Excerpt from Lileks:
Stories like these must be told, of course, if only to show what the media finds important, and remind us how good things are going. I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:
What’s the main story? The smallpox quarantine? Fallout from the Iranian – Israeli exchange contaminating Indian crops? A series of bombings in heartland malls?
"Well, no – the big story today has to do with soldiers mishandling terrorists' holy texts at a detention center."
Mishandling? How? Like, you mean, they opened it up without first checking to see if it was ticking, and it blew up –
"No, they handled it in a way that disrespected it. Infidels are supposed to use gloves."
Oh. So we lost, then.
Don't get me wrong. I want us to do the right thing. I don't think there should be a policy that permits interrogators to treat the Qur'an like it was, oh, a Bible discovered in the Saudi airport customs line. But when it comes to the revelations of these Gitmo tales, I cannot care as much as they would like me to care. I cannot. Not to say we should treat the Qur’an with casual disrespect. But if an infidel touches the book with the wrong hand and people react like a two-year-old whose peas are touching the mashed potatoes, well, I understand why this matters, but when measured against the sins of headchoppery and carbombs, it pales to an evanescent translucence. Odd how the story isn’t about the rules and the precautions and the spine-cracking efforts to bend over backwards to make sure infidels get out the tongs when approaching the sacred book of the terrori – sorry, the detainees - Sorry, the murderous gynophobic gay-hating fundamentalist theocratic cultural imperialists. No, the story is the infinitesimal number of times in which the rules were breached over the course of years. It’s like doing a story about Wal-Mart’s employment practices, and following a story about forced overtime with an expose on expired non-dairy creamers in the breakroom. By hammering the tale for three weeks the MSM manages to dilute the impact of the beloved Abu Grabass scandal; pyramidal prisoners, wafting pee – all the same, all front page news. Of course, it’s all a seamless whole if your intention is to remind people of the three basic preconceptions of reporting on a war conducted by anyone whose initials aren’t JFK: the Pentagon lies, the troops are dullards and brutes, and Nixon is a criminal.