Juan Cole reads Newsweek’s semi-retraction of its story about desecration of the Koran in the interrogation process at Guantanamo carefully. I have to admit, I never stopped thinking that this happened. I just have a hard time believing that people who beat and torture their prisoners would show extreme sensitivity toward a book that they themselves do not hold sacred. He also points out that plenty of detainees who have been released have reported the desecration of the Koran, the Pentagon spokesman says that claiming such things is a standard tactic among terrorists (ignoring the fact that the people who were released must not have been terrorists, given that they were set free without being tried for anything).

Update: Here’s Newsweek’s apology. Note that the story was not retracted.

Another update: The Pentagon has demanded that Newsweek retract the story and it has done so. For what it’s worth, I still believe that what the magazine reported was true, but if you’re going to publish something that explosive, you’d better have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.