Editor's Note: There is a final irony. Representing the government that sent an entire nation to war based on false premises concerning weapons of mass destruction, State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said at a briefing in Washington that "It's appalling, really, that an article that was unfounded to begin with has caused so much harm, including loss of life."
I do have to admit, along with the writers at Columbia University, that given the Koran desecration that had already been described in earlier media reports of interrogations--perhaps Newsweek has a more successful Mid-East circulation--that I'm taken aback that this has seen such a spectacular reaction by comparison. Given the Taliban and Bin Laden's well-publicized willingness to describe American actions as attacks on Islam, I don't know why anyone in the Mid-East would have been particularly startled. What I was surprised to hear were the reports of Muslim protesters demanding "religious tolerance" from the Americans. If that wasn't just the press nudging what they were hearing into more readily-recognizable Western language or concepts, this would seem to be a new thrust. Given that the latter half of the 20th century has seen the bulk of Mideastern Christianity settle in the Detroit and L.A. areas, that would be welcome, if likely too late to save those distinct cultures from being assimilated into America's McWorld.