Newsweek: The Plot Thickens
OK, Newsweek has retracted its story. It was all just a vicious rumor. This whole notion was just unthinkable. Somebody was trying to tarnish America’s image, but it didn’t work. We can go back to business as usual now.
Seriously, if Newsweek was careless and printed a false story about Korans being flushed down toilets at Guantanamo Bay, then the person(s) in charge needs to be held accountable. Heads should roll. Newsweek’s lie caused 16 deaths. Then again, Bush’s lies have caused the deaths of over 1,600 American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
Not a valid comparison, you say? Right you are.
Using a worst-case scenario, Newsweek’s lie was based on carelessness. Nobody’s accusing a Newsweek editor of thinking “I’m gonna spread this vicious rumor because I hate America.” It was a mistake. Inexcusable, but a mistake nonetheless.
Bush’s lies, on the other hand, were deliberate, meticulous down to the last detail, and planned months (if not years) in advance. The secret memo from July 2002 confirms what many people already suspected. Bush and Blair were already planning to invade Iraq; they just needed to “fit” the intelligence data to their plan.
Allegations of flushing Korans down the toilet — plus a long-running pattern of other abuses — are documented here. And the Newsweek “retraction” itself seems a little, uh, mysterious. Newsweek’s source was “a senior U.S. government official” who later “backtracked” after Newsweek printed his story. Now suddenly the source “is no longer sure.” International editors and senior government officials aren’t usually this flighty and indecisive. What gives?
My guess would be some high-level version of “intimidating a witness.” Certain VIPs are pissed off by this story, and we wouldn’t want that now, would we? I’m not saying a Newsweek editor would find a horse’s head on his pillow or anything like that, but…
Condoleezza Rice’s reaction to this whole mess was “It’s appalling that this story got out there.” It sounds like she really meant “all right, who let the cat out of the bag?”
It seems like the people making the most noise about the deaths caused by Newsweek’s “lie” are making the least noise about Bush’s lies and cover-ups and the cover-up to cover up the cover-up.