Newsweek Story: Congressional Investigation?

Everybody is weighing in on this, e.g. Instapundit here. So I won’t repeat anything.

My one potentially novel idea is this. Republicans in Congress should open an investigation of Newsweek, to determine who leaked this, what the basis was for the leak, what the motive was for the leak. If there is some basis of truth in it, we should know that. If not, we should find out who is responsible for this, and if they are government employees who circulated a lie, they should be disciplined. An appropriate committee should subpoena Isikoff and his colleagues. Make them produce all emails, notes, correspondence, telephone records. We may well find that the motive for this was partisan damage to the President. That is what I would bet on. Whatever the actual facts may be, they need to be extracted and put out in clear daylight. The people involved should be questioned in a public hearing. All persons identified as involved in this action should be similarly subpoenaed and compelled to appear and testify under oath. If Isikoff says he has a privilege to protect his sources he should be held in contempt of Congress and punished.

This is needed. We need to get to the bottom of this. The United States has just suffered a global strategic defeat akin to Abu Ghraib, and many people have lost their lives, and many more will in the future, probably all based on a complete lie.

The political advantage here is that it would put the Democrats in the position of opposing the investigation and being seen as the protector of a news media that is irresponsible, partisan and destructive. Good. Let them be associated with this.

This story must not be allowed to die down. The news media will try to bury it. But it should bury them.

UPDATE: If you have a Republican Congressman, I request that you send this idea along. I have a D congressman and two D senators, onlinepharmacytabs unfortunately.

UPDATE II: Some commenters questioned whether a Congressional investigation was appropriate in this case. Take a look at this report, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, entitled Congressional Investigations:

Subpoenas and Contempt Power.

Although the congressional power to investigate is not expressly provided for
in the Constitution, the framers understood that legislatures must oversee the
executive branch. Under British precedents, lawmakers were expected to hold
administrators accountable. James Wilson, one of the framers and later a Justice on
the Supreme Court, expected the House of Representatives to “form the grand
inquest of the state. They will diligently inquire into grievances, arising both from
men and things.” In an essay in 1774, he described members of the British House
of Commons as “grand inquisitors of the realm. The proudest ministers of the
proudest monarchs have trembled at their censures; and have appeared at the bar of
the house, to give an account of their conduct, and ask pardon for their faults.”

Congress has sweeping investigative powers, and always has, and that is how it was meant to be. It is not meant to only have a legislative function, but to have a supervisory function over the executive branch, and it has always had the power to issue subpoenas to government officials and to private citizens to compel production of documents and attendance at hearings.

Also, the comments show that I was not clear. I don’t want Newsweek to be the focus of the investigation. I agree that they will likely be punished in the marketplace for this activity. I want the Newsweek people called as witnesses. The point is to investigate the government’s own people, to find out if (1) the allegations have any truth to them, or (2) if not, determine who said these things and why did they say them and penalize them appropriately.

UPDATE III: Wow a Salon-A-Lanche. Cool, I guess. All I can say is, read the post, since the guy on Salon got some of it wrong. If you still think I’m totally nuts, please feel free to excoriate me, politely, in the comments.

72 thoughts on “Newsweek Story: Congressional Investigation?”

  1. Agreed. However, I doubt the Democrats would oppose a Congressional investigation. There is very little political upside, and huge downside, for them to do so.

  2. A congressional investigation of the media by the Republicans? I think that the idea is right, but this is a far cry from the story that’ll get that ball rolling.

    To begin with, it’s not obviously wrong, yet. It’s also been reported in several other places, including prominently in at least one book about interogations at Gitmo. Plus, it does actually look like Newsweek did some due diligence, including seeking a comment early from a “U.S. official” who chose not to comment.

    So do we start an investigation every time the media reports something that “might” be wrong? I mean come on that opens up a huge can of worms.

    The fact that there was muslim overreaction really begs the question why there was such an over-reaction. Not why such a think got to print because for all intents and purposes, it was already in print.

    Besides, we’re not exactly holding the news media’s feet to the fire for allowing US boys and girls to die in Iraq when it turned out that government sources were flat out wrong on the weapons of mass destruction issue. Nor, do I think that the media should be held to account for that.

    Though, it has been a sad, sad decade for corporate media.

  3. Newsweek got a lot of people killed by lying in print. Hell, yes! Investigate the bastards. There is a great need for cleaning these dirtbags out of positions of such great responsibility.
    Bringing democracy to the stone-age muslim lands is hard enough without these media saboteurs trying to destroy a noble effort.

