Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Of Pots And Kettles

So now Newsweek has bowed to White House pressure and retracted the Quran desecration story. The problem? Their source is unsure of the document in which the allegations were reported.

The real problem? With a complete lack of irony, White House Press Secretary continues to make statements like this:

"The report had real consequences," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday. "People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged. There are some who are opposed to the United States and what we stand for who have sought to exploit this allegation. It will take work to undo what can be undone."

This man is an embarrassment to our country. From the editorial board at The Oregonian:

There's no question Newsweek damaged its credibility and worsened global disgust with the United States by publishing such a poorly sourced news item. But it isn't true, as White House spokesman Scott McClellan said at a briefing Tuesday, that "there is lasting damage to (the nation's) image because of this report."

The lasting damage to the nation's image has come from years of reports of prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, some unsubstantiated and some chillingly documented. A few of the incidents involved the reservist found guilty this week of abusing detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

Despite such incidents, the White House seems offended that anyone might suspect further problems.

Newsweek's report of Quran abuse may have inflamed deadly riots in the Muslim world, though accounts differ on the riots' causes. Ironically, Newsweek may be proven right: A Pentagon spokesman said in a briefing Tuesday that there may have been "inadvertent mishandlings of the Quran." [italics added]

As Abu Ghraib showed, anything is possible. And there is plenty of blame to go around.