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« MCI: Molesting Children Incessantly The RantsHow Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Creationist? »

Let's Get Some Perspective on the Quran Desecration
2005.05.17 (Tue) 12:19

So here's the flap. In their May 9th edition, Newsweek reported that, according to an anonymous source, United States military personnel in Guantanemo Bay had put copies of the Quran into toilets in attempts to get Muslim prisoners to talk. The Muslim world was outraged, riots broke out, people were killed. Newsweek later admitted that there were possible errors in parts of their story, but did not issue a retraction of the story itself, prompting the following exchange between Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker and White House flunky Scott McClellan:

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the apology.

The White House said Monday that Newsweek's response was insufficient.

"It's puzzling. While Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refuse to retract the story," said presidential spokesman Scott McClellan. "I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met. In this instance it was not."

By the time we published this post, Newsweek had already retracted its story about Quran abuse, under pressure from the White House. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean it isn't true, just that Newsweek is stating that their fact-checking wasn't up to snuff. The White House wasn't satisfied, though. From ABC News:

McClellan said a retraction was only "a good first step" and said Newsweek should try to set the record straight by "clearly explaining what happened and how they got it wrong, particularly to the Muslim world, and pointing out the policies and practices of our military."

Newsweek should fix this by pointing out the policies and practices of the United States military? Hey, Scott — are you sure that's what you really want considering all of the torture and abuse that we already know the military is responsible for? That's some set of balls.

But here's the part we're fuzzy on...

This whole thing is over alleged abuses to a fucking book. What's the worst case scenario here as far as what could have actually happened? Dozens of books were destroyed? So what?! We're talking about books! Maybe this whole thing would seem less pathetic if we didn't already know about the confirmed instances of torture that affected actual people. But we do.

Let's be clear here — we think that everyone who is inflating this issue into a huge scandal needs to seriously reevaluate their priorities. It's a fucking book.

Take away the religious fanaticism, and this is the equivalent of tossing the Danielle Steele collection into the commode, an act which would cause just about nobody to flinch (not even Danielle Steele, who already got her royalties when the books were purchased). So let's imagine that instead of the Quran, it was a bunch of trashy romance novels that the marines lobbed into the crapper. If the books in question belonged to the prisoners, then the military should have taken better care of them, as they should with any of the prisoners' personal belongings. If the books belonged to the military and were purchased especially for their one-way trip to toiletville, then the military had every right to flush them. We don't know offhand who owned the books, but either way, this is not a huge story. Is it mean-spirited and uncalled for? Yes. Is it an atrocity? No. Why should changing the name of the book to "the Quran" make it one?

So we've got a few messages for certain people.

To the White House — assuming that the military did do this, it is by far the least atrocious act that has been committed (in the name of the United States of America) with regard to prisoner abuse. You've already acknowledged horrific forms of human torture, so desecrating a book is pretty meaningless. If you really want to do something positive, why not demand that the high level government officials who were ultimately responsible for the torture of prisoners finally face the music? Oh, right, those are your buddies. It's much easier to just scream and yell about Newsweek to make them the bad guys.

To the people who rioted as a result of this — get your heads out of your asses. If you want to be angry at the United States because our military physically abused prisoners, we can't blame you; we're pretty angry as well. But rioting over a book is fucking ridiculous, and anyone who did so is a perfect example to point to in order to show that religion is, quite often, indistinguishable from mental illness. Need an example? Here's one from a Newsweek follow up:

"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."

Now that is some fucked up shit. Can anyone say "get your priorities straight, moron"? Let's spell this out — this guy values a book more highly than he does human life and well being. Does anyone think that's normal or sane? And we don't want to hear about "religious tolerance" or "understanding the belief systems of others" — valuing a book more than a person is batshit insane. You want someone to blame for the rioting deaths? How about the crazy fanatics who rioted and killed people over the mistreatment of a fucking book.

To the extreme liberal left (we're looking at you, Air America) — your priorities are as fucked up as anyone else's in this pathetic situation. How about redirecting some of that outrage away from the people who may have stuck a book in a toilet, and toward the far more deserving people who rioted and killed because of that fucking book? Instead of getting angry at the people who "provoked" a three day warning of a jihad, how about getting pissed off at the people who called for a three day deadline until jihad?

To Newsweek — failing to fact-check your work is bad. Failing to fact-check your work when it attacks the current administration is really bad. Yes, we know that an official failed to refute the claims, but shouldn't you be doing a little more homework, especially before going after a regime that excels at political spin?

Originally, we were also unhappy with Newsweek for even publishing a report like this. From what we were hearing, without reading the article, it was clear that this was a feature story dedicated to Quran abuse. Hell, maybe it was even a cover story, with a large glossy photo of a Quran sitting in the crapper displayed on newsstands across the globe. What was Newsweek thinking turning a non-issue into a major story?

Then we read the article. No, let's correct that. Then we got the issue and spent ten minutes looking for the article. Once we realized that it wasn't an article that was actually about Quran abuse, we started checking within articles for mention of such events. Eventually we found it, on page ten, as part of a column-and-a-half story about multiple forms of prisoner abuse. The part about Quran desecration was part of one sentence:

Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash.

That's it. That's the whole thing. Seriously. And there are other examples of abuse to actual people in the story as well that, to us, are far worse than the single mention of "book abuse." As Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker points out in a CNN.com story:

In an interview on the PBS "Newshour" Monday night, Whitaker said the problem stemmed from "one detail."

"There were other elements in this story that people are not concerned about," he told PBS. "This is the one detail everyone is concerned about, and we are prepared to retract that."

Indeed. Notice that none of the claims of abuse to actual people are being refuted. Instead, they focused in on this one thing. Gee, why would they do that?

The bottom line here is that the Quran, like any other "holy book," is just a book. To demonstrate what we mean here, one of our members took his own personal copy of the Bible, lit it on fire, tossed it in the toilet, and flushed it (which only caused it to swirl around a little). Hey, it was a free give-away, it was his, and it was just a book. No big deal. And if anyone has a problem with that, then go buy your own Bible and do whatever you want with it. Ours is headed out to sea.


Note: Okay, our associate didn't really ignite the Bible and flush it down the toilet, but it was only laziness and a hypersensitive smoke detector that stopped him. And maybe his wife who didn't want smoked scripture in the house. We can't say that we blame her.

— • —
[  Filed under: % Government & Politics  % Media & Censorship  % Religion  ]

Comments (1)

John, 2006.06.07 (Wed) 14:56 [Link] »

Now you don't need to worry about clogging your own toilet when flushing holy books. Check out
FlushAHolyBook.com where you can choose any holy book and send it down the toilet.

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