Tuesday, May 17, 2005

They Were Framed... 

If you've been following the brouhaha lately in the mainstream media, you could easily get the impression that Newsweek's editors got bored and made up a story about desecration of the Quran at Abu Ghraib and other concentration camps, then got caught lying and had to retract it. There are several problems with that viewpoint, though, as both Digby and Juan Cole point out. Read them for information all about how many times this assertion has been made in the past -- i.e., how well-known it was around the blogosphere since at least a year ago that, yeah, part of the interrogation/torture techniques used in these places was to desecrate that which Muslims hold sacred. That's why the Quran was dumped in toilets and otherwise molested. That's also why Muslim men were paraded around naked -- nudity is a shameful thing in their culture.

So -- Newsweek prints a truthful article about atrocities that occured long in the past and which were widely known, then there are riots in Afghanistan in which at least sixteen people are killed, and then Newsweek retracts the story. "Oops. It was all untrue. We made it up. Sorry."

And that retraction, more than anything, is what is disturbing in this story. It seems to me that this whole thing was orchestrated precisely for the purpose of giving Newsweek a blackeye, of tarnishing their reputation as a news source, and sending a warning to the rest of the mainstream media. Not that they need it; MSM "news" gave up any pretense of real journalism long ago, and they're nothing more but spokescritters and cheerleaders for the government. But the whole thing strikes me as a bit of pre-emptive planning on the part of BushCo. for their attempted seizure of Iran's oil, which will probably start to roll next month. This way, the groundwork is laid so that if any major media outlet tries to question the next invasion, Scottie McClellan, Donald Rumsfeld, et. al can just say, "We don't want another Newsweek." And the red state morons will nod their heads and curse the liberal media and believe that we need to invade Iran, as well, because W said so.

But the wingnuts tipped their hand when the astroturf protests began and the protestors were holding signs that read, "Newsweek Lied and People Died." Talk about co-opting a slogan, and doing it in rather poor taste.

Item 1) Newsweek was not the direct cause of the riots in Afghanistan.

Item 2) George Bush lied, and the American body count is over 1600; the Iraqi body count possibly in the tens of thousands; the wounded, uncounted, because, well, counting them would be unpatriotic, wouldn't it?

Final nail in the coffin to the idea that this wasn't a set-up from the beginning; the Administration is already putting out the propaganda, the instructions to the blind followers to just STFU. From the CNN article linked above:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the [Newsweek] flap was a reminder that people "need to be very careful about what they say."

"People are dead, and that's unfortunate," Rumsfeld told reporters. "People need to be very careful about what they say just as people need to be careful about what they do."
We've heard this rhetoric from this source before. Just too bad BushCo. didn't take that advice before venturing into Iraq in the first place. W hasn't been careful about what he's said ("Crusade," anyone?) and he certainly hasn't been careful about what he's done.

Bush lied and people died.

Newsweek tells the truth, then rolls over faster than a whore when the fleet's in, and journalistic integrity, already living a Teri Schiavo existence, dies.

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