Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Life In The Gulag Of Our Times

I am very pleased to announce that we now have a second contributing writer. My friend Publius is a fellow founding member of CUANAS. In his professional life he is a University Professor specializing in Political Science. This is a good thing for CUANAS readers, as I would imagine that his knowledge would force me to stay grounded. My background is in Philosophy, Literature, and Music, which are all rather squishy disciplines, so I would imagine I need a good intellectual buttkicking once in awhile.

Anyway, Publius is now an official contributor, but we have yet to get all the kinks worked out, so today he emailed his first post to me, with a note requesting that I post his article for him. Therefore, while this post comes under my name, please understand that these are the words of Publius:

Life in the Gulag of our times...

More on the Koran issue from James Lileks. His sarcasm-laced diatribe seems “oh-so” appropriate given the juvenile reaction of the islamofascists. I chuckled out loud at the following line:

“if an infidel touches the book with the wrong hand… people react like a two-year-old whose peas are touching the mashed potatoes…”

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the piece:

The latest example of the US Army’s Koran Humiliation Initiative has that headline-grabbing word: URINE. You’d think Private Anderson swaggered over, unholstered Private Johnson and let loose a pounding stream of tangy intentional desecration on the book as it was clutched to the sobbing breast of the terrorist. (Sorry, detainee.) Of course, what really happened was slightly less horrible; someone took a leak outside the cells, and the gentle Caribbean breeze carried a jot of pee through a ventilation grill, where it lit upon the Koran.

As the WaPo story notes: “The Sergeant of the guard . . . ensure the detainee received a fresh uniform and a new Qu’ran.”

Life in the Gulag of our times. Bastards probably didn’t take all the pins out of the uniform. As for the allegation of flushing, the Pentagon inquiry “determined that no such incident took place. The probe did find, however –“And here we get to the pith of the gist: Newsweek’s allegations were fake but accurate.

“The probe did find, however that rumors of such an event swirled around the facility in the summer of 2002 after a detainee dropped his Qu’ran on the floor and other detainees blamed that on U.S. guards.”

Well, then. They made him drop it! Special Jew Mind Beams at work, no doubt. Say no more. No, let’s:

“The story changed as detainees passed it along, escalating to rumors that U.S. troops ripped pages out of the book and then flushed it.”

So rumors escalated into more rumors. Remake page one. We continue:

“But the investigation’s results also are contrary to the recent claims of top Pentagon officials that there were no credible accounts of Qur’an mishandling. The first case, in February 2002, arose when a detainee complained that guards at Camp X-ray kicked the Qur’an of a detainee in a neighboring cell. Though interrogators and guards noted the incident at the time, there was no further investigation.”

Three and a half years ago, a guard kicked a Qur’an. It’s a front page story today. Well, who am I to question the news judgment of the Post? Obviously it matters.

One then must ask: is flushing worse than kicking? Flushing, after all, requires some amount of premeditation. One has to decide to flush a book. Kicking a book may be done in the heat of anger – say, when you’re interviewing someone fighting for a movement that wanted little girls to stay indoors all their lives dressed in hot sacks until the merry day when they were married off at 14 to some middle-aged guy with a nice job in the Remnants of Buddhism Demolition Division. If the guy might have info on what Al Qaeda was up to next – you know, the group from which the terro (SORRY!) detainee was plucked a mere five months after the Twin Towers thundered down, you might be tempted to shed all your civilized inhibitions and kick a book.

We continue: “Other confirmed reports included a two-word obscenity being written in the inside cover of the Qur’an, though investigators were unable to determine who wrote the phrase and concluded it was possible that the complaining detainee – who was conversant in English – may have defaced his own book.”

To squeeze it down: the investigation contradicted Pentagon reports that there were no credible accounts of Qur’an mishandling because there was a confirmed report of a naughty word written in the book, possibly by the book’s owner.

Got it? Front page summation in my paper:

“Guards at Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba kicked, stepped on and splashed urine on the Qur’an, in some cases intentionally but also by accident, the Pentagon reporter. Detainees were also found to have abused it.”

Kicked, stepped on, and splashed urine. Splashed. The word suggests that someone waddled over with a brimming pot of urine and gave the vat a heave-ho, just to motivate the detainee. Stories like these must be told, of course, if only to show what the media finds important, and remind us how good things are going. I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:

What’s the main story? The smallpox quarantine? Fallout from the Iranian – Israeli exchange contaminating Indian crops? A series of bombings in heartland malls?

"Well, no – the big story today has to do with soldiers mishandling terrorists' holy texts at a detention center."

Mishandling? How? Like, you mean, they opened it up without first checking to see if it was ticking, and it blew up –"No, they handled it in a way that disrespected it. Infidels are supposed to use gloves."

Oh. So we lost, then.

Don't get me wrong. I want us to do the right thing. I don't think there should be a policy that permits interrogators to treat the Qur'an like it was, oh, a Bible discovered in the Saudi airport customs line. But when it comes to the revelations of these Gitmo tales, I cannot care as much as they would like me to care. I cannot.

Not to say we should treat the Qur’an with casual disrespect. But if an infidel touches the book with the wrong hand and people react like a two-year-old whose peas are touching the mashed potatoes, well, I understand why this matters, but when measured against the sins of headchoppery and carbombs, it pales to an evanescent translucence.

Odd how the story isn’t about the rules and the precautions and the spine-cracking efforts to bend over backwards to make sure infidels get out the tongs when approaching the sacred book of the terrori – sorry, the detainees - Sorry, the murderous gynophobic gay-hating fundamentalist theocratic cultural imperialists. No, the story is the infinitesimal number of times in which the rules were breached over the course of years. It’s like doing a story about Wal-Mart’s employment practices, and following a story about forced overtime with an expose on expired non-dairy creamers in the breakroom. By hammering the tale for three weeks the MSM manages to dilute the impact of the beloved Abu Grabass scandal; pyramidal prisoners, wafting pee – all the same, all front page news.

Of course, it’s all a seamless whole if your intention is to remind people of the three basic preconceptions of reporting on a war conducted by anyone whose initials aren’t JFK: the Pentagon lies, the troops are dullards and brutes, and Nixon is a criminal.

If Al Qaeda blew up a Bible depository in Malaysia tomorrow, it would be page A-16. If forty-six were killed in riots in Pakistan because of a rumor that US forces had pantomimed “The Satanic Verses” in a North Carolina PX, it would be on page A-12. When they’re nuts, it’s not news. When we’re found guilty of wind-assisted desecration, it’s A-1. You may draw your own conclusions from that.

In any case, it’s had the expected result: (h/t LGF)

The Official Spokesman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ambassador Atta El-Manan Bakhit, has stated that the confession by the southern command of the United States army on the occurrence of cases of desecration of the Holy Qur’an in Guantanamo prison was a confirmation of the practices that had been reported in the papers and strongly condemned by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

He said that this disgraceful conduct of those soldiers reveal their blatant hatred and disdain for the religion of millions of Muslims all over the world and throws into doubt the nature of the instructions given to the American soldiers on religious values and principles of tolerance.

He added that these unequivocally rejected practices could only lead to an incitement of religious feelings and a deepening of the gulf of difference and intolerance between the Muslim world and the United States of America.

The OIC Spokesman urged the United States Government to live up to its responsibilities and not be lenient with the perpetrators of the desecration. He also demanded that those responsible for this despicable crime should be brought to justice immediately and that urgent measures should be taken to calm the tension in the Muslim world and ensure that such detestable acts are not repeated in the future.

Hey, Newsweek: call up Tommy Franks and ask for the banner they put on the ship Bush visited. You know the one: "Mission Accomplished."