    And to the commenter above, begging the question doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  4. I also noticed that the recent incident in Pakistan where a jihadi tossed a grenade into a girls’ school, killing two women, elicited not a bit of comment from these same Afghani and Saudi clerics. Perhaps it is just my ignorance of the finer points of their theology, but they seem to have a rather flexible view of ethics, at least as it concerns actions by them or their disciples.

  5. In theory, I could sympathize with Newsweek. After all, if they had run a story of a Muslim flushing pages from the Bible down the toilet, nobody would have expected Christians to start burning Saudi Arabian flags or killing Muslims. I wonder why?

  6. This strikes me as a reasonable (not necessarily partisan) approach. Cleaning cupboards, I just head Howie Kurtz criticize Newsweek. It was a pretty sorry sight – by the time he was through the pentagon seemed equally at fault for not complaining soon enough. Well, maybe. Still I’d like to see how the hell MSM would cover such an investigation. MSM doesn’t understand responsibility. I hope our day jobs help us remember actions & words have consequences.

    People did not die from standing on chairs or posing naked. The Abu Ghraib people do belong in jail; the question is, what does Isikoff deserve? And yes, it would be nice if the Muslims weren’t crazy and hypocritical. (Their respect for the Bible, for instance, reflects no right to throw stones.) And, yes, this may derive in a weird sort of way from msm’s definituion of art: putting a crucifix in urine and dung on a madonna. It must be really, really hard for such reporters to view the world as others do (even those merely across town).

    I doubt hurting Bush was primary – though related. MSM has long believed the worst of the military, then the worst of anyone they define as responsible (since they clearly have no sense of what responsibiity is, they pretty much transfer that to anything they associate with the patriarchy – e.g., politicians, the armed forces)? Bush is interwoven with these two. If Clinton were president, I suspect they’d be as quick to believe ill of those in the military, as quick to blame authority–just more likely to distance these from the presidency. The fact that then they didn’t see responsibility and maturity interwoven with the presidency is not a compliment to Clinton.

  7. What does Isikoff deserve?
    At minimum, that he pay compensation to the familes of those who were killed.
    C’mon, let’s have a bit of direct responsibility round here.

  8. The problem is that the Dems will wrap themselves in the 1st Amendment and whine censorship (without ever blushing at their hypocrisy).

  9. Haven’t I heard somewhere that Freedom of Speech does not include shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater??

  10. During Rathergate CBS said they ran their phony story past a WH spokesperson who didn’t tell them they were wrong– they concluded their story was accurate. This time Izzy sez he ran it past a Pentagon muckety who didn’t tell them he was wrong– he concluded the story was accurate. So this is what modern journalism is. 1)Make up a story or accept one peddled to you for whatever reason 2)If nobody denies it, run with it 3)During the blowback phase blame the unnamed folks who didn’t deny. 4)Always use anonymopus sources so know one knows who said what and who leaked. What a racket.

  11. Mr Coleman,

    You missed the part about accepting responsibility there when you dissed the libertarians. That is the big diff between the MSM/LLL and the libertarians/republicans. The libertarians/republicans know what it means. The MSM/LLL think it doesn’t apply to them.

  12. What was your position on a Congressional investigation to find the source who outed Valerie Plame (you know — an actual crime)? Just asking.

  13. Hmm… according to your search engine, you don’t have one. Valerie Plame doesn’t return any results. Interesting. So definite crimes that help the administration are ok, but Newsweek should be investigated for reporting a source checked allegation by a senior government official who now says /he/ may have been wrong.

    As I said. Interesting.

  14. Ronald Coleman is right. There should not be a Congressional investigation if there is no crime. The administration should find out the leaker and fire him, but this is not a matter for the state’s coercive power of subpoenas and forced testimony under oath. It’s more a case of a disloyal employee and should be handled that way.

    As for Newsweek, I suspect that their circulation figures will be punishment enough, unless the US losses are offset by an Arabic edition.

  15. Mitch: Concur. The story in question is just one more nail in the coffin for MSM. Interesting poll on MNBC today revealed that some 60% of the public has doubts about the objective of the major news media while 70% of the reporters/journalists surveyed thought the media was doing a good job. Appears that the MSM wears blinders or just don’t really give a damn what the public thinks. Reminds me of an old enlisted man’s adage about officers treating him like a mushroom ” keep us in the dark and feed us shit.”

  16. Mitch, congressional investigations don’t have anything to do with “crimes”. They have the authority to investigate anything they want, particularly the operation of the government. They have investigatory power and they can use it. Reference to a “crime” is simply off the mark.

    Further, if this is true, it is a huge deal and heads should roll. If it is a lie then the person involved should be identified and fired. I see no reason why it should be done quietly.

