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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Mighty Wurlitzer and its terrible swift sword
Posted by Jill | 8:27 AM

While the right-wing shriek squad is venting its seemingly endless spleen (considering their idols run everything) about how Newsweek is the source of ALL the recent rioting in Afghanistan and Pakistan (and presumably everything else, including the crucifixion of Christ, except oh, wait, we still need to blame that on the Jews), the State Department itself says, "Not so fast...":

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says a report from Afghanistan suggests that rioting in Jalalabad on May 11 was not necessarily connected to press reports that the Quran might have been desecrated in the presence of Muslim prisoners held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Air Force General Richard Myers told reporters at the Pentagon May 12 that he has been told that the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else.

According to initial reports, the situation in Jalalabad began on May 10 with peaceful student protests reacting to a report in Newsweek magazine that U.S. military interrogators questioning Muslim detainees at the Guantanamo detention center “had placed Quran s on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book.” By the following day the protests in the city had turned violent with reports of several individuals killed, dozens wounded, and widespread looting of government, diplomatic and nongovernmental assets.

However, Myers said an after-action report provided by U.S. Army Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, commander of the Combined Forces in Afghanistan, indicated that the political violence was not, in fact, connected to the magazine report.

Meanwhile, Myers said the U.S. military has assigned Army General Bantz Craddock to investigate allegations about the handling of the Quran at Guantanamo. Craddock brings the full weight of his responsibility as commander of the U.S. Southern Command to this effort.

So here's my question to the wingnuts (including our own B@B designated wingnut trolls): If there's nothing there, why is the U.S. military investigating the allegations?

I have no great love for ANY of the mainstream media, who have almost universally ignored the Downing Street memo and its damning evidence that yes, Virginia, George W. Bush wanted a war and lied to the American people to get it -- and over 1700 American kids and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead because he had to prove how big his penis is compared to his daddy's. But right now, I expect better of mainstream journalists than to rely on single-sourced stories. Of course, for that matter, I don't see the right wing all up in arms about Judith Miller of the New York Times, who relied on a single source (Ahmad Chalabi) for her reams of articles about Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. So their outrage is pretty selective.

And I certainly have no great love for Michael Isikoff, and will shed no tears if he's finished as a result of this. Isikoff was at the forefront of the whole Whitewater/Lewinsky foofarah, relying far too much on right-wing sources and half-truths. So it isn't as if Isikoff has a history of stellar journalism up to this point. But if the MSM wants to continue to bombast about blogs, they might want to think about this just a bit.

Of course, you won't even get this much of a disclaimer from our friends on the right, for in their minds, Jesus H. Bush is a kind of combination Messiah/Pope, who can do no wrong and must never be questioned. We used to call people like this "cultists."
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