad policy when carried out by agents of the government.

  90. “Had George Bush said, “I saw photos of the WMDs that Condi took on vacation,” then said, “Oops, I meant, that Rumsfeld took on vacation,” we’d have a valid analogy.”

    If that is what it takes to have a valid analogy between the two events, then why is DM bringing it up at all? Remember, I didn’t…..

    “Well, we’d have a valid analogy if there had actually been WMDs in Iraq at the time of the invasion.”

    Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence. lol. Wouldn’t that only be true if in fact the newsweek source was accurate? Yet, by your own admission….

    “the jury’s still out on whether Newsweek even got the facts wrong.”

  91. Another funny…..

    “As good a reason as any why you should be skeptical of statements made by political leaders [newsweek], rather than take them at face value when doing so suits your agenda.”

  92. In fact, the corroboration of the flushed Koran story continues to pile in. So yes, that fact is in evidence.

  93. Wow, 90+ posts on whether a Koran was flushed down a toilet.

    Yes, I realize how many people are deeply offended by it, but, honestly, it sounds like far worse things have been happening during the “frat hazing rituals” at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

    In a few weeks (days?) we’ll look back on the brouhaha over this story and most of us will realize that it was about as significant as John Kerry’s holiday in Cambodia.

  94. “In fact, the corroboration of the flushed Koran story continues to pile in.”

    [sarcasm]If you say it, it must be so. Color me convinced.[/sarcasm]

  95. I went into Cambodia before I left it.

  96. “[sarcasm]If you say it, it must be so. Color me convinced.[/sarcasm]”

    How about the sources on these four different stories?

    http://dailykos.com/story/2005/5/15/211444/985

  97. thoreau,

    While the miniscule details of tangential stories that the political right picks on to try to silence their enemies are, indeed, beneath notice, their strategy of using this technique to try to cow the media is a pretty big deal.

  98. “How about the sources on these four different stories?”

    What you mean is, One source, repeating the same story, 4 different times. In case you didn’t check, the “4 sources” you are leaning on all link to the same document, and, in at least 2 of those cases, are repeating the claims of a single man, Asif Iqbal.

    But of course, I can play that game too….

    http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-05-16-voa21.cfm

    There ya go. A link refuting what you just provided. Of course, I wonder if ….

    “… you should be skeptical of statements made by political leaders [former gitmo detainees], rather than take them at face value when doing so suits your agenda.””

  99. Joe sez:

    …their strategy of using this technique to try to cow the media is a pretty big deal.

    It sounds like we completely agree with one another. So what does this mean:

    kmw, lots of things that you are free to do are bad policy when carried out by agents of the government.

    My point was that, if the government is sticking their fingers in private news reporting, how much longer till they “cow” individual citizens. Slippery slop kind of thing. Do you not wonder that as well?

  100. “While the miniscule details of tangential stories that the political right picks on to try to silence their enemies are, indeed, beneath notice, their strategy of using this technique to try to cow the media is a pretty big deal.”

    LOL. you crack me up.

  101. In other news regarding links to “evidence” of anything on the internet… I have a number of links that tell me that the Holocaust never happened, the new pope is from a distant galaxy, and Donald Trump’s hair is real.
    In most cases that involve places and people that are not only far away but inaccessible to the public, bloggers’ opinions (unless the blogger is actually in the place being discusses) can only be described as “huge blind ideological clusterfucks.” At least at this site, it seems that if one’s biases are offended by facts, they are able to accept facts. For most people, anyways…

  102. Can we get back to more significant stories? Like Valerie Plame and whether John Kerry earned his medals?

  103. Randolph,

    I don’t believe Human Rights Watch is any less credible for being quoted on a blog.

  104. As I said, there are exceptions, such as groups or individuals that are actually in the places or events that are being described. I think Human Rights Watch falls under that category. However, people (myself included) like statistics that confirm their biases. There are so many super-partisan websites that link to third-party opinion pieces right now (anything posted on a site with a name like ihatebush.com or supportourtroops.com) that it’s hard to separate out what is legitimate, informed opinion and what is a collage of misinformation from other sources.
    I guess I’m really thinking of the whole simulacra aspect of politics today, especially the Iraq war and conditions in Guanatnamo. We all have a picture in our minds that’s a copy without an original, excepting those who have actually been to those places.
    My picture of Iraq involves a lot of sand, insurrection, and troops that are following orders and not sure where they’re going. Someone else’s picture might involve an undifferentiated horde of savages and the bright shining American Army bringing order to chaos.
    I’ve just been really bothered recently by the fact that you can’t trust what you hear and see. Pictures and video are doctored, statistics are generally lies, and I have no idea who’s credible. I guess I should become a journalist…

  105. This whole thing is very similar to the reality based community wanting to believe that the Rather documents were real.

