Friday, June 03, 2005

Sorry, I seem to have peed on your Bible

A few weeks ago, Newsweek reported there had been reports of guards mistreating the Koran at Gitmo. Their anonymous government source then couldn't recall exactly what military report where he'd read that, and the resulting firestorm caused Newsweek to retract the entire story. It was accused by the White House of inciting Muslim riots worldwide, causing the deaths of over a dozen people, and damaging American interests.

The Pentagon said that no such abuse had taken place on May 17:

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman denied the substance of Newsweek's original report, calling the article "irresponsible" and "demonstrably false."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the article had "had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

Making note of the rioting and deaths, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the news media needed to be more careful.

"I think it was Mark Twain who said that something that's not true can speed around the world three or four times in a matter of seconds … while truth is still trying to put their boots on," Rumsfeld said after a hearing on Capitol Hill. "And people have said, my goodness, why does it take so long for someone to come back and … have the actual facts?"

Via Americablog, Reuters, and the AP, we find out today that abuses did happen, including one guard accidentally splashing urine on the Koran. Accidentally. Oopsie.

Here's the part that pisses me off: "The findings, released after normal business hours Friday evening..." So, in other words, there was a deliberate attempt to bury this information so that it would get minimal press.

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