  17. GUYK, I don’t really give a damn about the MSM losing some more business. A bunch of people are DEAD and America’s strategy for dealing with the Muslim world has just suffered a huge blow. No matter what Newsweek does, we all know that this story will be believed and circulated over there. If this was an intentional falsehood, the person responsible should be punished severely. If it is actually true, then the people running Guantanamo and those they report to need to get their priorities in order. Either way, this should be dug into and the facts aired.

  18. Newsweek’s reckless behavior got people killed. It also harmed our alliances and war effort and therefore may get more people killed in the future. I don’t see why Congressional scrutiny of this affair isn’t warranted. It’s not a prosecution. I don’t know if Newsweek broke any laws, but the issue of Newsweek’s legal liability pales before the more important question of how, for the good of the country, to reduce the risk of such events happening in future.

    It may be that Congressional investigators would conclude that no official action is warranted. However, I do not think that Congressional investigation per se is less appropriate in this case than it is for other military disasters, which is what this event is.

  19. Who is going to investigate the mullahs who are using this incident to stir up trouble and undermine a legitimate, albeit a weak, government?

  20. Sulaiman, I nominate Isikoff for that investigation, for a punishment. Isikoff should be sent around the madrassas of the middle east, central Asia and Pakistan to ask people if they have heard this story and if they believe it and if they heard Newsweek’s retraction. I bet he’d get a lot of interesting responses, some verbal, some flying lead, some knives. If he survived his tour, he could write about how these sick rumors take on a life of their own over there.

  21. What was your position on a Congressional investigation to find the source who outed Valerie Plame (you know — an actual crime)? Just asking.

    Of course, there was an investigation, as I’m sure you must be aware.

    But….didn’t John Kerry recently name a CIA operative in an open hearing? I suppose you want to see him behind bars for that crime? Just Asking. Funny how that ‘outing’ never got the coverage that the Plame Affair got. Strictly section B, page 23 treatment. No Newsweek cover stories or anything. Reported quietly, then the story was buried. Odd that. Really, really odd.

    So do we start an investigation every time the media reports something that “might” be wrong? I mean come on that opens up a huge can of worms.

    Do we have investigations when other members of society commit acts that cause death? Usually. If Merck markets a drug without proper vetting and people die are they held responsisble? Usually yes. And it usually costs them dearly. Is GM held responsible for sloppy engineering that causes death? Usually yes. Why is Newsweek to be treated differently? Why do these people get to cause deaths and walk away as if nothing happened?

    Let me ask you this. If I publish a story in the NYT citing an unimpeachable source on Newsweek’s staff that Fareed Zakaria (editor) is actually a propagandist on Al Queda’s payroll, then his house firebombed and his family roasted alive, do I have any responsibilty for those deaths if I’m wrong about my claim? Or do I get to walk away and say, ‘Gee, tough luck. Sorry.’

    Just asking.

  22. Pick your battles, guys. There is no way to prove bias, at least not to the satisfaction of its beneficiaries. CBS stands as a case in point. What can be gained by pursuing it? Do you expect favorable coverage of the investigation in the MSM, or will there be a lot of 1st Amendment hand-wringing?

    I would have no objection at all if Newsweek’s DC correspondents were uninvited from White House press conferences. They don’t invite a representative from the Weekly World News, which is not much less reliable and is far more entertaining.

    Yes, people were killed, but Newsweek didn’t kill them. Worse lies are printed every day in the Arabic press. This article was only an excuse. The blame lies with the holy cutthroats and their saintly spiritual advisors.

  23. Congress should stay out — an investigation would look too partisan and be attacked — not without reason — as an attack on the First Amendment.

    It seems to me the only two clear avenues of legal attack are through either the civil or criminal justice systems:

    The most fun would be if some hotshot tort lawyers get in touch with the next of kin of the victims of the rioting and go after Newsweek and all the individuals involved in a wrongful death suit. The discovery process would be delicious.

    Less satisfying is to just go after the bastards for treason — “aid and comfort to the enemy” and all that. Again, this is probably political suicide for the Bush admin, but I will tell you, I am a libertarian and very skeptical of government in general. But if I were on the jury and the facts of the case were as bad as they look right now — a deliberate and conscious attempt to injure American efforts and American military personnel in time of war — it would be very hard to vote “not guilty.”

  24. At a minimum, I’d think a series of wrongful death lawsuits, filed in a civil court against Newsweek and Isikoff, are in order here. If a doctor can be successfully sued for millions for making an oversight that results in a death, why not Isikoff? Why not Newsweek? I think a successful $100 million lawsuit against a major media company might make them all a little more careful about what they print.

    They’ll squirm and squeel and complain but it’ll be a useful lesson for them and a useful result for society at large.