    In many places in Latin America you cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet. We’re supposed to believe you can flush a book down a toilet?

    American toilet pipes are only like 4″ wide, so you’d need a book that’s a bit thinner than that to have any hope of going down a pipe, and even thinner not to get stuck in a turn.

  106. “This whole thing is very similar to the reality based community wanting to believe that the Rather documents were real.”

    It is indeed. In both cases, the basic facts presented in the stories have been documented numerous times in other places (though moreso with the president’s hanky panky while in the National Guard), and the right is trying to use the discrediting of a source to argue that the entire story is untrue.

  107. Won’t somebody pay attention to me?

  108. Yes, the reality based community is built upon lies.

    Can creationists join your community too? They seem to have the same issues with evidence of their claims. But they both *know* they’re right.

  109. I don’t know, Ammonium, do creationists have reputable sources and evidence to back up their claims?

  110. creationists have reputable sources and evidence to back up their claims?

    A few weeks ago Stevo pointed us to this:

    http://www.creationevidence.org/cemframes.html?http%3A//www.creationevidence.org/museum_tour/finger/finger.html

    The creationists claim that it’s a fossilized human finger from Cretaceous rocks. But I think they’ve got it wrong. It’s obviously a loaf of french bread! Proving that there were humans around in the Cretaceous to bake bread, as well as wheat, which the “scientists” insist didn’t “evolve” until after the Cretaceous.

    Clearly Darwinism is built on a house of cards!

    😉

  111. “do creationists have reputable sources and evidence to back up their claims?”

    dunno. But, I’d like to ask, joe, do you?

    ” In both cases, the basic facts presented in the stories have been documented numerous times in other places”

    I would guess, from the context, that you are claiming that the basic facts, that a koran was flushed down the toilet, is documented “numerous times.” Where exactly is this “numerous” documentation?

  112. Thoreau,

    I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at that link you posted.

    I want to laugh, because it’s so stupid it’s funny. Cry, because there are probably quite a few people in the world who think they’re looking at some smoking gun evidence.

  113. Who thinks the Gitmo prisoners have flush toilets in their cells???? The poor fuckers don’t have walls. Other accounts refer to a bucket, which was used as a toilet, which sounds more likely. I doubt the detainees’ hotboxes are equipped with a big white American Standard.

    All that being said, does anyone really doubt that this happen? If so, why? Because is is so far beyond the pale? Electrodes to a prisoners balls while a femal soldier sodomizes him with a broom handle– well sure. But throw a Quran in a bucket of piss???? NEVER!

    And, I suppose it will be lost on everyone that this tidbit did not, in fact, “cause” the riots at all. But whatever. As long as the liberal– albeit Clinton bashing– Newsweek whores get their come-uppance, that’s all that counts.

    Meanwhile, I think one of the TV magazine shows– 20/20 maybe?– is doing a special this week on “The Resurrection.” Did it happen? HOW did it happen? If it happened today, could you photograph it? Oooohhh. Can’t wait….

  114. joe,

    I was right, you were wrong.

    In the case of Iraqi WMDs, it appears so. But I also recall you being absolutely certain that the Rathergate memos were authentic.

    And if any possibly-true story that reflected negatively on Hilary came up, I’m sure I know what your opinion would be on that, too.

  115. More succinctly, joe’s opinions have far weaker correlations with rightness (or wrongness) than with Democrat wishful thinking.

  116. Wow. joe’s on a roll on this one. (No TP roll jokes, please!)

    Frankly, I don’t care if they flushed the Koran, wiped their posteriors with it, or used it to swat detainees on the nose… Who freaking cares?

    As for joe’s ability to pull up posts proving that he was right about WMD back in the day, well, uh, I think we’re still waiting.

    Kinda like I’m still waiting for that apology for mis-representing my arguments. But I believe he’ll have better luck providing links that show he was able to make the ideological leap that there would be no WMD’s (because it certainly wasn’t evidence-based) a lot easier than he can answer any of my requests.

    Maybe he’ll even be able to provide more than one guy saying that the Koran was desecrated… But then, I’m both willing to believe it occurred and couldn’t care less.

    But watching joe defend Newsweek and Dan Rather is actually quite enlightening to me. Obviously these are media organizations that know who their core audience is quite well. These are “news outlets” that realize their core audience won’t hold them accountable when their facts are wrong as long as the ideology behind the report is right – uh, make that left.

  117. Here we have 100+ posts and no Gunnels.

    Can you imagine how long this thread would already be if he were here?

    I miss Gary.

