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A Study in Abuse

The media ignores the facts about Koran abuse and piles on the Army.

11:30 AM, Jun 6, 2005 • By JOHN HINDERAKER
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Anti-Americanism in foreign news coverage is perhaps not surprising. Here at home, however, the slant was not much different. The San Francisco Chronicle, not previously known for its solicitude for things spiritual, headlined: "U.S. Tells How Koran Was Defiled". The Los Angeles Times echoed, "Pentagon: Koran Defiled". Newsday wrote, "Quran Abuses Verified", while ABC headlined, "U.S. Confirms Gitmo Soldier Kicked Quran". Such headlines could be multiplied indefinitely. Many papers dwelt especially on the few drops of urine that inadvertently landed on a Koran, which inevitably prompts the recollection that only 16 years ago, the federal government not only tolerated the immersion of a crucifix in a jar of urine as a work of "art," but actually paid for it.

It seems that the Army--or maybe it's the United States--just can't win. It is almost inconceivable that the Hood report could have been more favorable to the Guantanamo guards and interrogators, yet the international and American press treated it as a confession of wrongdoing, at times with a hint that the Newsweek allegation had proven true after all. Little (frequently, nothing) was made of the fact that it was the Muslim detainees, not American guards or interrogators, who had perpetrated precisely the acts that were the excuse for anti-American riots in the Muslim world.

No matter how virtuous American conduct may be, the many members of the press raise the bar higher, with no regard for the realities of warfare, the inevitable sordidness of prison life, or the frailties of human nature. It is hard to see any purpose in this hypercriticism--no other country, except perhaps Israel, is held to such an extraordinary standard--other than to make it impossible for the United States to detain and interrogate prisoners. Or to fight a war.

John Hinderaker is a contributor to the blog Power Line and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard.