Lowry to young conservatives: Given EPA-mandated "small-flush" toilets, "[h]ow is it possible to flush a Quran down the toilet?"

››› ››› JOSH KALVEN

In an August 5 speech before the Young America's Foundation's National Conservative Student Conference, National Review editor Rich Lowry referenced allegations of Quran mistreatment by officials at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by asking, "How is it possible to flush a Quran down the toilet?" Given that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "has mandated these environmentally correct, small-flush toilets -- you're lucky to get a pamphlet down there, let alone a whole book," Lowry said, adding his description of "what the scandal should have been -- all of America should have been rising up as one saying, 'What are we doing giving the terrorists our very best toilets down there in Gitmo?' "

The comments came during Lowry's criticism of the "media obsession" with reports of detainee abuse at "that prison in Iraq," as well as at Guantánamo.

Lowry credited this "memorable take on the story" -- about whether it's actually possible to flush a Quran down the toilet -- to National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg, who made a similar comment in a May 18 column.

The Young America's Foundation billed the conference as an opportunity to "Meet and ask questions of your conservative heroes" and "Gain a better understanding of conservative principles." The roster of speakers included numerous conservative media figures and commentators, including Robert D. Novak, Ann Coulter, David Brooks, Michelle Malkin, and David Horowitz.

From Lowry's August 5 speech before the 27th annual National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C.:

LOWRY: And we see it in the media obsession with the abuses at that prison in Iraq or with the alleged abuses in Gitmo, where there's this implicit suggestion that it makes us just as bad as the people we're fighting. And this story about the alleged Koran flushing down at Gitmo -- my friend and colleague Jonah Goldberg, I think, had the most memorable take on the story, which is: How is it possible to flush a Koran down a toilet? Especially since the EPA has mandated these environmentally correct, small-flush toilets -- you're lucky to get a pamphlet down there, let alone a whole book. And as Jonah says, what the scandal should have been -- all of America should have been rising up as one saying, "What are we doing giving the terrorists our very best toilets down there in Gitmo?"

Lowry is a frequent guest on PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

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