Friday, June 03, 2005

Pentagon Releases Details on Quran Desecrations

There’s an old adage that the government waits until Friday evenings to release any news it would rather see ignored. So it should be no surprise that the Pentagon waited until a Friday night to release the details about Quran desecrations at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

On the whole, these acts of desecration aren’t nearly as severe as originally alleged by prisoners. And it seems that all the guards and interrogators involved have been adequately disciplined. But we have to question why the Pentagon has been so slow in admitting these abuses. With so many in both America and around the world accusing the American government of committing horrible crimes, the Pentagon should be working hard to prove nothing is being covered up and everything is being done to ensure fair treatment of prisoners.

The Quran desecrations were wrong but not heinous and the problem has been dealt with properly. But releasing important info on a Friday night is not going to make the Pentagon look like it’s being entirely honest.


At 8:55 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Slightly off topic but...

"The Quran desecrations were wrong but not heinous..."

See, that's where folks lose me.

Many Americans don't see this type of stuff as heinous...however, the detainees certainly do. And the Islamic world certainly does. That's why our interrogators do it.

It's apples and oranges, IMO. It really doesn't matter what Americans consider heinous. The only thing that matters is that our interrogators KNEW that the detainees would consider it as such.

::shrug:: We're not a culture that places that much emphasis on "things" such as holy books. However, we damned sure knew that those Islamic detainees did.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Heiuan: my feeling is, desecration the Quran is improper and it's below us. But what did occur was apparently not as horrible as originally alleged. Maybe that's not a distinction that can be made. I dunno. But I don't think the fact that one American guard kicked a Quran is justification for these accusations that we're grossly violating human rights at Guantanamo. I think persepctive is in order--I don't necessarily expect that from radical Muslims, but I do expect that from fellow Americans. -- not that you personally fit into that category at all. Your argument is well founded and worthy of debate.

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Alan, I agree with you that the kicking of the Qu'ran is not a gross violation of human rights. At least in my American cultural perspective. And I know you're not aiming your comments in my direction specifically, lol.

I have to think logically about this issue, however.

Interrogators are only going to do things that they think will work, correct? So, following that logic, they wouldn't be using the Qu'ran in any way unless they knew they'd get a reaction. The worse they treated the book, the deeper the reaction they could get.

Whether I or any other American believe that the Qu'ran is holy really doesn't matter. To the Muslims, it is. Therefore, I really fail to understand why other Americans can't follow that simple logic string to its inevitable end.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Heiuan: what is that inevitable end? Assuming the Pentagon is fully disclosing what occured, there does not appear to be a pattern of Quran abuse so much as there was, apparently, a lack of appropriate supervision and training. Those responsible have been punished. Other than expressing the proper revulsion, what should we Americans do about this issue? (although I do find it amazing that Rumsfeld hasn't been forced to resign given all the serious problems he's presided over).

At 11:26 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Releasing this information on a Friday night is not going to make a difference one way or the other. I mean look at it this way… All of those talk shows this weekend are going to have a field day with all of this Quran stuff…

At 11:58 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Alan: Ah, sorry to have not been clear enough. The end that I was speaking of is that Muslims would find this treatment heinous in the extreme.

I don't buy that our troops were poorly trained. The interrogators that we utilize are highly trained. Drop over to John Cole's site and read some of the threads that dealt with what type of training these soldiers go thru and how long the training takes. These are highly specialized MOS', not a regular combat MOS. In other words, they had to have known what type of psychological impact this behavior would have on detainees. They are trained to know.

As to what we as Americans should do, well...Rumsfeld resigning would be a great start.

IMO, there are only two rationales here for his behavior: he is either incompetent in his position to such an extent that he cannot lead his department effectively, thus is deserving of dismissal; or he has knowingly aided and abetted this type of conduct by his personnel, and therefore, is ultimately responsible for their actions.

Either way, I find him a disgrace, and in my opinion, he should be gone.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Statement by Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence Di Rita on BG Hood Inquiry.........
In 31,000 documents covering 28,000 interrogations and countless thousands interactions with detainees, having issued 1,600 Korans, Southcom found 5 incidents of apparent mishandling by guards or interrogators and 15 incidents of mishandling and outright DESECRATION BY DETAINEES.
Rumsfeld is a BAD BAD MAN... (Not trying to be a smart "A" here but I just don't see the man having to lose his job over this...)

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

heiuan: Maybe it wasn't bed training, but I still don't see evidence that it was systematic. Assuming the Hood report is correct, these incidents were not part of a program or anything. It shouldn't have happened, but I don't think it was planned.

aubrey: no, this one incident should not result in Rumseld's resignation. But I still think he made a huge mistake when he decided to send in far too few troops into Iraq. It was enough to win the invasion, but not enough to secure the country (he was basically using a very important conflict to experiment with his leaner/faster army theory). That, in my mind, was a rather big mistake. Couple that with how badly some of our prisons were initially run and I'm not sure Rumsfeld should still be running things. I dunno. Accountability used to go to the top in administrations. Although that ended before Bush's guys ever took office.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Good points there men but Alan, we are getting off topic and I’m sorry but I just got to go there… As far as Rumsfeld not sending in enough troops into Iraq, I too am with you… I don’t know either. I do know that this was General Tommy Franks call and the bottom line on this is that most everyone who had a say signed off on it. The final decision was not Rumsfeld to make but the President’s. And as we all know we did not fire him, (President Bush) during the last election so that argument ends there.

I’ll continue by saying that many factors went into this decision on troop size and such. And yes these decisions will be debated for years and years to come. Only History will prove the right facts out and that my friend is going to be a long, long time off.

Now as far as mistakes go… The only mistake anyone can make is going to war in the first place. After that first big mistake has been made, the rules of war or imperfect. Nothing ever goes as planned... In all of History it never has and in the future it never will. Rumsfeld is the first to admit this and to be frank he has said this on many an occasion. Even before the “Two Wars” ever got started.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Aubrey, fair enough. It's not like I really know anything about planning a war. From a purely political standpoint, however, I'm surprised he wasn't asked to leave. Say what you want about Bush, but the man is loyal.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

At times I too am surprised the President hasn’t asked Sec. Rumsfeld to step down. As you said, if not but for Political Reasons. If I'm correct sometime back Rumsfeld did tell President Bush he would do just that... This chapter in History has already played out though and it just didn’t and isn’t going to happen. I do feel that in another year or two Sec. Rumsfeld will step down but not for the reasons in the above discussion.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Aubrey, I agree that Rumsfeld wouldn't deserve to lose his position over this issue, if this were an isolated incidence of mismanagement. It's not, however.

I really don't know what Rumsfeld had hoped to accomplish in his tenure, but the last five years of mistake after mistake haven't given me a warm, fuzzy feeling of satisfaction in the man's overall job performance.

We are a nation at war on three fronts: Afghanistan, Iraq and the more nebulous WOT. We simply can't afford a Secretary of Defense who isn't capable of performing his duties during wartime, no matter what the real reasons for incompetence are.

And that is strictly my opinion, YMMV.

Have a great weekend.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Rob Jackson said...

Okay, entering the discussion way late and after it's over but I'm faily certain Rumsfeld offered his resignation to Bush on at least one occasion after the first prison "scandel" and Bush refused it.


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