Now the lunatic fringe, which, alas, rules the country, and has aspirations to rule the world, says the Koran-in-the-toilet story was a lie--and people died. Newsweek immediately rolls over on its back exposing its soft underbelly and whines O Yes We Lied We're Sorry, O, So Very Sorry, Please Don't Hurt Us.
At this point it's best to take a few deep breaths. A lie. And people died.
OK. If you pause a moment to think about it, neither you, dear reader, nor I, nor anyone else who was not in the Guantanamo Gulag either as prisoner or jailer can possibly know, at present, whether the story of the flushed Koran is a lie.
What we _can_ know is the track record for truthfulness of the protagonists.
Bush and Rummy and company lied about weapons of mass destruction, and people died--lotsa people. So they lied and people died. For starters.
We know that.
The world knows that.
They lied brazenly and outrageously, and they have relied on the industrial-shop-vac memory-sucking powers of the Media as it auto-repeats Administration talking points, to vacuum away any public recollection of that raw fact, and of its correlary, which is that as a consequence of the lie maybe 100,000 Iraqis and almost exactly 1600 American soldiers, so far, have died, plus about 200 "coalition" soldiers, and who knows how many hired mercenaries and truck drivers and cooks and unlucky journalists.
It is also true, getting back to track records, that various prisoners, in Iraq and elsewhere, including Guantanamo, have claimed they were tortured. We don't know if _all_ of them were telling the truth, but we do know that _some_ of them were telling the truth. Somehow the talking-point chorus hasn't been able to get those pictures out of our heads.
I am willing, like a reasonable man, to admit I don't know the veracity of the Koran-flushing story, but like a reasonable man I am willing to assign probabilities, provisionally, based on what I know of the motivations for lying, and the past record for lying, of (a) the Bushies, and (b) the prisoners.
If I were a betting man I would not bet on the Administration telling the truth, even by accident.