Two weeks ago, after Newsweek bowed to pressure and retracted a story that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran in a toilet, White House press secretary Scott McClellan continued his offensive against the media, demanding that Newsweek attempt to “repair the damage” it caused to the reputation of the United States.
“I think Newsweek can do that by talking about the way they got this wrong, and pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are when it comes to the handling of the Holy Koran. The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran was handled — or is handled with the utmost care and respect.”
So then I suppose McClellan would encourage Newsweek to accurately explain our military’s “policies and procedures”… by covering a Pentagon report quietly issued late Friday, that documents similar such desecration of the Islamic holy book.
The latest confirmed abuses are contained in a report put together by Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, the commander of the detention center in Cuba.
They include: splashing urine on a prisoner and his Qur’an, stepping on and kicking the Qur’an, throwing water on it, and scratching an obscenity on the inside cover.
Oh. So they didn’t actually desecrate a Koran in the toilet, but they did splash pee and water on it. Well that’s entirely different. Man those moslems are touchy.
Or maybe I’m just taking all this out of context. Better ask McClellan.
On Saturday, a day after the Pentagon described a series of cases of U.S. personnel mishandling the Qur’an, the White House downplayed the issue.
“It is unfortunate that some have chosen to take out of context a few isolated incidents by a few individuals,” presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said in a statement.
Yeah. Um… eat me, Scott. I think former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart has you pegged on this one:
“I think on this issue, they fell into a trap,” Lockhart said. “They saw a way to push back on a damaging story by making it look like it was just out-of-control journalists, and now they’ve had to admit that it has happened.”
McClellan’s statements after the Newsweek report left an impression that no desecration at all had occurred at Guantanamo, Lockhart said.
“While the news organization got an example wrong, they got the practice right,” he said. “I think certainly the public is within their right, in this case, to believe they were misled.”
Misled by the White House, that is, not Newsweek.