About this Newsweek claim that a Koran was flushed at Guantanamo Bay; why didn’t anybody first check if such a feat was possible? Books generally don’t flush too well, as anybody who’s received a copy of Attack Poodles will be aware. Seeking empirical data, Frank Salvato conducted a field test:

For the purposes of my experiment I chose a Newsweek magazine. I then tried to flush the Newsweek magazine down my American-made toilet. That was a mistake!

Let me suggest to you that the biggest object you can get down the toilet before it clogs is considerably less than something the size of a Quran.

Seems obvious, when you think about it. Imran Khan didn’t, as Newsweek reports:
The spark was apparently lit at a press conference held on Friday, May 6, by Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricket legend and strident critic of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Brandishing a copy of that week’s NEWSWEEK (dated May 9), Khan read a report that U.S. interrogators at Guantánamo prison had placed the Qur’an on toilet seats and even flushed one. “This is what the U.S. is doing,” exclaimed Khan, “desecrating the Qur’an.” His remarks, as well as the outraged comments of Muslim clerics and Pakistani government officials, were picked up on local radio and played throughout neighboring Afghanistan. Radical Islamic foes of the U.S.-friendly regime of Hamid Karzai quickly exploited local discontent with a poor economy and the continued presence of U.S. forces, and riots began breaking out last week.
Hmm. Imran (an eternally political opportunistic prick, incidentally, even as a cricketer) seemed only to be paraphrasing Newsweek. All factors cited—crazy clerics, nutso Islamic foes, “the continued presence of US forces” etc—were already in place when the magazine was published; being aware of that, Newsweek’s story didn’t so much cause the riots as provide an excuse for those lusting for riots on the slightest Koran-flushing premise. Give these lunatics an inch and they’ll take a life. Or 15, as it happens.

Posted by Tim B. on 05/16/2005 at 10:36 AM
  1. American toilets have problems with what normally goes in them.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 10:47 AM • #

  2. It never rang true. We are supposed to believe they moved prisoners to the bathroom purely for the purpose of having them watch this flushing?

    Why not simply urinate or defecate on it in interrogation rooms or holding cells? If their intent was simply to defile “The Book” why go through the charade, when one can simply undo a zipper?

    Posted by Mike Jericho on 05/16 at 10:47 AM • #

  3. Mike, Mike, Mike!  You are being calm, rational, and logical about this.  Newsweek, on the other hand, was drooling and salivating over the chance to slam the war on terrorism and The Rethuglicans, never mind the consequences!

    Newsweek lied*, people died!

    How does that feel, lefties?

    *: Well, probably not a deliberate lie, but certainly the lie of omission (i.e., no real fact checking, but hey, the Pentagon didn’t say no!)

    Posted by on 05/16 at 10:54 AM • #

  4. This story sounded like something on the level of ``evil Jews murdering Arab babies and using their blood to make matzohs’’ - fabricated in order to further inflame people who were already violent and hysterical.  Is the Newsweek crowd really, really surprised that they provoked such a reaction?  Then they’re too stupid to be let outdoors without a leash or a keeper.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 11:00 AM • #

  5. The_Real_JeffS

    Google Michael Isikoff and you’ll see: it was almost certainly a deliberate lie. His level of Bush-hatred is positively Kos-like.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 11:05 AM • #

  6. Sure, some Muslims look for excuses to go psycho, and we shouldn’t have to pander to that, to the sucker’s dialectic of Muslim pride and Muslim shame.

    But a major American newsmagazine distributed internationally is actively working to put our armed service people, American and Coalition, into increased danger and we seem helpless to do anything about it. Newsweek wants to look further into this “murky” story. And, according to a Fox News Alert, Newsweek is not even retracting the story.

    This disgrace is GROWING, it is NOT being contained. Newsweek is, in effect, saying that it is sorry that its battle strike against the USA may have been merely a bit premature.

    How many more reporters has Newsweek put on the story? Have they fanned out across the country, looking for tales of what some soldier somewhere may have done with a copy of some holy book? What possible value or meaning could such a story have even if it were true? It’s purely propaganda value, purely and nothing but. And it’s purely anti-American. And it’s purely pro-terrorist.

    Sure some Muslims go psycho and we shouldn’t have to pander to that, but Newsweek is going WAY OUT OF ITS WAY to find stories to pour more fat on the fire. We are at war!