  25. I’ve disseminated the gist of this post elsewhere… seems that dealing with Newsweek’s ilk involves resuscitating the antique concept of “seditious libel”. You will find the Left opposed, because seditiously libelling all-and-sundry is what they do. But the concept has substantive, apolitical meaning– especially in wartime (delared or undeclared), especially when agitprop partisans slur their country’s serving military forces.

    In 1974, Attorney General Mitchell never prosecuted Kerry for aiding and abetting North Vietnam, but his treasonous acts in Paris as a serving Naval officer (actually cashiered) could and should have suffered legal consequence. Since politics trumps such cases, we can only expect more retro-Left assaults as time goes on. The more Bush succeeds, the more will Newsweek manifest its pique by venting any and all slanders its inventive editors dream up.

    There are indeed free-press/free-speech issues here, but there are also questions relating directly to Armed Forces morale and even safety. After forty years, is it not possible than some official, somewhere, might take his “preserve and protect” Oath seriously?

    Don’t hold your breath.

  26. Dick, it’s funny that you took my comments as a slam at libertarians. I simply set up the juxtaposition and you inferred the slam. Subsquent commenters have seen my point. Congressional investigations are power plays, voter-financed campaign commercials that virtually never result in meaningful policy-making; this as good as defines them to be abuses of government power.

    No, I’m not a libertarian, but that doesn’t mean I want the government — especially Congress, for Heaven’s sake — involved every time there’s an outrage. I’d say the Virtual Hand is doing just fine at it right now.

  27. Re: “So definite crimes that help the administration are ok, but Newsweek should be investigated”

    1. Complaining about an inconsistency between the Plame affair and the Newsweek scandal by citing a lack of posts on the former is fallacious. It erroneously argues that the lack of evidence equals evidence of a lack.

    2. Such an approach moves the topic to one you prefer to defend (even though l’affaire Plame has fizzled out, finding no evidence of any crime having occured).

    3. Newsweek has been the direct cause of more than a dozen deaths in wartime due to its reporting. Simple error or no, I am no longer of a mind to grant Newsweek’s editors the benefit of the doubt here. They have simply offered more proof that they’re not just indifferent to America’s fight, they’re on the other side.

  28. I can’t believe the reaction this story is eliciting. Newsweek may be guilty of sloppy, biased reporting in a blatant politicized slam story, but no way are they responsible for the riots and resulting deaths. They did NOT shout “fire” in a crowded theater, they reported on a fire and thugs on another continent started torching theaters.

    This business of having to shield the Middle East from every perceived slight is exactly what we are trying to change here. We are NOT responsible for their every tantrum, and when their paranoid hypersensitivities collide with our free speech ethos, we damn well better be able to make the principled decision because it is OUR freedoms that will be eroded if we don’t.

  29. ArtDodger, the problem, as far as I’m concerned, is the origin of this story. Is it true? If so it is stupid and irresponsible. We are in a hearts-and-minds struggle and we should not be doing things that can harm that effort. If, as I suspect, it is a load of crap, why was it leaked to Newsweek, by whom, for what purpose? Isikoff, et al. are irresponsible but probably not sanctionable.

  30. Newsweek started the ball rolling causing over a dozen deaths and counting. Newsweek provided the activation energy that enabled the deadly reaction. Newsweek is responsible for providing the child-like followers of murder minded mullahs with an excuse to kill.

  31. “Newsweek may be guilty of sloppy, biased reporting…but no way are they responsible for the riots and resulting deaths”…it’s certainly true that the direct responsibility is with those who did the rioting and killing. However, Newsweek’s hands are by no means clean. Here’s an analogy: The year is 1958, and racial tensions in the U.S. are high–the KKK is very active. A major southern newspaper hears a rumor about black men insulting and assaulting white women. The rumor is false…but without adequate investigation, they publish it. Riots follow, and several people are lynched.

    I don’t think many people would consider the newspaper innocent, and I don’t think this situation is very different.

  32. David – I presume you take a bunch of Muslim fanatics as KKK and Newsweek as their newspaper?

    My take is that the US government should flatly deny the charge if this is the case. It should also tell the whole world that in a free society, idiots are free to express their opinions whenever, wherever and however they wish. US diplomats should also tell the world that Newsweek, unlike the publications of the Arab world, is NOT an instrument or an agency of the US government and everything they report on may or may not be true but our free institutions do not allow us to shut their mouths like it is regularly done in most of Islamic and almost all Arab world.

    I see any Congressional investigation of Newsweek as an attack on civil liberties … it is exactly this right for which American soldiers have put their lives on the firing line. Bowing to Arab pressure, while their state-controlled press keeps putting out conspiracy theories, is a huge step back in the war against terror.

  33. “We are in a hearts-and-minds struggle and we should not be doing things that can harm that effort.” Lex, what “we” is this? A centrally emanating directive like this can only be enforced by a coercive authority. A (classically) liberal society has no business imposing such a directive on its decentralized citizens and institutions.

    I am more than willing to censure Newsweek as a private citizen for their extremely poor judgment and their extremely bad motives. But I draw the line at evoking the apparatus of the state to coerce their actions – so maybe “responsible but not sanctionable” is an okay way to put it. What I’m worried about here is winding up with a bunch of European-style pussy laws stipulating that thou shalt never insult the prophet, and thou must utter a blessing every time his name is invoked. Muslims need to grow a thicker skin like the rest of us, and indulging them by shifting the blame to the infidels yet again does not aid that process.

  34. I thought Lex’s point was to find out who in the government reported this “fact” so casually. Congress does have a right and responsibility to discourage areas it oversees from passing disinformation (either from stupidity or malice, from a desire to be an important source for ego reasons or passing on rumors because of cynicism).

  35. Ginny, right.

    I just want Newsweek to puke out what it knows about the people in the Government who told them this story. I want them brought in as witnesses. If, in the course of that, we find out that the Newsweek personnel are malicious, irresponsible idiots, that’s gravy.

  36. “Lex, what “we” is this?” The United States, its government, its military and its people.

    “A (classically) liberal society…” We don’t live in a (classically) liberal society. We live in the United States, 2005. Nor are we going to live in a (classically) liberal society in the future. We will live in the United States in 2006, 2007, etc.

    The only actions I wanted coerced on Newsweek is the disclosure of everyone involved in generating this story from within the United States government. That is well within the scope of Congress’s investigatory powers.

    Sulaiman I am in agreement with you. But I do believe that the sources for this story should be rooted out, and the most direct way to do that is to call in the Newsweek people as witnesses. That is not an invasion of their civil liberties any more than you or I being subpoenaed as a witness would be. In a free society you are obliged to comply with the ordinary workings of the government and a Congressional subpoena is part of those ordinary operations.

  37. Actually, if the “leaker” did not see the explosive nature of these items, something may be wrong with the training or culture of (DOD? Army? State?). Or the “leaker.” Or both.

    Such problems may be inevitable however justifiably we may fault the leaker, the reporter & the magazine. This is a clash between a culture which believes, as most of us do, that ideas should be debated and bad ones killed versus a culture insistent that anyone who holds a bad opinion should be killed.

    The latter way of looking at things remains a temptation. (See Rauch’s “In Defense of Prejudice” condemnation of such “purism” in modern society.) But, more importantly, our society’s belief in this vision makes communication with a society which firmly believes that such thoughts should be (and apparently believe they can be) eradicated. Communication between these visions is likely to be problematic and the “absolutist” or “purist” is likely to always be angered by something, somewhere, in our culture.

    We often have trouble understanding Europe, which is a good deal closer to the “purist” vision than we. Of course, if Europe misunderstands our marketplace of ideas, how much more must the Middle East. And how hard will it be for us to get our minds around the way they see the world. (I’m pretty sure we’ve got a more successful solution to these problems, but that doesn’t mean that they acknowledge or even understand that success. And it doesn’t mean we don’t have to note that difference if we really want to communicate with them.)

    Cheerful note: The fact that the “street” did not rise up over this article in Iraq may mean that that open marketplace of ideas that must (more or less) precede democracy is not a foreign concept there. Of course, it probably also means they have something better to do.

  38. GROW UP REPUGNICANS. People were getting killed on an almost daily basis in Afghanistan for the last 2 years. The riots started before the Newsweek article came out and various military commanders in Afghanistan say it has nothing to do with the riots. Why is it never Bush Policies getting people killed?

  39. If Drudge is to be believed (note this is one of his “exclusives” so is probably needs other sources) Isikoff “was told he would not be sacrificed, we are standing behind him 100%,” a top magazine source told the DRUDGE REPORT. “We do not, I repeat, do not let this White House, any White House, make our staff decisions for us.” Did the White House ask for Isikoff’s head? I doubt it. Is this their form of retreat – blaming the Pentagon for not researching their story and the White House for the bad publicity? So far their attitude has been, well, pathetic.

    On the other hand, Lex’s desire for a congressional investigation may be problematic if, as Drudge reports the White House believes, the “leak” came from Congress. (If so, it would surely be a partisan and should have been questioned – but then Drudge’s source, too, is openly partisan.)

