Even as Newsweek retracts a flawed news report that the Pentagon didn't initially deny, the hypocrisies continue to build:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan and other administration officials blamed the Newsweek article for setting off the anti-American violence that swept Afghanistan and Pakistan. "The report had real consequences," Mr. McClellan said. "People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged."

McClellan could've easily been talking about what passes for Bush policy in the Middle East.

Rice also weighed in: "I do think it's done a lot of harm. Of course, 16 people died but it's also done a lot of harm to America's efforts" to demonstrate tolerance and breed goodwill in the Muslim world.

Do those efforts include the deaths of an estimated 100,000 or more Iraqis?

Mission accomplished.

If Newsweek screwed up one element of the story — namely, that military investigators had found evidence of Koran desacration — it doesn't mean such allegations haven't been made or that it didn't happen.

This, from an AFP report dated May 14:

But the Newsweek report was only the latest in a series of allegations by detainees that go back at least to March 2004 when three British detainees were released from Guantanamo.

The three Britons alleged in a joint statement that Guantanamo guards kicked and threw around prison-issued Korans and on occasion threw them in buckets that served as toilets. ...

In January, lawyers for Kuwaiti detainees at Guantanamo said after a visit that their clients also described being taunted by guards who on at least one occasion threw a Koran in a toilet.

"Several of our clients did tell us that the guards had desecrated the Koran," Kristine Huskey, one of the lawyers, told AFP.

"At least two stated that the Koran had been thrown in the toilet, another said it had been stepped on and I believe another said it had been thrown by a guard and/or spat on," she said in an email message.

Defense officials said they did not know whether there had been any previous investigations into the allegation.

Huskey said she was certain the military did not look into the allegations at the time. ...

"It's early to say how solid that is, but so far there are indications that a detainee may have done something like this," said DiRita.


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