    Yes, they should be brought up on charges and jailed. Back during WWII, something like that would have happened. Such an item in article would not have happened in the first place. Instead Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas will go on belching good wine and fine food and toasting themselves for the suicide to which they drove Admiral Boorda and, with Mark Whitaker, the increased cost in blood and treasure which they are causing to America and the Coalition over a phony story that even if it had been true would be meaningless but for its propaganda value. And they are toasting their mainstreaming of treason-heartedness and shoddy over-the-phone work and single-sourcing with an already dubious source. Isikoff, Thomas, and Whitaker are getting away with murder.

    Posted by ForNow on 05/16 at 11:12 AM • #

  7. What I want to know is, why aren’t daring avant-guarde artists like Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili creating art that would help to desensitize Muslims to this sort of thing?  I mean, they did “Piss Christ” and Mary covered with elephant dung?  Wouldn’t it be more sensitive and multicultural to include Islam in this form of art?

    And, if it helped to thin out an overpopulated art scene, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

    Posted by on 05/16 at 11:14 AM • #

  8. The probably also think that we have gigantic, Texas-sized toilets that can swallow-up a whole camel, and don’t know about the Environmentally mandated Government imposed low-flow toities that require three or four flushes even on a loose day.
    Or since they use squat-toilets and they’ve practiced with Bibles, they believe it’s possible…

    Posted by -keith in mtn. view on 05/16 at 11:53 AM • #

  9. JeffS:  You took the words right out of my keyboard.  Who cares about obsolete and medival concepts like “truth” when one has an opportunity to publish a story detrimental to the eeeevil Rethuglican Bushitler-Halliburton administration.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 11:55 AM • #

  10. Indeed.  How on earth could Newsweek NOT know that this story… true or not… would cause a riot, endangering lives? 

    This is the absolute PIT of irresponsibility, and needs to be investigated.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 12:15 PM • #

  11. Mark Whitaker and Newsweek REFUSE TO RETRACT. It takes a “higher standard of evidence.” One doesn’t just “rush into print with a retraction,” you know! Newsweek still doesn’t know what the “ultimate facts” are! How understandable! How conveeeeeenient!

    What can this mean but that Newsweek sees itself ethically compelled to send their reporters out, I guess across the country and around the world, looking for cases of disrespect by US soldiers for holy books?

    Mark Whitaker, Evan Thomas, and Michael Isikoff are setting out to make things worse if they possibly can.

    Posted by ForNow on 05/16 at 12:23 PM • #

  12. I once flushed a Bible down the toilet. Got an NEA grant for that.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 12:25 PM • #

  13. "Mike, Mike, Mike!  You are being calm, rational, and logical about this."

    You’re absolutely right. My mistake. ;-)

    Posted by Mike Jericho on 05/16 at 12:33 PM • #

  14. Here’s one American who doesn’t care which holy book pages are flushed down toilets to get prisoners to talk and help us fight terrorism.

    Newsweek published these allegations to get this exact reaction, and to sell a couple of magazines.  Their readership, like that of the rest of the media, is plummeting (the media love that word).

    OT - Headline in our local (Florida) liberal rag, “Gas Prices Plummeting”—hoping I guess that most readers will think that it’s a bad thing.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 12:47 PM • #

  15. Last I heard, IraqTheModel said that Iraqis seem to be taking the report in stride. But at Instapundit url=http://instapundit.com/archives/023012.php]http://instapundit.com/archives/023012.php[/url]:

    A TROUBLING REPORT from one of Austin Bay’s readers:

    I’m on my way back to Kabul, as I typically do every summer, but my family is completely opposed to my travel and work this year in Afghanistan even though I’ve safely transited there, in and out of State and UN/NGO service for nearly 20 years. The word I receive from Kabuli friends is that Isikoff has singlehandedly turned US triumph in the country to a total disaster. ....

    Posted by ForNow on 05/16 at 12:52 PM • #

  16. What amazes me is how limp the response has been from Newsweek. Its almost “oh well shit happens.”

    Posted by on 05/16 at 01:30 PM • #

  17. I’ve found that the best way to get a Koran down a toilet is to first burn it.

    Posted by Jim Treacher on 05/16 at 01:54 PM • #

  18. While lambasting Newsweek (and pretty much all MSM) for their craven willingness to report the worst before confirming it’s the truth, flinging invective and beating our collective chest about the damage to the world at large caused by their (for them) relatively risk-free journalistic ‘Oopses’, one thing needs to be pointed out.  (and I quote from a comment I posted on another fine site):

    “But, but, butbutbut...the scariest thing about it all is that people of a certain culture can erupt into killing each other over a book that went down (schmaybe, schmaybe not...) a toilet thirteen thousand miles away. Color me insensitive if you must, but there’s no excuse for it.”

