Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek Koran article Newsweek Koran article

We all know by now that Newsweek ran a story without any real evidence that the Marines at Gitmo flushed pages of the Koran down the toilet in order to intimidate prisoners. As a result, there was rioting in Afghanistan, etc., and at least 16 people died.

And, of course, there is no doubt that the Newsweek reporting was grossly negligent. Not only was it done on sparse (and ultimately, it turned out, nonexistent) evidence, but the magazine should also have realized the effect that its article would have on the Moslem world.

In other words, Newsweek was both venal and stupid.

However, my view is that if it hadn't been this article, it would have been something. Much of the rest of the world has a love/hate relationship with the United States. This is only natural. Many of us, running from the President down through me, believe this is the greatest country in the world. And we are not afraid to tell everyone that. We are the richest, have by far the most powerful military, and have more effect on the rest of the countries in the world, through our culture and economic power, than any combination of countries in the world today. In other words, we are arrogant, and probably for good reason.

What is tragic is that the people killed in the riots were mostly Moslem, killed by Moslems. This is very much akin to the race riots in this country, where most of the businesses burned during the riots were run by members of the same community doing the burning.

But I see these riots as inevitable. A symptom of bottled up anger, mostly, I suspect, at their position in life. For some, it was made worse by our intervention, as there were inevitabley losers, those who had benefitted from the old regimes.

But as long as those who were ready to riot didn't have a trigger, their anger just simmered. After all, we were, for the most part, doing good. But after awhile, all of our good starts to wear on people, esp. as we sometimes also tend to be somewhat self rightous about it.


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