That’s the headline you won’t be reading over this AP story filed tonight on investigative findings released by Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, the commander of the detention center in Cuba.
Buried down in the AP story about Quran abuses at Gitmo, we learn:
[Hood] said his investigation found 15 cases of detainees mishandling their own Qurans. “These included using a Quran as a pillow, ripping pages out of the Quran, attempting to flush a Quran down the toilet and urinating on the Quran,” Hood’s report said. It offered no possible explanation for those alleged abuses.
In the most recent of those 15 cases, a detainee on Feb. 18, 2005, allegedly ripped up his Quran and handed it to a guard, stating that he had given up on being a Muslim. Several of the guards witnessed this, Hood reported.
The WaPo headline over the AP story instead reads: “U.S. Confirms Gitmo Soldier Kicked Quran.” But the article provides no further details of that single incident, instead reporting on one instance of a contract interrogator, not a soldier, stepping on a Quran and then apologizing. The contract interrogator was later fired. In other cases, the story notes, “a guard’s urine came through an air vent and splashed on a detainee and his Quran; water balloons thrown by prison guards caused an unspecified number of Qurans to get wet; and in a confirmed but ambiguous case, a two-word obscenity was written in English on the inside cover of a Quran.”
The civil liberties Chicken Littles will again be up in arms. I’ve already received a late-breaking e-mail alert from CAIR assailing Gitmo’s “climate of abuse.” And the new media frenzy is already under way: here, here, here and here.
***Don’t trust the MSM reports. Read the Pentagon’s investigative findings for yourself here. See also the Pentagon news release, which puts things in proper perspective and the text of US military regs on handling the Koran. All in PDF. For those of you who can’t read the files, I’ve included excerpts in the extended entry below.***
I repeat: Yes, there have been abuses by U.S. military personnel. Bona fide abusers should be, and from all reports appear to have been, investigated and punished accordingly. But as Charles Krauthammer writes powerfully in his column from earlier today, “the self-flagellation has gone far enough.” Krauthammer’s last words:
Does the Koran deserve special respect? Of course it does. As do the Bibles destroyed by the religious police in Saudi Arabia and the Torahs blown up in various synagogues from Tunisia to Turkey.
Should the United States apologize? If there were mishandlings of the Koran, we should say so and express regret. And that should be in the context of our remarkably humane and tolerant treatment of the Guantanamo prisoners, and in the context of a global war on terrorism (for example, the campaign in Afghanistan) conducted with a discrimination and a concern for civilian safety rarely seen in the annals of warfare.
Then we should get over it, stop whimpering and start defending ourselves.
Update: Here’s an interesting e-mail that just arrived…
Your article describing the treatment of detainees and their access to books other than the Koran is accurate. The detainees also have their own medical facility and an exercise yard where they run, play soccer and engage in other physical activities.
I know these things because I was a guard there from Dec. 2002 to Sept. 2003. I was in a National Guard infantry unit assigned to man the towers inside and the checkpoints around Camp Delta. I have seen these things firsthand.
I will never forget seeing an MP waiting at Guantanamo Bay Naval Hospital after being splattered by a detainees bodily fluids. You never hear about these incidents in the media and you never hear about MP’s having to be tested for hepatitis and other infections due to these incidents.
Gitmo, like most detention facilities, will never approach any state of perfection. However, from what I have observed, most injuries to detainees were self-inflicted, such as attempted suicides.
That notwithstanding, the general atmosphere is not threatening. I cannot count the number of times a detainee would look up at me in one of the towers and give me a friendly smile and wave.
Prior to our units deployment to Gitmo we were trained to look for any sign of abuse toward the detainees and report it immediately. We were given cards with specific steps to take if such an event occured. This card became an inspectable item that we had to carry in our uniform shirt pocket when on duty.
This was all done to drive home to us the idea that we were there to do three specific things. We were to keep out unathorized personnel, prevent the escape of detainees, and ensure the safety of the detainees.
The correspondent also notes:
1.The international media makes regular visits (almost every week when I was stationed there).
2. The IRC is there all the time. They don’t just make occasional visits.
3. The FBI is there all the time. Not just to make inspections.
Update II: Miracles do happen. CNN gets a headline right: Detainees, not soldiers, flushed Quran
LGF’s Charles Johnson sez: “It’s riotin’ time”
La Shawn Barber: “If I see one more Koran ‘mishandling’ story, I might just buy a few to kick around myself.”
The Political Teen’s solution: “DO NOT give them Qurans.”
Joefish’s Freshwater Blog lays out the Left’s “Torture Narrative.”
Austin Bay: Fifteen to Five: Terrorists Beat Gitmo Guards in Koran “Mishandling”
Cori Dauber: Details, details
Roger L. Simon: Keeping your eye on the ball
Gaijin Biker: Urine big trouble now
Ankle Biting Pundits: The answer my friend…
Exceprts from the report below:
– “On 13 NOV 04, a guard conducted a routine cell search. While shaking out the sleeping mat, the guard accidentally knocked the detainee’s Koran out of the surgical mask [every Koran was hung on the wall in a surgical mask to protect it] onto the floor. The guard bent down and picked up the Koran. Available reports do not state which detainee owned the Koran; however, five detainees spat and threw liquids, including urine, at the guard after the Koran was touched.”
– “On 19 NOV 02, a detainee used his Koran as a pillow while he lay in his cell. The guards on duty recorded this incident….”
– “On 11 MAY 03, a guard observed a detainee rip up his Koran and state he was no longer a Muslim. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”
– “On 14 MAY 03, a guard observed a detainee rip his Koran into small pieces. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”
– “On 5 JUN 03, a guard observed two detainees accuse a third detainee of not being a man. In response, the detainee urinated on one of their Korans. The detainees resided in adjacent cells. The event was recorded in [FBI forms] on 5 JUN 03 and 19 JUN 03.”
– “On 23 FEB 04, a guard observed a detainee place two Korans in his toilet and state he no longer cared about the Koran or his religion. Five minutes later, after the detainee retrieved the Korans, he ripped several pages out of one Koran and threw the pages on the floor. Then he placed both Korans on the sink. The guard recorded the incident contemporaneously in a sworn statement.”
– “On 22 MAR 04, guard personnel observed a detainee tear the cover off of his Koran while inside his cell. The incident was recorded in the electronic blotter system.”
– “On 28 MAR 04, a detainee asked a guard to move a second detainee because he was throwing urine on the first detainee’s Koran. The guard recorded the first detainee’s request in the electronic blotter system. We have been unable to verify if the detainee was moved as requested.”
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