Monday, May 16, 2005

Rummy to Newsweek: I am Rubber and You are Glue

  • "It's appalling that this story got out there," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said as she traveled home from Iraq.
  • "People lost their lives. People are dead," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Capitol Hill. "People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do."

Are these people talking about the run-up to war with Iraq? One would think so, particularly in light of the recently-disclosed yet widely-ignored document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002 printed in The Times of London -- "British officials did not dispute the document's authenticity." So, are these folks mad that there is now more proof of (at best) manipulation of facts by the Bush administration before the invasion of Iraq in 2003?

No. They are mad because Newsweek printed a story where the source flipped. Newsweek published a story reporting that a military probe had found evidence of desecration of the Quran by U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. About 15 people died in protests in Afghanistan. Unfortunately for Newsweek, its source changed its story (although the subject has been reported in several other publications).

Newsweek, unlike certain presidential administrations, did not fabricate or manipulate the story -- they had a source. Granted,they should have obtained several sources, but it would be simply ludicrous to believe that this is somehow a bigger deal (and worthy of derision from Rumsfeld, the "here" where the buck was supposed to stop in relation to Abu Ghraib) than any of the Administration's missteps (that was generous, I know). What we know is that, contrary to the multitude of statements (citations omitted -- do a damned google search yourself!), Iraq had no WMD. Someone somewhere (whether in intelligence or the White House) is incredibly incompetent or duplicitous, yet we are focusing upon Newsweek for relying on only one source.

If Newsweek wants to retract its story, fine by me -- they'll have two sources on each story in the future. However, then Bush and Company have to retract theirs as well.