Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Retracting Newsweek's Retraction?

     Three weeks ago, in Who Started the Fire?, I asked (rhetorically) why the Bush administration attacks information rather than wrongdoing. Despite honestly thinking that Newsweek got it wrong when they reported Qu'ran abuses, I blasted the White House for being too defensive to take charges seriously. Now, as I'm sure you all well know, while the actual flushing of the Qu'ran was done by an inmate, American guards have been desecrating the Muslim holy book plenty, including urinating on one. Newsweek retracted the original story, not because it was fundamentally wrong, but because the government leak they relied upon came back and said, "Oops, my bad. I lied." Personally, I think protecting the identity of anonymous sources ends once they admit lying to you to discredit your organization. But maybe that's why I'm not a journalist and will never interview anyone more important than the cashier at Target when I'm ringing up my toilet paper and shampoo.
     The result of all this is that Newsweek still comes out looking both discredited and partisan, despite the fact that their article was well researched and had only a single sourcing problem that can probably be traced back to the government. Nobody takes the incidents seriously, because the administration defused the whole thing when everyone thought it was a hoax, and blamed worldwide unrest on it besides. Even now when newspapers report the truth, they are attacked because of that violence, which frankly looked orchestrated. I mean, I know you love your Qu'ran and all, but when you've got Iraqis hooked up to an electrical generator by their nuts and American soldiers desecrating mosques, this kind of outrage over an allegation of one Qu'ran in the toilet is not only overboard, it looks very suspicious.
     So when does Bush come out and say, "Oops - I was wrong when I said these allegations were absurd"? Probably never. The level of disinformation and smear jobs on the media is unprecedented. Nixon is probably smiling in his grave. It's ironic that at the same time we learn the identity of Deep Throat, the anonymous informant who helped expose White House corruption, the current President is making sure it can never happen again by peppering the news organizations with false leaks designed to discredit them. Don't forget that CBS relied on government leaks to support their report on Bush's National Guard records. Even though we don't know who the source was, CBS knows, and they decided that the source was well enough placed to know the truth. Too bad they didn't know just how well placed the source was...

14 comments:

sideshow bob said...

A whole Qu'ran? In one flush?!? Evidently, Gitmo isn't using low-flows.

Ben said...

A few things wrong here. One, I believe Bush said the "Gulags to Guantanamo" comparison was absurd, not the Koran crap. Two, the report I saw from the investigation clearly said that the guard did not intend to pee on the Koran, he just meant to pee in an A/C vent, and he was soon removed from such a position and reprimanded. There were like four other incidents, and only two were intentional, and they were as mild as knocking a Koran on the ground. You seem to want to bring down an entire administration for a couple of isolated incidents. Altogether I'd say these people live far better than many prisoners in the U.S. prison system.

I know you love your Torah and all, but when one gets videos showing American's heads being cut off, when one sees people chanting, "Death To America," when one sees he priests of a major religion talking about Jihad and killing Americans, one no longer GIVES A DAMN IF TWO KORANS FALL ON THE GROUND. I certianly wouldn't care this much of a Torah was desecreated by Saudis (oh wait, that probably happens all the time already). It's not me, in the end it's just a book, and life is more important. Not only do I not care about these isolated, super-mild incidents, I think you're crazy for caring.

On to the CBS story. The anonymous source was known and revealed, thus not anonymous. Bill Burkett, a very partisan man with an ax to grind, supplied the docs. Google it, I'm sure you'll find it.

You say the Newsweek related violence looked orchestrated? If it was orchestrated, it was by the Islamist agitators over there. You know they orchestrated it, and they did it in order to make the U.S. look as bad as possible. You know this, you know they (fundamentalist Muslims) are your enemy (they want you dead, whatever you think of them), and yet you let them manipulate you against your country anyway. Amazing.

Basically your entire post about "lies" was you twisting, stretching, and ignoring the truth yourself.

Scott said...

Ben, I don't hold the Administration responsible for the soldier's actions. I hold them responsible for their own actions. And their own actions told the American public that it was Newsweek that was the villain, that they blamed the report for damaging our reputation abroad.
The Truth is that if we hadn't been abusive of prisoners in the first place (blessed by Bush and Alberto Gonzalez as "almost-torture, but not quite"), this latest incident wouldn't have evoked such a strong reaction. And the probablility that these violent demonstrations were staged didn't stop the administration from blaming them on Newsweek, despite that they probably knew Newsweek wasn't the real cause.

Mike said...

Oh whoa is us. Why don't people like us? Don't forget how those prisoners got their Korans. We gave them to them out of respect for their religion. So a little pee got on some paper. Big friggin' deal. The riots in Afghanistan were organized by the Taliban remnants. Our soldiers have captured Al Queda handbooks that say they should always claim they were tortured when released from custody. They know how to push the buttons of the political left in this country and the liberals are gullible enought to go along with it. Fortunately the majority of America still has some common sense.

ignerens said...

