Friday, May 27, 2005

Pentagon Admits to Koran "Mishandling"

Pentagon officials admitted there have been five incidents in which the Koran was "mishandled" by interrogators and military personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. FBI documents relating to the prisoner abuse at Gitmo also contain allegations by a prisoner that the Koran was flushed down a toilet, but officials say this accusation has not been substantiated by investigators. Pentagon officials stressed that the mishandling incidents were all minor and had occured before specific guidelines for the handling of the Koran were instituted in 2003.

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post says exactly what's on my mind now that the Pentagon has admitted to Koran abuse incidents by Americans at Gitmo. If Koran abuse did take place at Gitmo, why did the Pentagon and the White Huse so furiously denounce the Newsweek report, since retracted, that an American official had witnessed a Koran being flushed down a toilet at Gitmo? Was it because:

The war on Newsweek shifted attention away from how the Guantanamo prisoners have been treated, how that treatment has affected the battle against terrorism and what American policies should be. Newsweek-bashing also furthered a long-term and so far successful campaign by the administration and the conservative movement to dismiss all negative reports about their side as the product of some entity they call "the liberal media."

At this point, it is customary to offer a disclaimer to the effect that my column runs in The Post, is syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group and that The Washington Post Co. owns Newsweek. I resisted writing about this subject precisely because I do not want anyone to confuse my own views with Newsweek's or The Post's.

I write about it now because of the new reports and because I fear that too many people in traditional journalism are becoming dangerously defensive in the face of a brilliantly conceived conservative attack on the independent media.

CBS was "killianed" and everybody dropped the story that George W. received special treatment in the Texas Air National Guard. Newsweek's credibility was flushed over the "Koran in toilet" piece and Chris Matthews follows Scott McClellan's lead and asserts on Hardball that the incident certainly never happened because the Bush Administration says it never happened and Newsweek must rectify this "journalistic atrocity" immediately. The right-wing blogosphere and the right-wing propangda machine at FOX, Wall Street Journal, etc. all jump on the bandwagon and continue the Bushies' work of discrediting all media operations that are not on the White House payroll.

Whew. Brilliant stuff this Rove does. If a Republican Congress and a Republican Senate won't investigate administration misdeeds and/or crimes and a cow-towed press is constantly kept on the defensive by the right-wing propaganda machine and an attack dog administration, the Bushies will be able to get away with their crimes forever.

Especially if they continue to steal presidential elections the way lots of smart people believe they stole the last two.

No. Smart people do not believe that Bush stole the last two elections. Smart people do believe that Democrats tried to steal the election in Florida. And if Gore had not been such a poor candidate in that he lost his home state of Tennessee he would have won the election. We do not want any abuse to be taking place, but a war is being fought and Newsweek has chosen to give aid and comfort to the enemy.
Yeah, Gore deserved to lose the election (though he actually won the popular vote), and frankly, so did Kerry. They both ran awful campaigns and Rove runs masterful campaigns. There's no doubt about that. Nonetheless some funky things happened in swing states like Florida and Ohio in 2004. And those diebold machines sure do allow for even funkier things to happen in the future! And Jim Lampley at Huffingtonpost has all the necessary info on exit polling to make you realize 2004 was a one in a million outlier of a year.

As for Newsweek giving aid and comfort to the enemy, I think Rumsfeld, Bush, Rice and Cheney are giving much more comfort to the enemy by screwing up the "mission accomplished" phase of the war. If you really want to win the war in Iraq, then act like you do - put in enough troops to secure the country. Admit there have been problems with the prisoner abuse and openly address them. After Abu Ghraib, the president went on Arab tv to tell the Muslim world America would fix the abuse problem because torture was not an American value. He pledged to address the problem openly. But like everything else having to do with policy in this administration, they have stonewalled, lied, deceived or attacked anyone who tries to hold them accountable for mistakes while shedding as much darkness and secrecy on their inner workings as possible.

You know what, I was against the Iraq war from the beginning. I didn't think Saddam was the threat Bush/Cheney/Blair said he was and I didn't think he had anything to do with 9/11. I wanted to get Osama and destroy Al Qaeda. By attacking Saddam and bogging the U.S. military down in Iraq, we have made ourselves very vulnerable to our other enemies in this world and we have to win this war in Iraq by making the Muslim world see that we are not the Koran bashing, torture-loving, oil-stealing Western infidels they think we are. Bush (and Laura, their public outreach official to the Muslim world) talk a good game. But when you watch their actions, you can see they are full of shit. Sorry, Newsweek didn't give aid and comfort to the enemey. Every unapologetic supporter of this war who allows the Bushies to screw up the reconstruction of Iraq and the reconstruction of U.S.-Muslim relations gives aid and comfort to the enemy by supplying Al Qaeda the recruiting tools they need to sucker in more young kids to be future terrorists and suicide bombers.
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