  40. The Newsweek story is NOT a “global strategic defeat akin to Abu Ghraib” nor is it a blow to the great image of the US around the world. Our foreign policy for the past 5 years has done that admirably. The hypocrisy of the White House and this columnist is appalling. It shows how little Americans understand how U.S. policies affect other countries and how history is a culminating force. Newsweek didn’t damage the US image. Bush and the neoCONmen did that all by themselves.

  41. Correct me if I am wrong, but the reporter for this (Isikoff) was also the one who broke the Monica Lewinsky and paula jones “scandals” ?

  42. Marais,

    Actually, I think the implicit argument on this thread is that we are appalled by the intolerance such a gesture would imply and that we do see that as representing something inconsistent with our values. You, clearly, have a different idea of what our country stands for and what actions you would see appropriate in defining this country.

    We are not being hypocritical, we just begin with the belief that Americans (like all others) are likely to act in ways that are sometimes unsympathetic, wrong, or even evil. Therefore, we want to know who is responsible, because we see actors as responsible. But we also believe in certain values for which the risk of life is worthwhile. That you do not believe this is not unreasonable and may not be wrong. But that does not make us hypocrits.

  43. {The political advantage here is that it would put the Democrats in the position of opposing the investigation and being seen as the protector of a news media that is irresponsible, partisan and destructive. Good. Let them be associated with this.}

    Wrong. The democrats would welcome such an investigation. Let’s get those sources out, particularly the documents that the administration refuses to release about prisoner treatment. Let’s figure out which document the Newsweek source read, and then figure out why it didn’t make it into the official report.

    Let’s reexamine the credibility of the other reports of desecration of the Koran, as well as the pattern of abuse of prisoners, including cultural and religious humiliation that is alreadyin the public record. Let’s find out why Miller went off to Gitmoize abu Graib, and what that process entailed.

    No, the republicans will not want to have such an investigation. You can be sure that such an investigation will never happen. If some Republican were to propose it, I’m sure the media, especially Newsweek, would greet the opportunity enthusiastically. And that the administration would shut it right down.

  44. Jay, if what you are saying is true, it should come out. If you are right the Ds should want to dig in on this. I could live with that. If the Gitmo prison is being run in a way that is going to become Abu Ghraib II then the sooner we find out and fix it the better.

    You and I disagree about what would come to light, but we are both guessing.

  45. “…various military commanders in Afghanistan say it has nothing to do with the riots.”

    Mad Matt, this is not what I am seeing. Provide a link to something saying this.

    It is OK if you call me a Repugnican. This time.

  46. Are you people all insane, or just stupid?

    “Newsweek’s reckless behavior got people killed. It also harmed our alliances and war effort and therefore may get more people killed in the future.”

    Do you think people in ‘the Muslim world’ might just be angry because of a few little illegal, immoral things such as Camp X-Ray, Abu Ghraib, blah blah. . .

    The rest of my comment was deleted because I am too much of a jerk to make a reasonable argument without insulting the people who run this blog. I should have based my argument on facts and logic rather than personal attacks and reckless, unsupported assertions.

  47. Yes, the Arab Street has arisen because of Bush. Their anger is translated into inflamed actions such as those we have seen in Lebanon.

  48. Muslims decapitate their prisoners. At Abu Ghraib the americans put panties on the prisoners’ heads. You can see the equivalence, both forms of mistreatment involving the head . . .

    Easy to see why the 1 trillion muslims in the world are all so angry at GW Bush. No doubt Bush flushes Korans down the White House toilet every night, giggling all the while. Yes, Newsweek, you can quote me on that.

  49. Ok Lex, since I must admit I didn’t address your point about investigating a government leak, I’ll make one more comment. My opinion: this significance of this whole event is perceived – and is – determined much much more by the Afghan reaction than by the gravity of any rules that were broken or bad motives that were betrayed. Right now we have a situation where someone apparently trying to sabotage the Middle East reform effort – be they government or media – is coming off very poorly, and everybody knows it (witness the agitated tone of some of the drive-by commenters on this thread). I just think that making a literal federal case out of it would be overplaying that hand.

  50. madmatt – Bush’s policies stopped bloodshed in Afghanistan. Apparently you seem to be totally ignorant of what was happening in the country during 1978-2001 period. Yes, there are elements of Taliban who are still stirring up trouble in Afghanistan but the country as a whole has not seen this kind of peace since mid-70s. And the major metropolitan areas in Afghanistan are bursting with growth since Taliban were trashed by George Bush. Please get your facts straight before you make a judgment.

  51. Thank you for this interesting discussion, which I have referenced in a comment at wizbangblog. I thought I was a lone voice over there, commenting on the need for some national security attention to the bigger picture, until I found you “boyz.” (My late husband was from Chicago, so I’ll be your honorary Chicago-gal if you’ll adopt me.)

