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June 4, 2005
The Self-Indulgence Of The American Media And Leftist Establishment

Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, dear readers, and friends, I submit to you that this week represents the nadir of responsible thought about the war on terror. We face Islamofascist lunatics who wish to establish Taliban-like tyrannies throughout the Middle East -- and eventually the world -- and who commit real atrocities in their efforts to bring those twisted dreams to fruition. We have seen their videos showing the beheadings of helpless hostages with dull knives, literally sawing off the heads of these victims while alive. They slaughter women and children as indiscriminately as possible. They even blow up Islamic mosques to kill Muslims at prayer.

Now we have had two weeks of debate over whether we have mistreated six hundred or so of these terrorists captured on the battlefield, out of uniform, bearing arms against us. What has been the focus of this controversy? Cattle prods and bullwhips for interrogation? Beatings? Naked pyramids and leashes?

No. It's whether or not we abused a book.

This has been front-page news for two or three weeks now, ever since Newsweek decided to run a poorly-sourced item about Gitmo guards flushing a Qu'ran down a toilet. Now we have the Pentagon report detailing five supposed events where guards mistreated copies of the Muslim scripture, and the media and the blogosphere have reacted like this is another My Lai.

Guess what, people? This is a book. It's not the Ark of the Covenant or Mohammed's horse or a splinter of the True Cross.

If American servicemen at Gitmo have beaten or tortured prisoners, we need to know about it and put a stop to it. However, all of this hue and cry over how we treat printed material -- and even the steps that the Pentagon put in place to treat it "respectfully", such as requiring gloves and such -- demonstrate a complete lack of perspective about who and what our enemy is. These are the same people that put grenades in dolls so that children get maimed and killed when they pick them up, a favorite Taliban tactic in Afghanistan. They fought for the same lunatic leaders who now kill Americans and Iraqis in the Sunni Triangle with carbombs and perhaps-not-volunteer suicide bombers.

They fought for the same people who ordered the massacre of 2900 American citizens on 9/11. And we have our panties in a twist over whether we may have hurt their feelings about how we treated ... a book.

If Saturday Night Live wrote a parody of American hypersensitivity in fighting a war on terror, I doubt they could create something more ridiculous than this. Can you imagine our grandparents having this kind of debate had an American guard pissed on Mein Kampf at a POW camp for German POWs?

Short of ensuring that the Gitmo prisoners belong there and get treated humanely -- three hots and a cot and no abuse -- I couldn't care less about their reading material. If they get Qu'rans, fine. If not, fine. If their Qu'rans get wet, kicked, dropped, laughed at, or ignored, let the military deal with the disciplinary issues, but it isn't newsworthy. Why should we give a damn about it? What happened to our sense of priorities?

The media and the Leftist establishments such as the ACLU and Amnesty International use crap like this to set up impossible standards of behavior, then pretend that we're no better than our enemies when we fail to perfectly meet them. That's why AI used the "gulag" comparison earlier this week, and why Michael Isikoff and Newsweek decided to break the story that rampant abuse of printed material occurred at Gitmo. It's a deliberate attempt to undermine support for a war they don't like, and pathetically, Americans seem to have fallen for the hype.

Some Americans, however, have not. See Michelle Malkin, Austin Bay, and Instapundit for some comprehensive links.

UPDATE: I forgot to include a link to my friend and colleague Paul Mirengoff at Power Line, who also questions our sense of perspective. Also LaShawn Barber.

UPDATE II: We're talking about this on the air right now. Join us at 651-289-4488.

UPDATE III: The always-insightful Ed Driscoll makes an excellent point:

In other words, it's hypocrisy that hasn't been seen on this level since the left and the media (sorry to repeat myself) turned on a dime from claiming that Clarence Thomas trying to hit on Anita Hill was a Crime Against Humanity, but all of the charges that emanated from Bill Clinton's trousers was just between consenting adults.

If the media wants to claim that defacing the Koran in a POW camp full of captured terrorists is the crime of the century, then it needs to follow its own logic to its natural conclusion: no more claiming that "art" such as Piss Christ is a bold artistic statement. No more episodes like this on Law & Order and other TV shows, unless they're roundly condemned by the press. An article such as Rod Dreher's "The Godless Party" should be a multi-part investigative feature in the New York Times. There should be regular articles condemning the attacks of the ACLU against religious Christians or Christmas celebrations.

Because without a similar tone to coverage of religion in the US, Koran abuse stories at Gitmo looks exactly like it is: grandstanding hypocrisy of the worst order.


UPDATE IV: Bill at INDC Journal has a big issue with La Shawn's post -- and he's got a very good point. Be sure to read his entire argument. It's excellent.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 4, 2005 8:58 AM

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