Korans fell on the ground? I thought Bush repealed the law of gravity as part of the Patriot Act.

Shannon said...

I took Scott's comment to be an outrage on the administration's "handling of the truth" not outrage at any holy book desicration. Looks like we're trying to spin the debate away from analyzing how the administration is not exactly forthcoming with accurate, or perhaps just complete information. Ben claims we're letting the "fundamental muslims" manipulate us against our own country with misinformation. I dunno George Bush seems to be doing a fine job of that as well.

Anonymous said...

Shannon, did you ever suspect you'd be writing about how George Bush did a fine job of something?
See guys, we're making progress on inter-party relations!

Ben said...

Where was this innaccurate information Bush spread on this issue? He said the Newsweek article was untrue, and that their did not course it well. That's true exactly. The report said American soldiers put Korans in the toilet, and that it was done deliberately. Now we know that only prisoners put Korans in the toilet, and the only time and American soldier's urine came in contact with a Koran was when a soldier peed, the wind blew the pee in an A/C vent, and some of it got on a Koran. I find it hard to believe that the soldier knew exactly where his urine would land. I sure don't know where the other end of my A/C vent goes. So there was no misinformation in what Bush said in relation to this story. Next argument?

Anonymous said...

The guy who peed into the A/C vent should not be allowed to pee standing up for one year.

Standing up to pee is a privilege -- not a right!

Mike said...

Ok let's talk about how the Administration is handling this. Here's what I can't stand. The looney left makes these outrageous charges and demand the Administration prove them wrong. Shouldn't the burden of proof lie with those making the charge? And then when we find out all the evidence Newsweek has is the statement of a former detainee? And we find out the official they ran it by didn't say anything so we're supposed to believe it's true? When Dan Rather puts up the phony memos we're supposed to believe the charges are accurate anyway just because Bush can't supply National Guard records from 30 years ago? I'm afraid you got it all backwards, people. You can't make phony charges and put the burden of proof on those being accused.

alex said...

Personally I laugh at bush's ability to drive the left insane and off the wall. I am sure this will amuse me for many more years since I am starting to belive that large portions of the left have totally lost touch with reality. As Ben and Mike said very acuratly the administration said that the NEWSWEEK story was inaccurate and no one is debating this there was no intentional desecration of korans. I understand that the left likes to imagine what bush is saying as opposed to listening to what he is actually saying. Also to me it does seem that the actions of the troops are being blamed on the administration

The Truth is that if we hadn't been abusive of prisoners in the first place (blessed by Bush and Alberto Gonzalez as "almost-torture, but not quite"), this latest incident wouldn't have evoked such a strong reaction.

I can take that comment as meaning that the administration allowed torture to happen or turned a blind eye to it. It seems to me that most of the left seems to say that since bush is commander and chief then anything that goes wrong in the military he is to blame. The old if you are in charge then you are responsible for everything that happens. In that case i would like your response to the Canadian Red Cross HIV blood scandle. For those of you that do not know the Canadian Red Cross has pleaded guilty to giving people blood with HIV in it. Well guess where the blood came from Arkansas prisons while Bill Clinton was governor (despite the fact that prison blood could not be sold in the united states because of the HIV risk)

http://archive.salon.com/news/1998/12/cov_23news.html

Now does this mean that clinton is guilty of a crime since he was in charge of arkansas?

Ben said...

Maybe if these prisoners hadn't been caught trying in some way or another to kill Americans, then this whole torture thing wouldn't be a problem because there would be no reason to have prisoners int he first place. Stop blaming Americans for trying to protect America, blame the people who are causing us to have to resort to these measures because of their stated desire to kill Americans. In fact let's go way back to what started all this mess. I believe it was about one thousand years ago when followers of Muhammed first decided to start invading Europe. The Europeans reacted against this encroachment with the Crusades, which was a defenseive measure. And all the clashes between Islamia and the west unto this day resulted from these events. So we can blame the Caliphate that drove Muslims to invade Spain for any torture in Gitmo.

Anonymous said...

Bush may have drove the left "insane". Insert eyeroll. But the way how the GOP behave, you'd think they didn't win the election because they are just as whiny as the left. I think Canis on his blog said it right: "you guys won, so just lead ... who cares what the "whiny" left have to say, prove to the world that you're leader ship material instead of playing tit-for-tat with the lefties". Or to quote Kathy Bates (in About Schmidt): "... drink your #$%&ing milk and shut the #$%& up".

Ben said...

So it seems in the end that were are at least three times more documented occurences of Gitmo detainees desecrating their own Korans as there are reports of soldiers deliberately desecrating Korans. Who can blame our soldiers for following the example set by the detainees? Perhaps after seeing a prisoner rip up his own Koran, a soldier merely thought that was what was supposed to be done.