Saturday, May 14, 2005

Muslim Mayhem

Wild-eyed demonstrators are raging in the streets across the Muslim world. The standard "Death to America" chant resonates as U.S. flags are burned, property is destroyed, the stability of governments is threatened, and people are injured and killed. Why? Because of part of a sentence in a one-paragraph report* in the "Periscope" section of Newsweek on May 9. The offending words were:

...interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet....

Newsweek attributed this item to unnamed sources who they say talked to them about an investigation of prisoner abuse allegations underway at Guantanamo. It was quickly picked up by Arab satellite news services and then by other media in the Muslim world.

According to the U.S. government, attempts to determine the truth of this report have so far uncovered only an incident of a prisoner attempting to clog a toilet by tearing pages from a Qur'an and trying to flush them.

Even if Newsweek's unnamed sources are right and the story is true, you have to wonder about the magnitude and hysteria of the response. I wouldn't be surprised if many of those involved in the chaos have another agenda.

And what if Newsweek was wrong?

* The full text of the Newsweek report is in the comments section of this post.


Blogger Tom Carter said...

This is the full text of the Newsweek report. It wasn't linkable because I had to pay $2.95 to get it from their archives.

May 9, 2005
Section: Periscope
Edition: U.S. Edition
Page: 10
Gitmo: SouthCom Showdown
by Michael Isikoff and John Barry

Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash. An Army spokesman confirms that 10 Gitmo interrogators have already been disciplined for mistreating prisoners, including one woman who took off her top, rubbed her finger through a detainee's hair and sat on the detainee's lap. (New details of sexual abuse--including an instance in which a female interrogator allegedly wiped her red-stained hand on a detainee's face, telling him it was her menstrual blood--are also in a new book to be published this week by a former Gitmo translator.) These findings, expected in an upcoming report by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, could put former Gitmo commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller in the hot seat. Two months ago a more senior general, Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, was placed in charge of the SouthCom probe, in part, so Miller could be questioned. The FBI e-mails indicate that FBI agents quarreled repeatedly with military commanders, including Miller and his predecessor, retired Gen. Michael Dunleavy, over the military's more aggressive techniques. "Both agreed the bureau has their way of doing business and DOD has their marching orders from the SecDef," one e-mail stated, referring to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Sources familiar with the SouthCom probe say investigators didn't find that Miller authorized abusive treatment. But given the complaints that were being raised, sources say, the report will provoke questions about whether Miller should have known what was happening--and acted to try to prevent it. An Army spokesman declined to comment.

6:22 AM, May 14, 2005  
Blogger Esther said...

Chalk it up to yet another instance of over-reacting -- and this time it's to something that might not have even happened.

8:04 PM, May 14, 2005  
Anonymous AHS MilBlogger said...

I am not allowed to talk to the media, because I attempted to convince my chain of command that they are combatants, by virtue of the propoganda that they spread on behalf of our enemies.

8:37 PM, May 14, 2005  

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