    I would lean more towards an FBI or Homeland Security investigation (or CTU, if we could recruit “Jack” Kiefer Sutherland :) …he’d do what’s necessary and get it done in 24 Hours!)

    Not an investigation of Newsweek as part of the free press, but of the source(s) and their possible prior connection and collaboration with hostiles such as the Pakistani opposition politician, Imran Khan, whose 6 May press conference used the 9 May edition of Newsweek to give the green light for the demonstrations to start in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the rest of the Moslem world. If the seemingly well-coordinated and advance-organized demonstrations’ ringleaders were waiting for the Newsweek edition to hit the streets, that would indicate prior knowledge of its content and forthcoming release. That’s what interests me. (If Isikoff et al were knowingly involved, then that will be discovered too.) But it’s the hidden snake in the grass further on the source chain that should be of interest from a national security viewpoint.

  52. i agree that investigating newsweek inflates the absurd claim that we are the problem. when the arab media take responsibility for the real source of outrage things will change. newsweek is a convenient scapegoat for them to behave like fools. they must not be given any excuse to begin to manage themselves properly.

  53. Just when I had drifted away from most MSM, you guys come along. You guys, most of you, are nuts!
    Wrongful death suits my butt. Imaging tens of housands of them directed at the US Gov. or Don Rumsfeld for so cavalierly taking lives in an unwarranted and, as it turns out, unnecessary war would be fun, eh? BTW, you sickos who can’t contain your anger at anyone who expresses an opposing view or dissent really need therapy or at least to reconsider what it means to be an American.

  54. Keenan, did you read the post? From one sicko to another, what does anything I wrote have to do with “expressing an opposing view or dissent”? You seem to have a canned tirade that you were ready to type whether it was on point or not.

    I agree about wrongful death suits, actually. Not possible. What a sick suggestion. So, see we sickos can agree on some things. How sick is that? What a sick world.

  55. “many people have lost their lives, and many more will in the future, probably all based on a complete lie.”

    You mean like Iraqi WMDs? Oh sorry, that WAS a complete lie. Mmmm Nigerian Yellow Cake.

    The “Newsweek Riots” have resulted in 20 lives lost and most likely had little to nothing to do with the newsweek article. How many soldiers have died in Iraq? How many civilians?

  56. For a minute there I thought you were talking about investigating the Bush Administration’s still unsolved illegal ‘outting’ of a CIA operative which put our national security and the lives of countless CIA operatives and their sources in harm’s way. But of course you silly deluded Republican would never see the parallel.

  57. Robert Novak is extremely proud of the reporting done by Newsweek on this item. As far as he is concerned it is in the highest standards of Conservative journalism everywhere.

  58. Patrick,

    If the Plame “outing” is “still unsolved” how do you know who did it? And what, other than a boost to her husband’s book-writing career, was the consequence? I don’t remember hearing about anyone getting hurt, so pardon my skepticism about any supposed parallels between that case and the current one.

    BTW, I think that Robert Novak should have been forced to reveal who his source was.


    So are you saying that the most important thing here is that somebody, in your view, was hypocritical? Or are you saying that the consequences of Newsweek’s recklessness are unimportant?

  59. D.S.
    Here’s some evidence that the “Yellow-Cake” fiasco was, well, not accidental.

    Ever read the U.K. Telegraph? This bonzer headline says it all: Agent Behind Fake Uranium Documents Worked for France

    In his article the Telegraph’s Bruce Johnston writes that we and the Brits were set up. Liz at the Blonde Sense Blog cuts straight to the grist of the Telegraph piece:

    “Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade “yellowcake” uranium from Niger, France was trying to “set up” Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.”

    It looks like the anti-war crowd in the U.N., America and beyond took the bait – hook, line and sinker.

  60. by all means investigate away….BUT ONLY AFTER 1ST INVESTIGATING THIS..PLEASE!!!!

    [see below]
    The secret Downing Street memo


    From: Matthew Rycroft
    Date: 23 July 2002
    S 195 /02

    cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


    Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

    This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.


  61. Jay, if what you are saying is true, it should come out. If you are right the Ds should want to dig in on this. I could live with that. If the Gitmo prison is being run in a way that is going to become Abu Ghraib II then the sooner we find out and fix it the better.

    You and I disagree about what would come to light, but we are both guessing. –Lex

    I agree that I share with you a desire to know the truth, and frankly, I’d be happier if I were wrong.

    But the evidence is pretty deep at this point, and the only response from the people defending the Pentagon is to blame the “bad apples” and impugn those offering evidence.

