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The Memo That Won't Quit
"McClellan said a retraction was only 'a good first step' and said Newsweek should try to set the record straight by 'clearly explaining what happened and how they got it wrong, particularly to the Muslim world, and pointing out the policies and practices of our military.' "
Such an examination might ultimately not serve the White House well, however.
John Mintz reported in The Washington Post on Saturday: "Earlier this year, lawyers representing Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo said their clients told them that military police threw at least one Koran into a toilet. A released Afghan named Ehsannullah told The Washington Post in 2003 that U.S. soldiers taunted him by doing the same thing. Three Britons released last year also said Korans were put into toilets by U.S. guards. . . .
"Some Muslims detained at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have complained that U.S. soldiers dumped their Korans into the toilet. After riots this week in Afghanistan that were sparked by reports of the allegations, Pentagon officials said they are investigating.
"But top U.S. military officials said they have not confirmed any such desecrations of the Islamic holy book at Guantanamo Bay."
James Rainey and Mark Mazzetti write in the Los Angeles Times: "A Newsweek journalist familiar with the reporting on the article agreed with his editor's regrets Monday, but said it appeared the administration was seizing on the error to minimize the abuse allegations.
" 'The issue of how prisoners are treated at Guantanamo has not gone away,' said the journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 'Now they want to deflect that by talking about how irresponsible Newsweek magazine was.' "
Joe Hagan writes in the Wall Street Journal about how the Newsweek story has again raised questions about anonymous sourcing.
" 'We get bashed for all the anonymous sources but the administration is the one that insists on it,' says Dana Priest, who covers national security for the Washington Post. 'I don't think people realize that.'
"White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan responds that 'sometimes it's difficult for the media to critique itself and it becomes convenient to point to something outside the media. The problem here is not the background briefings per se, although I agree we should end the practice. The problem is much larger.' "
Jennifer Loven writes for the Associated Press: "With gasoline prices soaring, President Bush urged Congress on Monday to encourage development of alternate fuels like biodiesel and ethanol to make the United States less dependent on foreign oil.
" 'Our dependence on foreign oil is like a foreign tax on the American dream, and that tax is growing every year,' Bush said at the Virginia BioDiesel Refinery about 140 miles south of Washington."