    Even their Imams are calling for the flushers to be sent to Afghanistan for trial and, assumedly, some ghastly Koranic inspired fate.  Nowadays is called 2005 A.D., I think.  Hard to tell when you see the whirling dervishes acting like they did centuries ago. 
    Let’s do the Time Warp again
    Oh.  Let’s not.

    Posted by tree hugging sister on 05/16 at 01:57 PM • #

  19. You can bet that’s whats happening right now ForNow, Newsweek will be scouring the planet trying to find evidence of someone in the military actually having committed this type of desecration (or at least willing to say that they saw someone doing it)
    Thats why Newsweek is stalling IMO, to try and get evidence that will bolster their “fake but accurate” line. This might just be going to get real ugly.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 04:53 PM • #

  20. It really make you wish that Thommo or Lillee had knocked Imran’s fucking head off with a lightning bouncer around 1980.

    Posted by murph on 05/16 at 05:08 PM • #

  21. Throwing a pigeon into a roomful of stark raving looney cats really gets a story going.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 05:11 PM • #

  22. tree hugging sister -


    I blame Newsweek for their ongoing and increasingly deranged efforts to make America, the Republicans, and above all George Bush look bad.

    I blame the rioters for the 15 deaths.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 06:00 PM • #

  23. Amazingly, the Newsweek retraction story ran on SBS and ABC here in Melbourne.  Viewers were treated to the sight of Isikoff making a ‘sorry’ face (no head tilt, though) and bleating “We have learned that words have consequences”.  No sh*t, Sherlock?!

    Posted by on 05/16 at 06:07 PM • #

  24. Keith said,

    ”...don’t know about the Environmentally mandated Government imposed low-flow toities that require three or four flushes even on a loose day."

    I’ve come across this complaint before. For all their technical wizardry it seems the one thing our American cousins can’t do is design a low-flow pan. Or else they are trying to match a low-volume cistern with an conventional 10-gallon flush pan. Won’t work. Off-topic, I know, but this is one area where the US is light-years behind the civilised world. Chaps: here in Oz we have mandatory dual 3/6 litre cisterns and with the matching pan they flush the biggest dump first time every time.

    Back on topic, the Newsweek story is in the same vein as the one circulatded here a while back - how prostitutes were brought in to menstruate on prisoners. Like the flushed-Koran it was implausible from the start.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 06:11 PM • #

  25. Maybe they were really menstruating on a Koran? I’m sure Newsweek is hard at work this very moment finding out the “truth” for the benefit of all of us. Well, except those who will end up dead in the rioting.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 07:07 PM • #

  26. Someone on another ‘blog made the comment that US soldiers wouldn’t desecrate their feces with a Koran. LOL.

    Having said that, I would be bothered if the story was true but I don’t believe it and even if it were true, it’s not the type of story a supposedly responsible journalist repeats, even if he had photos.

    I already cancelled my Newsweek subscription during the Afghan offensive in the autumn of 2001. I couldn’t believe (still cannot) their defeatist reporting, driven by an anti-Bush agenda.

    Our Democrat president Woodrow Wilson (World War I) would’ve thrown these bastards in prison just for writing it down on paper, let alone publishing it.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 07:07 PM • #

  27. Can’t we just step back a second here.

    What’s the problem about flushing a racist hate-inducingn book down the toilet - literally or figuratively.?

    Posted by on 05/16 at 07:08 PM • #

  28. It would clog the pipes. Have you ever seen one of those things? I mean, an authentic one, not the mingy little translations (like the free one I was given by a cute Turkish student who was trying to recruit infidels do Muslim Outreach a few weeks after 9/11). I have: I took a class—by strange coincidence, during the Fall semester of 2001—called Islamic Thought. There was a kid in the class who used to bring his Koran. The thing was at least two-and-a-half inches thick, and needless to say, all in Arabic. (See, according to Islam, God only speaks Arabic, the Perfect Language—and classical Arabic at that, as opposed to the everyday vernacular of the language and its many dialects.) And it was in that extra thin, dense paper similar to that used to print expensive copies of the Bible on. You flush one page of that stuff down the average government-built toilet and you’re talking sewage backup for miles.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 05/16 at 07:21 PM • #

  29. There’s no question that it is unacceptable for a major religion to be unable to handle this sort of thing.

    We have a democratization campaign going. It is young. The time of transition to increased freedom is always the most dangerous time. Things can go even more wrong than they were. This is a very bad time for Newsweek to suddenly behave with such faux-naivety and “plausible obtuseness.” There’s no way that Isikoff, Thomas, and Whitaker didn’t know this. Things from the Western press travel. Published by Newsweek, they’ll lots of credibility. Where were Isikoff and Evans when a stupid California sex therapist’s blog article got picked up by a left-wing site and led to a bombing in Turkey?

    For pity’s sake, they were probably toasting it and celebrating. These are the two who helped drive Admiral Boorda to suicide.

    Meanwhile “moderates” may take weeks or months to wrap their brains around the idea that maybe the story should never have been reported, irregardless of its truth or falsehood. One soldier somewhere disrespectful of a holy book. Sheesh.

    What does it say about anything or about any country if some soldier somewhere dumps a copy of a holy book down a stinky hole? Nothing. It’s not intrinsically newsworthy.

    If the MSM can refuse to show pictures of leapers from the burning WTC lest it inflame Americans, then they can refrain from reporting a story like this at all.

    Its ONLY value and meaning is propagandistic, inflaming a religion, putting at greater risk our soldiers, our democratization campaign, and our anti-terrorist war.

    When media and leftists say that, if true, such a story should be reported, they are tipping their freedom-hating hand.

    The retraction, finally made, is not enough. Newsweek delenda est.

    Posted by ForNow on 05/16 at 07:21 PM • #

  30. Also, it’s obviously a stupid thing to do, considering how Muslims feel about this book. Stupid and pointless, unless inflaming the “Arabic street” is your aim. Which is why I rather doubt anyone in our military did it (they have more sophisticated ways to make terrorists talk) and why Newsweek thought it was such a delicious bit of news. Do you realize how much attention this has garnered their fading, increasingly irrelevant rag?

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 05/16 at 07:23 PM • #

  31. I often have trouble flushing a half-decent sized Margo- I have to break its back with a stick, so a hardcover religious tome’s got no hope. If they did it page by page, after having a jolly good wipe, it’s then possible.

    Posted by Habib on 05/16 at 07:35 PM • #

  32. Well, sure, but other than increased back-slapping for Isikoff et al. at their cute little cocktail parties, what are they getting out of it? CBS News still hasn’t figured out how to recover from Rathergate; I doubt this incident will do much for Newsweek’s bottom line.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 07:37 PM • #

  33. Notwithstanding the fact that Gitmo has probably the best plumbing in the whole of Cuba, it is highly unlikely that a Koran could actually be flushed in the normal context. I’m presuming these were industrial strength CIA installed toilets, as opposed to those wimpy eco-friendly models with the split half-Koran/full-Koran buttons. Unless, of course, this Koran was one of those itsy bitsy versions; something like Chairman Mao’s little red book which I am sure has even passed the half-flush test on many occasions; or maybe it was a pulp version like the Koran for Dummies or something.

    On the other hand, it is known, at least in journalistic circles, that the natural laws of physics don’t actually apply in Gitmo, where it is theoretically possible for a toilet flush to achieve the sucking power of a black hole. I’m sure this will be seen as just further evidence of the need for the non-flushing Moslem world to resist the thrust of western modernity and their evil Koran sucking machines.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 07:43 PM • #

  34. So we’re agreed… we need to nuke Mecca and junk the lo-flo toilets…

    Posted by on 05/16 at 10:28 PM • #

  35. Oh, come on! Does anyone honestly think that the rioting offended Muslims actually CARE whether or not this story is true? That any one of them actually stopped to think before they rioted and murdered over an unsubstantiated story?

    This is similar to the story about ‘Jewish’ Barbie dolls being imported to corrupt good Muslim girls. They dont care about truth or accountability, they want an excuse to riot and behave like baboons. So a few more idiots got taken out of the gene pool, it wont ruin my day.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 10:51 PM • #

  36. Even though you can’t reason with the Muslim fanatics the least would could do is publish the home addresses of all the Newsweek reporters/editors who were involved in producing the false report and disseminating it across the Muslim world. That way we could capture the fanatics after they are down in purging the useful left-wing morons.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 10:53 PM • #

  37. Good idea MichaelParkes. However, we must be very careful not to capture them too soon - ie, before they have wiped out every leftie Islamic fundamentalist-supporting traitor they can find.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 11:25 PM • #

  38. John Kane: ... Koran sucking ...

    Pretty much sums it up.

