Definition of the term lie: A Bush administration flak moving his or her lips on the war on terror.
Newsweek magazine this week published a semi-apology about a Koran's being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo. As if to prove that the world is spinning off its axis, the report sparked riots in Pakistan and Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of at least 17 people.
The Newsweek apology is really a piece of public relations, and is, in fact, no apology at all. "We regret that we got any part of our story wrong," an editor wrote. When asked what that was supposed to mean, he said: "We're not retracting anything. We don't know for certain what we got wrong."
In steps a Pentagon spokesman: "Newsweek hid behind anonymous sources, which by their own admission do not withstand scrutiny."
Hey, wing nut, just who was the genius who confirmed the existence of those weapons of mass destruction that justifyied the invasion of Iraq? Rumor has it that Pentagon officials concocted the scam one night while reviewing classified versions of the children's book Where's Waldo?
Another Pentagon mouthpiece commented on the tepid quality of the apology. "They owe us all a lot more accountability than they took."
Memo to the Pentagon: The press owes you nothing. We understand that your job is to kill on command. But the press has a responsibility to report facts it can confirm. It sometimes errs, as was perhaps done here. But the press lacks the Pentagon's prerogative: to lie, to kill and to ignore inconvenient truths.
Want to end the debate and speculation about what is going on at Gauntanamo? Open the base to international inspection. Or does the Pentagon not want the truth to be known?