  118. Is there a “Bring Back Gary Gunnels” button we can send a $1 donation to? I bet Reason would make some decent cash off that! Besides, who here wouldn’t miss joe? I’d pay $1 to get him re-admitted if he were ever banned. Of course, it’s more likely to happen to me, All Things Considered…

  119. I don’t blame Newsweek for those deaths; I blame whacked out Muslim radicals for rampaging like a bunch of whacked out Muslim radicals. If Newsweek reported an uncertified story with certitude, they should apologize for it.

    The Schlesinger Report blames Donald Rumsfeld and Antonio Gonzales for disgracing the American people at Abu Gharib and so do I. Both of them should apologize for Abu Gharib.

    http://www.npr.org/documents/2004/abuse/schlesinger_report.pdf

  120. Meanwhile…in the Sudan…the jihadis are running boot camps for kids the age of 4, 5, 6 and up where they train them to chant hate slogans towards the US and Israel and to use AK47s. If you want to see for yourself, watch this recently smuggled video (13+ mins.) It’ll chill you to the bone!

    http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=17466

    Maybe WE should be rioting about this.

  121. Side bets welcome: How long will it take before some sagacious media critic blames the problem on the unhealthy marketplace competition that degrades the journalistic standards once upheld by even classified writers of the days of yore and/or the Internet?

    Some caller on Bill Bennet’s show this morning made your point. he said msm outlets might be under pressure to break a story because they are losing readers/viewers to blogs and alternative news outlets.

  122. Do you all get it– we are investigating whether U.S. soldiers trying to end terrorism abused a book. Yeah, Muslims think it is holy. But would we get our undies in a wad if terrorists pitched pages from the Gospel of John in the sewer, as opposed to, say, beheading people?

    “Koran abuse.”

    Look, even if the Newsweek story were true, WHO CARES?

  123. Let me add: Muslim nutjobs in the ME care. So why publish this story, even if true, when normal folks realize “abusing” books is an inane concept?

  124. “I would guess, from the context, that you are claiming that the basic facts, that a koran was flushed down the toilet, is documented “numerous times.” Where exactly is this “numerous” documentation?”

    You could start on the front page of today’s Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/globe

  125. “I also recall you being absolutely certain that the Rathergate memos were authentic.”

    You recall wrongly, then.

    rob, keep waiting patiently by your computer for that apology. It’s not as if doing so would interrupt an fascinating life.

    Mona, did you not notice the large, fatal riots breaking out across one of the countries we just liberated? There’s supposed to be an element of “hearts and minds” in this effort, you know.

  126. By the way, when did the belief that anti-American violence in the Muslim world was caused by the actions of the American military become so widespread among the right?

  127. joe: It is indeed. In both cases, the basic facts presented in the stories have been documented numerous times in other places (though moreso with the president’s hanky panky while in the National Guard), and the right is trying to use the discrediting of a source to argue that the entire story is untrue.

    Yeah, right. CBS happened to fall into the Bush/ Rowe trap, the one planted fake NG story. They missed all the true ones. They just picked up the fake one and impaled themselves on it. That must be it.

    And there is plenty of solid “Koran desecration” evidence, Newsweek just ran with the one story they couldn’t back up.

  128. By the way, when did the belief that anti-American violence in the Muslim world was caused by the actions of the American military become so widespread among the right?

    Actually, Muslim violence is caused by Muslim nutjobs.

    The real question is why so many in the Muslim world hate us, to the degree that they are willing to resort to violence. Personally, I think it is a failed culture that resents a powerful and succesful West. Never underestimate the power of envy. The root of all evil and all of that . . .

  129. “rob, keep waiting patiently by your computer for that apology. It’s not as if doing so would interrupt an fascinating life.” – joe

    Yeah, I guess you’re right, my life is a sad, small, pathetic thing. (Sorry, channeled Marvin the Android for a second there!) Even if my life weren’t fascinating, bascially your saying that no one should take exception to slimy tactics if you’re the one engaging in them.

    I know, I know… I should just consider the source, right?

    I mean, how much credence should be given to someone whose reasonable arguments are overwhelmed by the propensity to spew crap at people?

    I think it’s interesting that your response to everything I point out is to go for a personal attack that amounts to “get a life!” (Followed by evasive maneuvers that would do a fighter pilot proud…)

    I’ve started a joe playbook, I wonder if anyone recognizes these tactics?

    1. When shown to be wrong “bravely” run away!
    2. Ad hominem means personal attack, use it frequently.
    3. Avoid answering people’s actual arguments – especially if they make a point you can’t refute.
    4. Don’t bother refuting other people’s arguments, they don’t agree with you because they’re dumber than you are. See also #1-3.
    5. Anyone who posts in opposition to you, or points out your use of the above tactics can be handled by the previous 4 approaches.

    Bah… I keep telling myself that ignoring this stuff would be the best answer. The sad thing is, other than the crap you do that really irritates me, you’re a smart guy. Sometimes we even agree on things.

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