This whole flap about the Newsweek article is stupid on so many levels. For one thing both sides have a point. Given what we know has gone on there and in other U.S. detainment centers it is almost certain that someone did flush the Koran. I know that if I were in their position I'd at least consider it, and I wouldn't really see a moral quandary about it either*. On the other hand Newsweek was a little hasty to print the story, and one of the rules of journalism is that you have to source even the obviously true stuff, otherwise you just end up printing conventional wisdom, which is of no help to anyone. Newsweek should not have printed it, but the fact that they did and were forced to retract does not make it untrue.
More importantly it does not make it relevant. What are we actually talking about here, people? A book in a toilet. This is the great human rights violation? If this were the worst thing our government had done in Guantanamo Bay I would drop to my knees and kiss the ground in thanks because it would demonstrate a remarkable level of restraint beyond what I thought we were capable of. It's a FLUSHED BOOK. What other devious tortures have we devised?
Guard: Hey Abdul, I've got some gum for you. What's your favorite flavor?
Abdul: I enjoy the spearmint.
G: TOO BAD! You get Juicy Fruit.
A: NO! It is too juicy!
G: Maybe if you want to talk about Al Qaeda I'll see about getting you some spearmint.
A: Never! I WILL RESIST THIS OUTRAGE!
G: Then your breath will never be fresh.
A: I will kill you, infidel.
G: One more outburst like that and I'm replacing your Diet Pepsi dispenser with TAB.
A: This is the greatest outrage in the history of mankind!
Guard: AND, you won't find out what happens to Ryan unless you talk.
Hamad: But but but, will he ever get back together with Marissa?
G: I know the answer...
H: Tell me!
G: I'll NEVER tell!
H: Curse you America! Curse you and your O.C. cliffhangers! I'll see you in HELL!
Now I know that in the Middle East the Koran is considered an incredibly holy book and to insult or damage it is considered a grave act of blasphemy. Guess what. I don't give a fuck. It isn't America's job to worry about the irrational and stupid beliefs of other people. Muslims want the Koran to have special privilege in the world? Fuck them. They burn our flags, they shit on our holy books, they degrade and insult our way of life...fine...but turn about is fair play. If one of our detainees was forced to watch a Muslim captor shit on the bible, or the constitution, or whatever, I wouldn't care. I'd be glad he wasn't beheaded and consider him extremely lucky to have dealt with such minor offenses.
Then there are the riots that killed something like 16 people in response to the story. Some people are claiming that Newsweek should be held responsible for those.
Those people chose to riot and kill one another. They are ALWAYS rioting and killing each other. They are living in the stone age, and I mean that literally. They still stone rape victims over there, on a regular basis. If I consider the death penalty abhorrent for anyone, including a terrorist (which I do) then the thought of killing the victim makes my blood run cold (as I'm sure it does pretty much everyone else's). They kill one another at weddings by firing automatic weapons into the sky (sometimes the bullets come down and hit people, sometimes they take out low-flying planes, at least in areas where they actually have flight.) Blaming Newsweek for their rioting is like blaming Colonel Sanders for the Avian Flu.
The Muslim countries need to get their act together. They need to improve their economies and work on moderating their culture so their people don't behave like rabid dogs when given half an excuse. The U.S. is under no obligation to honor the Koran or think twice about their cultural standards. These are people who regularly call for the death of all Jews on their shitty television stations. If they can't take a book being flushed, well then they should be the next ones in the toilet. We are responsible for our unjust invasion of Iraq, for our mistreatment of prisoners under our care in Abu Ghraib AND Guantanamo, for our violation of people's civil rights, and for a host of other ills.
We are not responsible for censoring our press, nor for the actions of crazy people taken in response to an imagined insult to their imagined god. On that score our hands are clean.
*Waterboarding a prisoner? That's wrong, I would never. Stripping one naked and making him think I was going to electrocute him? If someone asked me to do that I'd call Amnesty International first chance I got. Flushing a book down the toilet without causing any physical harm to another person? Okay. Sure. Not a problem. Do we have a plumber on staff?