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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Quotes of the Morning

"People are dead because of what this son of a b*tch said. How could he be credible now?"
-Lawrence DiRita, Pentagon Spokesman, as quoted in the May 23 Newsweek

“What could Mr. DiRita be so irate over? Apparently there was a report in the May 9 Newsweek stating that there had been a copy of the Koran flushed down the toilet at Guantanamo. This article was mentioned by some of the rioters who, over the weekend, caused about 15 deaths in Afghanistan. It seems that Newsweek’s government source changed his story after the article was released and now says that he had no proof that it happened. Of course the government is pissed. You might be too if all of the sudden our ‘good’ invaded country started acting up. It must have been the article, right?”

"The nature of where these things occurred, how quickly they occurred, the nature of individuals who were involved in it, suggest that they may be organized events that are using this alleged allegation as a pretext for activity that was already planned," said DiRita.
-Associated Press, May 14, 2005

“Mr. McClellan and other administration officials blamed the Newsweek article for setting off the anti-American violence that swept Afghanistan and Pakistan. "The report had real consequences," Mr. McClellan said. ‘People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged.’
But only a few days earlier, in a briefing on Thursday, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said that the senior commander in Afghanistan believed the protests had stemmed from that country's reconciliation process.
‘He thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine,’ General Myers said.”
-New York Times, May 17, 2005

“But.. DiRita was just blaming Newsweek. I don’t understand.”

“In fact, complaints from released inmates that the Koran had been thrown into a toilet go back at least two years.Among the more detailed accounts of United States soldiers mishandling copies of the Koran were depositions from three Britons who were released from Guantánamo in the summer of 2004. Asif Iqbal, one of the men, who were from Tipton, England, and had been captured in Afghanistan, said that guards ‘would kick the Koran, throw it in the toilet and generally disrespect it.’
Military officials dismissed the complaints as commanders at Guantánamo conducted media tours of the facility during which they emphasized steps taken to demonstrate respect for Islam. Inmates, they noted, were given copies of the Koran along with a cloth surgical mask, which they used as a kind of sling to suspend the book from the wire mesh walls to ensure it did not touch the floor.
The official accounts of Guantánamo began fraying in later months, as the International Committee of the Red Cross charged in a confidential report in November that the procedures at Guantánamo amounted to torture, and F.B.I. memorandums disclosed in December portrayed harsh and abusive treatment by interrogators. The F.B.I. memorandums, disclosed in a lawsuit, did not mention any mishandling of the Koran.
Last month, a former American interrogator confirmed to The New York Times an account given in an interview by a former Kuwaiti detainee, Nasser Nijer Naser al-Mutairi, who said that mishandling of the Koran once led to a major hunger strike. The strike ended only after a senior officer expressed regret over the camp's loudspeaker system, which was simultaneously translated by linguists at the end of each cell block, the former interrogator said.
In that case, the accusations were of copies of the Koran being tossed on the floor in a pile and treated roughly, but there was no assertion that any had been put in the toilet.”
-New York Times, May 17, 2005

“The stories didn’t start with Newsweek? Huh?..”

“Q: Can you 100 percent say for sure that it is wrong, that there were no incidents of American interrogators putting Korans in the toilets?
MR. McCLELLAN: I know of no such incidents. And the Department of Defense said last week that they could find no credible evidence of it either. They have looked into it.”
-Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan, May 16, 2005

“Ok.. I guess that the thing that DiRita’s so upset about is that Newsweek followed an obvious lie. This had already been found false in an investigation. Our interrogators (the one’s responsible for ripping toenails off of people, covering prisoners in feces and shoving lightsticks up bodily orifices) would never do anything like deface a book.”

“Q: Different issue. There have been protests in Pakistan over reports that investigation over abuses in Guantanamo has found that guards have apparently put Korans in the toilet. And I'm wondering if either of you can comment on whether that's accurate, or whether the investigation has found that, and what's being done about it?
MR. DIRITA: I can't speak to any particular -- I've not seen the reports on that specific point.
So I think where we are is that the commander is coordinating closely with the Department of Justice so that we have -- we can be as linked together as we need to be. He, I think, received some -- the commander received some initial assessments early, asked for some additional inquiries, and those have not been completed.
And I think we're probably -- because of the desire to make sure that we're working closely with other agencies, it's a little bit more complicated. And I think we're probably several weeks away from being able to say that the commander has made his final assessments there.”
-Defense Department Briefing, May 10, 2005

“Dang it.. You mean that the investigation isn’t done yet? Scotty must have been mistaken. At least we should be able to count on a level headed approach to this from our local politicians.”

“Rep. Deborah Pryce (Ohio), chairman of the House Republican Conference, urged every congressional office to cancel its Newsweek subscription. ‘Retraction and regrets will not atone for the reckless behavior of an irresponsible reporter and an overzealous publication,’ she said in a statement.
Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) used even stronger language, saying that Isikoff had ‘fabricated’ the Koran incident and branding Newsweek's behavior ‘criminal.’"
-Washington Post, May 18, 2005

“Yep.. Using bad information that leads to violence and death should be illegal. Let’s round up all of the people involved and lock them up.”

“QUESTION: Does it concern the President that the primary source for the intelligence on the mobile biological weapons labs was a guy that U.S. intelligence never every interviewed?
MCCLELLAN: Well, again, all these issues will be looked at as part of a broad review by the independent commission that the President appointed… But it’s important that we look at what we learn on the ground and compare that with what we believed prior to going into Iraq.”
-Press Gaggle with Scott McClellan, April 5, 2004


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