“White House staffers scurried this past week to souse the flames sparked by Newsweek‘s recent story, which revealed that an internal US military investigation had found substantial evidence interrogators at Guantánamo Bay had desecrated the Koran. Newsweek‘s story led to outrage against the US in Afghanistan and elsewhere where violent protests led to at least 15 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The White House damage control team has been successful, however, Newsweek retracted their story on May 16.
“But for what? The White House claims Newsweek‘s story led to the preventable deaths that resulted from the protests. ‘People lost their lives. People are dead,’ Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld groused. ‘People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do.’ Are we really supposed to believe that Rumsfeld suddenly cares about dead Muslims? Not exactly. Rumsfeld is just attempting to hide the truth.
“Newsweek should have never retracted their story. In fact, Newsweek wasn’t the first media outlet to report on the trashing of the holy Islamic text by US military personal at Guantánamo.”
Joshua Frank argues that Newsweek withdrew its Qur’an desecration report under government pressure.
Meanwhile, Juan Cole asks “Has Newsweek retracted?” Informed Comment, 17 May 2005