    Annie Appelbaum does a good job of summarizing that evidence. It’s not incontrovertible, but, as Bogie said in “The Maltese Falcon,” look at the number of them. So, yes, I do hope that a thorough investigation takes place. We could start with a release of the Southern Command report.

    In fairness, would you agree that the Pentagon or the republicans resisting such an investigation would, at least, weaken the view that the use of desecration and religious humiliation didn’t take place? For me, the stifling of the post-Taguba investigation was evidence enough.

  62. “…various military commanders in Afghanistan say it has nothing to do with the riots.”

    NYTimes yesterday, among others:

    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.

  63. I should add to that comment that these demonstrations were apparently planned for some time, and that even if they were spontaneous, there are plenty of other things that these extremists could have used to incite the crowds.

    It’s certainly not plausible that thousands of Afghans or Pakistanis went charging into the streets shortly after their issue of Newsweek arrived.

    Moreover, if the administration’s concern was over loss of life in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the last thing they should have done was trumpeted the story and insisted on a retraction. Extremists in Afghanistan are not going to regard a government retraction of a news story as anything other than a coverup, which adds lying about the desecration to the mix.

    This is about domestic power politics, not loss of life in Afghanistan, as far as the administration is concerned.

  64. There should be an investigation. If the allegations are true, we should consider changing some of our policies and/or training our interrogators better. Anne Applebaum would do better to make her case directly than to use the old “some critics say” ploy, but I think she is essentially right in arguing against use of interrogation techniques that appear to be both humiliating and ineffective.

    Where I don’t agree with her is on her defense of the Newsweek people. They are not mere messengers: they are citizens like the rest of us, and they should no more be let off the hook because they are journalists than the military people should be exempt from scrutiny because they’re doing important work in a war. (I don’t mean that the govt should punish Newsweek, BTW.) We are all in this together. Newsweek should have known better than to rush to distribute a story that was guaranteed to be inflammatory in the Muslim world.

  65. The Periscope item in Newsweek’s May 9th edition of sedition consists of only two paragraphs. The alleged abuses are in paragraph one. The big lie is in paragraph two (“These findings, expected in an upcoming report by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami.”)

    The consequences of Newsweek’s and its source’s irresponsibility in propagating this inflammatory lie are much more than what has been focused on re Afghanistan.

    In Pakistan, where Imran Khan’s May 6th press conference hinged on Newsweek’s lie and gave the green light to the subsequent demonstrations worldwide, there are far worse consequences developing – to India and to the West. The inherent threat in a toppling of Pres. Musharraf is that he would be replaced by an extremist Islamic regime who can use and share Pakistan’s nuclear capacity.

  66. To illustrate the magnitude of what’s going on in Pakistan, I’ve put together a timeline from NYT article of 5/17/05:

    5/6/05 (Friday) – Pakistani opposition politician, Imran Khan’s press conference in Pakistan. [My comment: He was a well-chosen front man for this op – the country’s ex-cricket star.]

    5/6/05 “…in mass protests called by the Islamist parties, Pakistanis took to the streets holding aloft “death to America” banners…’

    “For the next several days, the report dominated the front pages of English and Urdu-language newspapers in Pakistan and became the center of debate in the Pakistan Parliament.”

    5/7/05 (Saturday) – Musharraf’s govt tries to do damage control with their own statement condemning the reported desecration and calling for an inquiry.

    5/9/05 (Monday) – Official date of Newsweek edition containing the desecration allegations. But Imran Khan already had either a paper copy or a fax from his handlers which he used at his press conference 3 days earlier.

    5/11/05 (Wednesday) etc. – Afghanistan: “On Wednesday, stone throwers were out on the streets. Along with local government offices, the Pakistani consulate was attacked apparently as a symbol of Pakistani aid for United States intervention in Afghanistan. By Friday, the protests had spread to several other towns in Afghanistan, and by nightfall, 17 people were dead and more than 100 wounded.”

    5/13/05 (Friday) – “…a coalition of Islamist parties seized on the Newsweek report to accuse General Musharraf’s government of colluding with the West against Islam. But the criticism was not limited to the religious right. Legislators from across the political spectrum denounced the reported desecration, and by Friday, May 13, Parliament had passed a unanimous resolution condemning it.”

    5/14/05 (Saturday) Pentagon spokesman DiRita noted:
    “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.”


    Yes, organized events, and part of that organization was a hidden source using Newsweek in the same way OBL’s minions use Al Jazeera to trigger events. The bait to the Islamic masses was in paragraph 1, but the code words signaling the green light for the worldwide operation to begin were in paragraph 2.

  67. A Republican-led investigation in to the media?


    My BULLSHIT Detector just went thru the roof.

    Fox News?

    What a feast you would provide progressives…

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