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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Friday, May 27, 2005

Newsweek Holy Qur'an Abuse Article not quite so 'Rathergate' after all

Does this *Holy Qur'an look like toilet paper to you?

Newsweek Article not as much of a black eye as Pentagon Documents
Never the less, Media gets Bitch-slapped- again and cowers - again.
Whitehouse = 1, Media = 0
Whitehouse wins by TKO

In light of the recent hoopla coming out of the 'scandalous' Newsweek release regarding abuse of the Holy Al Qur'an by military officials, it appears that not only the Liberals are lined up against the Neo-Conservatives holed up in the modern-day Alamo located on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; so is the Pentagon!

When Newsweek's, article on the Holy Qur'an's desecration at Guantanamo Bay broke on 9 May 2005, Whitehouse Spokesman, Scott McClellan hastily called press conference and orchestrated his attack invoking words like 'journalistic responsibility' to undermine the news organization's credibility. In retrospect, it has become evident he misjudged his jump on the trampoline of self-righteousness and landed in a minefield of embarrassing questions regarding prisoner abuse.

"It's puzzling that while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met and in this instance it was not." "The report has had serious consequences," McClellan said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

Of course this gaff came about prior to the Pentagon's release of rather embarrassing documents that - well, sort of supported Newsweek's article after all.

It seems desecration of the Holy Qur'an as a means of breaking prisoner's resistance to interrogation at the hands of their American captors actually took place. Apparently, the recently forced retraction of Newsweek's publication regarding the atrocities was a bit premature. The story turned out not to be a fabrication after all. Newsweek took a serious beating at the hands of neo-conservative pundits and Whitehouse staff for publishing their article on the abuses. Newsweek's fatal error came in not nailing down sources who, when faced with risk of exposure, developed amnesia. Oh dayum! Newsweek buckled and the result was yet another black eye on the media as a whole.

Since Journalists are censored at the Whitehouse these days, they are not allowed to pitch hardballs at McClellan’s head; it is amazing that Scott swung at all. The Pentagon's release of documents stated abuses to the Holy Qur'an did in fact happen. Prior to this revelation, the Whitehouse's offensive against Newsweek, was unrelenting because they were confident that no tangible evidence existed to support Newsweek's allegations. McClellan maintained that the respected news agency had screwed the journalistic pooch. He smelled blood and saw it as another opportunity to make an object lesson out of journalists who dare to publish articles that might sully the Whitehouse's reputation.

Enter the ACLU. The Pentagon was compelled to release incriminating FBI information under the Freedom of Information Act regarding prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay. Oops..

Well, now that they have been caught with their pants down, the Pentagon is trying to play down the abuses. According to the Washington Post's 27 May article, "Pentagon officials . . . . characterized the episodes as minor"

Of course, America knows all about what 'minor' abuse is like say; when the Supreme Court denied a Georgia Judge from placing a monument with the Ten Commandments inside a courthouse. The result was uproar from America's religious right. They lambasted the Federal Government and its - Republican-dominated - Judiciary for upholding the First Amendment designed to protect all Americans including those who do not happen to be of Judeo-Christian persuasions. The Religious right was up in arms that the US Constitution did not ask for but rather demanded separation of church and state. In their zealous fervor, the far-right Christian sects attempted to re-write history but they could not argue with the words specifically set into the document that reigns as supreme law in our land.

When a nation is religiocentric, nationalistic, and has a leader that claims to have been handpicked by God, that nation is bound to trample upon other people's religious beliefs. Basic Human rights violations are certain to occur when the Neo-conservative populace is imbibing such a heady brew. Such atrocities like those being perpetrated, in the name of 'Liberty and Justice for all,' at American-controlled interrogation/detention facilities are steadily being exposed and that is a testimony to journalists whose temerity has not completely compromised their deep-rooted inclination toward ferreting out the truth. Somewhere deep inside of such journalists resonates this uneasiness; American's believe that the ends do not justify the means. In short, there is a limit. Brutality has no place when we face an agressor whether on foreign or domestic soil. Whereas we can and should meet force with equal and opposite force sufficient to overwhelmingly defeat our foes, we ought not nay, we dare not, lower ourselves to committing atrocities in order to stop atrocities. When we violate our core principals, all of our principals cease to be of value anymore because they become subject to situational ethics. Plainly put; what is right on Sunday had better be right on Fridy. I am confident the vast majority of Americans maintain that point cannot, should not and will not ever be compromised with their blessing.

How odd indeed that a nation - purportedly settled by people in search of religious freedom - can have forgotten its historical precedents set out so eloquently in our Declaration of Independence and solidified in First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

With this spate of documented abuses steadily on the rise, Guantanamo Bay has become America's Gulag Archipelago, the Russian concentration camp that Nobel Prize writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote his famous novel about.

So, what is the end result? The Media has been exonerated but the Whitehouse's rhetorical smear has nonetheless stuck. The Whitehouse ended up giving itself a black eye as well but somehow, the Media isn't making a big deal about it. Final analysis: Whitehouse = 1, Media = 0. Media wins the battle and the Whitehouse wins the war. Media gets bitch-slapped and cowers back to its corner.

*Note: I have purposely made reference to the ‘Koran’ as the Holy Qur’an out of deference to the millions of Muslim’s on this planet that uses it as their supreme spiritual reference. If my usage of this spelling causes discomfort, I invite the reader to, if only momentarily, adopt its spelling and treat it with the same reverence that Christian followers of the scriptures collected in the Holy Bible. Adopting such a mindset might better allow us to understand the moral outrage that followers of Islam have felt over its recent desecration. Perhaps then, as a people, we can empathize with other spiritual descendants of Abraham who believe in the same God but, who seek their spiritual guidance and who seek their solace from holy scriptures not so different from those found in Judeo-Christian traditions.


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