Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Don't Make Us Have to Hurt Them Again 

Greg Palast makes a useful moral distinction that has so far gone overlooked in the Newsweek brouhaha:
His aides report that George Bush is "angry" about the report -- not the desecration of the Koran, but the reporting of it.

And so long as George is angry and Condi appalled, Newsweek knows what to do: swiftly grab its corporate ankles and ask the White House for mercy.

But there was no mercy. Donald Rumsfeld pointed the finger at Newsweek and said, "People lost their lives. People are dead." Maybe Rumsfeld was upset that Newsweek was taking away his job. After all, it's hard to beat Rummy when it comes to making people dead.

And just for the record: Newsweek, unlike Rumsfeld, did not kill anyone -- nor did its report cause killings. Afghans protested when they heard the Koran desecration story (as Christians have protested crucifix desecrations). The Muslim demonstrators were gunned down by the Afghan military police -- who operate under Rumsfeld's command.
UPDATE: Related comments you may enjoy, from Norman Mailer --
If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A . . . .

As for the riots at the other end, on this occasion, they, too, could have been orchestrated. We do have agents in Pakistan, after all, not to mention Afghanistan.

Obviously, I can offer no proof of any of the above. There still resides, however, under my aging novelist's pate a volunteer intelligence agent, sadly manque. He does suggest that the outcome was too neat. It came out too effectively for one side, one special side. At the age of eighty-two I do not wish to revive old paranoia, but Lenin did leave us one valuable notion, one, at any rate. It was "Whom?" When you cannot understand a curious matter, ask yourself, "Whom? Whom does this benefit?" Dare I suggest that our Right has just gained a good deal by way of this matter?
-- and from Jersey girl Kristen Breitweiser (courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.M.):
Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, said: "The report had real consequences. People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged."

Mr. McClellan said Newsweek's retraction was a "good first step."

As a 9/11 widow who witnessed worldwide support of the United States after 9/11, now, I witness wide hatred of America.

Such hatred has little to do with the Newsweek article. It has everything to do with the Bush administration's pre-emptive war in Iraq. A war based on dead wrong intelligence that has cost thousands of lives. A war based on faulty reasons that have never been retracted, let alone fully explained to the American people or the world.

Mr. McClellan speaks of journalistic standards. How about executive-branch standards that should be met before taking a country into a false war, a war that has made the entire world less safe?
UPDATE II: Pentagon spokeshole Larry di Rita is flogging the proposition that the multiple stories of Koran desecration coming from released detainees are in fact al Qaeda disinformation:
With respect to lawyers making allegations of detainees who have been released, we anticipate, and have seen, in fact, all manner of statements made by detainees -- as you recall, many of whom as members of al Qaeda were trained to allege abuse and torture and all manner of other things . . . .

In their own training manuals they say: Here's what we'll do if we ever get into a court; we allege torture, we allege abuse, we allege all kinds of things to influence public opinion.
Our distinguished colleague Eli of Left I on the News calls bullshit: if the former detainees are in fact members of al Qaeda, why are they "former" instead of "current"?

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