WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newsweek magazine said on Sunday it erred in a May 9 report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.
Newsweek's editor, Mark Whitaker, apologized on Sunday and said the magazine inaccurately reported that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Muslim holy book down the toilet.
Reaction from The White House: "It's puzzling that while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. " Take that with a grain of salt, friends, coming from a White House that still refuses to retract the Weapons Of Mass Destruction story they cooked up to invade Iraq.
The Newsweek report sparked violent protests across the Muslim world -- from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan, Indonesia and Gaza. The Koran flushing has also been condemned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and by the Arab League.
I realize The Koran is sacrosanct, but, hey, that seems like pretty small potatoes compared to some of the other stuff that happened in Guantanamo or that prison in Iraq. I guess I'd flush The Koran (or the American Flag, or the Bible, or Talmud, or the Upanishads) down the toilet if I thought it would save some lives. But this didn't seem to work out so well.