To the Editor: David Brooks' otherwise balanced column about the Newsweek article controversy omitted one crucial fact.

Bush administration officials vetted the Isikoff piece before it went to print, and offered no objections. Only after an entirely predictable uproar in the Muslim world did Scott McClellan, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld accuse Newsweek of contributing to the deaths of innocents and a loss of American prestige. These remarks represent crocodile tears after the fact, shed for Muslims who have been mistreated by our military at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo with the full knowledge of the administration.

Robert Lockwood Mills, author/historian