The White House complained Monday (5/16) that an inaccurate Newsweek report based on an anonymous source had damaged the U.S. image overseas by claiming U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. The erroneous report sparked violence across the Middle East, leading to 17 deaths.
"It's puzzling that while Newsweek new acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "The report had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."
In similar events, the Muslim world has been asking for a retraction of U.S. forces in Iraq for the invasion based on anonymous sources and false evidence; a decision that has cost thousands of American and hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives, and damaged the U.S. reputation for years to come.
On March 19, 2003 the United States and coalition forces invaded Iraq. The goal was to depose Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction and to drive out terrorists. The White House claimed that these were imminent threats, based on "evidence" that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa. The White House later conceded that this evidence had been discredited. Also sited was Iraq's attempt to buy aluminum tubes. These were later found to be purchased for Iraq's conventional weapons program.
After occupying the country no unconventional weapons or terrorist ties were found. In an ironic twist, the same United Nations sanctions the White House claimed were not working were found to be exactly what was preventing Saddam from getting not only unconventional weapons but basic food and medical supplies for Iraqis. The occupation of Iraq, now for the purpose of causing democratic reform in the Middle East, has caused terrorism to increase by fueling anti-American extremism, and has led to atrocities such as Abu Grhaib.
It's puzzling to many that while the White House got the facts wrong, they not only have not retracted, rethought, or recanted, they were widely re-elected. U.S.taxpayers, the parents of soldiers killed in action, Iraqi civilians, and the Muslim world still waits for an apology.