Friday, June 03, 2005

Gitmo Grovel: Enough Already

Gitmo Grovel: Enough Already:

"The self-flagellation has gone far enough. We know that al Qaeda operatives are trained to charge torture when they are in detention, and specifically to charge abuse of the Koran to inflame fellow prisoners on the inside and potential sympathizers on the outside.

In March the Navy inspector general reported that, out of about 24,000 interrogations at Guantanamo, there were seven confirmed cases of abuse, 'all of which were relatively minor.' In the eyes of history, compared to any other camp in any other war, this is an astonishingly small number. Two of the documented offenses involved 'female interrogators who, on their own initiative, touched and spoke to detainees in a sexually suggestive manner.' Not exactly the gulag.

The most inflammatory allegations have been not about people but about mishandling the Koran. What do we know here? The Pentagon reports (Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, May 26) -- all these breathless 'scoops' come from the U.S. government's own investigations of itself -- that of 13 allegations of Koran abuse, five were substantiated, of which two were most likely accidental.

Let's understand what mishandling means. Under the rules the Pentagon later instituted at Guantanamo, proper handling of the Koran means using two hands and wearing gloves when touching it. Which means that if any guard held the Koran with one hand or had neglected to put on gloves, this would be considered mishandling.

On the scale of human crimes, where, say, 10 is the killing of 2,973 innocent people in one day and 0 is jaywalking, this ranks as perhaps a 0.01.

Moreover, what were the Korans doing there in the first place? The very possibility of mishandling Korans arose because we gave them to each prisoner. What kind of crazy tolerance is this? Is there any other country that would give a prisoner precisely the religious text that that prisoner and those affiliated with him invoke to justify the slaughter of innocents?"

No comments: