Thursday, May 19, 2005

Newsweek

It looks like I've got a bit of news to catch up on. First of all, it appears increasingly unlikely to me that the Newsweek article I mentioned a few posts ago hit the mark squarely. You've probably heard this by now, but after all those folks were killed in riots, Newsweek retracted their story... sort of. They said it could have happened, but they couldn't verify that it had, so sorry for printing it. According to Reuters, the International Red Cross received reports in 2002 and early 2003 that the Koran was being treated without due respect (they declined to confirm or deny the toilet-flushing scenario), but that after reporting this to the U.S. government, corrective measures were taken and there hasn't been a report since then. Let me say again: the International Red Cross says "those allegations have not resurfaced" since early 2003. Even at that time, it sounds like it mostly was a matter of non-Muslims touching the Koran, or of a Koran accidentally falling to the floor. In January 2003, they issued guidelines detailing how to handle the Koran with proper respect. Do we have to ask whether these people would have shown equivalent respect to captured Americans? Not a chance.

Oh, and then we managed to enrage the Muslim world by not preventing a British newspaper from obtaining and printing photos of Saddam Hussein standing in his underpants, folding his pants. Gee, poor ousted dictator. Be sure you don't mention that he ordered his own citizens raped, tortured and killed. Hush: That might cause some people not to show him the kind of respect that he deserves.

A funny side note: as Riding Sun points out, there was a very interesting difference between Newsweek's covers in early February of this year. The American one was all about the Oscars, whereas the Japanese one features an American flag in the trashcan. Pretty ironic, considering they are now criticizing the U.S. for the alleged disrespect of an important symbol. The Force of Human Freedom printed a translation of the table of contents.
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