The truth about whether U.S. troops desecrated the Quran is still unknown. Yes, under intense pressure, Newsweek retracted its story. But the specific allegation that U.S. soldiers placed the Quran in a toilet has actually never been proven or disproven. Did those events really take place or not? Does the White House even care to find out? Maybe not:
It is unclear if the Pentagon is going to pursue a probe into the alleged incident or drop it in light of Newsweek’s admission. A SouthCom spokesman said the investigation was still open, but [Pentagon spokesman Bryan] Whitman said he did not know whether it had been closed.
If the administration is truly concerned about its new public diplomacy woes in the Muslim world — if it really wants to take the steam out of the Newsweek crisis — there’s only one appropriate course of action: immediately appoint an independent commission to investigate the allegations.
After all, we are dealing with the same Pentagon that knew of widespread abuse at Iraqi prisons weeks before the Abu Ghraib photos were released, and said nothing. If the desecration did happen, no one believes this administration will come clean on its own. And until the Pentagon gets serious about an independent investigation, much of the world will simply assume it happened no matter what the truth is.