Friday, June 03, 2005



The headline today is:
U.S. Confirms Gitmo Soldier Kicked Quran
Oh, the humanity!!!

We must apologize, surrender, and kill ourselves in shame immediately.

Time Magazine asks, "What's Going On At Gitmo?" I don't even care enough to link to it. Instead, I ask "What's Going On At Time?"

It makes as much sense to keep yelling "Abu Ghraib! Abu Ghraib! Gitmo! Gitmo!" as it would if the media were still chanting "Rodney King! Rodney King!", and implying the Police should be disbanded.

But they don't do that, do they? When the King case was even arguably more significant? Because their motive is for us to give up hope and lose.

It will just feel so good for Karl Rove to get his comeuppance! The actual issue of Middle Easterners being led from primitive savagery into the possibility of a better, more humane life just isn't taken seriously.

Charles Krauthammer has it right:
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.
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? If the prisoners had to have reading material, I would have given them the book "Portraits 9/11/01" -- vignettes of the lives of those massacred on Sept. 11.
Even greater hypocrisy is to be found here at home. Civil libertarians, who have been dogged in making sure that FBI-collected Guantanamo allegations are released to the world, seem exquisitely sensitive to mistreatment of the Koran. A rather selective scrupulousness. When an American puts a crucifix in a jar of urine and places it in a museum, civil libertarians rise immediately to defend it as free speech. And when someone makes a painting of the Virgin Mary, smears it with elephant dung and adorns it with porn, not only is that free speech, it is art -- deserving of taxpayer funding and an ACLU brief supporting the Brooklyn Museum when the mayor freezes its taxpayer subsidy.

...we should get over it, stop whimpering and start defending ourselves.
But that's not going to happen, because of the sickness in the West, pointed out by VDH:
Some now consider Islamic fascism and its method of terror a “nuisance” that will go away if we just come home. We are a society where many of our elite believe the killer bin Laden is less of a threat than the elected George Bush. Al Qaeda keeps promising to kill us all; meanwhile Ralph Nader wants the wartime president impeached for misuse of failed intelligence.

Fourth, in an asymmetrical war the cult of the underdog is a valuable tool. Europeans march with posters showing scenes from Abu Ghraib, not of the beheading of Daniel Pearl or the murder of Margaret Hassan. They do not wish, much less expect, al Qaeda to win, but they still find psychic satisfaction in seeing the world’s sole superpower tied down, as if it were the glory days of the Vietnam protests all over again. How else can we explain why Amnesty International claims that Guantanamo — specialized ethnic foods, available Korans, and international observers — is comparable to a Soviet Gulag where millions once perished? So there is a deep, deep sickness in the West.


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