Friday, May 27, 2005

Vindication for Newsweek
Richard Bradley: Vindication for Newsweek

With today's Pentagon report on mishandling of the Koran at Guantanomo Bay, Newsweek starts to look, if not entirely absolved, at least credible again—whereas the White House's selective outrage looks ever more disingenuous.

First, the very existence of a military investigation undercuts White House press secretary Scott McCellan's criticism of Newsweek. If the military couldn't deny the Newsweek report without further investigation, why did the White House go ballistic?

Second, the military found five examples of "mishandling" of the Koran—two unintentional, three deliberate. That's a shot in the arm for Newsweek.

True, the inquiry found "no credible evidence" that anyone flushed the Koran down a toilet. But the investigators did interview a prisoner who had made such a claim.

Meanwhile, the results of a broader investigation, featuring FBI interviews, are forthcoming, and they'll probably corrobate this report.

So let's review. Newsweek's most provocative claim can't be supported. But on the question of whether the military personnel had deliberately mocked Muslims by "mishandling" the Koran, the magazine was correct. Which, to me, makes Newsweek more right than wrong. The White House pressured Newsweek to retract its story. Will it now retract its over-the-top outrage?