    Posted by on 05/16 at 11:41 PM • #

  39. This sounds like something up Mythbuster’s alley. (SBS, 7:30 pm Monday)

    Posted by Andjam on 05/17 at 12:52 AM • #

  40. Good point, THS. 

    Newsweek = nation destroying publication. 

    Muslim rioters = barbarians looking for an excuse to destroy something.

    For the record, there is one thing Newsweek can do to get me to buy a subscription:  Print their magazine on toilet paper.

    Posted by on 05/17 at 01:30 AM • #

  41. You’re going to flush a Newsweek edition down the toilet?! What about the worldwide protests among aggrieved journalists this is bound to spark?

    Posted by on 05/17 at 05:17 AM • #

  42. I heard some of the Gitmo prisoners tore up their Korans THEMSELVES and flushed the pages to block the toilets, so they could be moved out of their cells. The Koran is the only reading material they’re given.

    Posted by on 05/17 at 05:40 AM • #

  43. If they feel that aggrieved, PW, they can dive into the sewer and rescue the rag from it’s justly deserve fate.

    Posted by on 05/17 at 05:40 AM • #

  44. People, this is all mere speculation here.  The core question is “can a Koran be flushed, or not?”.

    Being that at heart we’re all intellectuals and scientists, maybe this is a case where we need to set up some tests.  (Oh gosh, I’m feeling rather Margoesque, setting up a plan of action, seeking volunteers, and so forth.  Dang, I need a nap now).

    One of us can drive around to a nearby mosque or Islamic Center and pick up some Korans.  If we tell them we’re planning on bombing a YMCA or an office building, we can get them for free.

    Then we need some toilets of varying types and sizes.  From the braggy comments from the Aussies who are definitely proud of their toilets (one must admire people who are proud of their successes), maybe we should use one of those as a test toilet.  If we want to get a quick start on the test, we can use the toilet at the mosque before we leave. 

    We can have Newsweek witness it to see whether it’s possible.  We can live televise it to Mecca too if that’s a good thing.

    Posted by on 05/17 at 07:30 AM • #

  45. You’re all assuming the rioters have seen flush toilets. It’s not that hard to shove a Koran down a hole in the floor.

    Posted by Rob Crawford on 05/17 at 08:04 AM • #

  46. Every time I have a shit in the office dunny, it leaves arabic scrawl on the bottom of the pan; maybe this is a message from Allah- who knows? The Infidel crusader brush soon gets rid of the fetid fatwah.

    Posted by Habib on 05/17 at 08:40 AM • #

  47. Andres Serrano put a crucifix in a bottle of piss and called it “art”.

    He’s still alive.

    That’s the difference.

    Posted by on 05/17 at 09:24 AM • #

  48. hey, guys. while you are enjoying yourselves making fun of the quran, why not start making fun of jewish symbols? talk about flushing the talmud down the dunny. talk about sending a few menstruating prostitutes to smear the face of a rabbi.

    hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the kosher gander.

    as for me, i’d rather not offend anyone. except self-righteous lefties and dumb-ass pseudo-conservative wackos who justify torture.

    Posted by PlanetIrf on 05/17 at 07:10 PM • #

  49. If we did insult religious icons (that represent belief systems that have done nothing to warrant ridicule), there wouldn’t be a swarm of bearded boohoos looking to gut us like fish or give us a semtex enema- a bit of a difference. If these nutjobs acted like civilised human beings, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’ll respect the Koran and other representations of Islam when its adherents join the evolution of humanity rather than their current atavistic adherence to the last time they had any clout and culture (about 1570).

    Posted by Habib on 05/17 at 07:21 PM • #

  50. Habib

    ...Infidel crusader brush...fetid fatwa


    Posted by on 05/17 at 08:22 PM • #

  51. why not start making fun of jewish symbols

    Gosh, I was anticipating you to have mentioned Zoroastrians, Buddhists or maybe Animists as an example rather than Jews.

    Posted by Andjam on 05/18 at 08:03 PM • #

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