Friday, May 27, 2005


Randy Andy Gets A Few Things Right

Andrew Sullivan, the HIV-Positive Barebacking Tory Moralist and Tax Dodger, shocks the hell out of me by actually getting something right RE: the Koran story:

SURPRISE! FBI documents provide countless claims by inmates that desecration or abuse of the Koran was deployed as an interrogation technique at Guantanamo. For good measure, we even have a toilet story. At this point: Did you really believe otherwise? Yes, these reports are from inmates; and, yes, those inmates are obviously biased, even trained to lie. But the sheer scope and scale of the protests, the credible accounts of hunger-strikes in Afghanistan and Gitmo, and the reference, cited below, of interrogators conceding that they too had heard of such techniques, seems to me to resolve the question. The U.S. has deliberately and consciously had a policy of using religious faith as a lever in interrogation of terror suspects. Is this "torture"? It is certainly part of psychological abuse. It is also beyond stupid. Do you really think that throwing the Koran around is likely to prompt an Islamist fanatic to tell you what he knows? Did anyone ask what the broader consequences might be of such techniques - in polarizing Muslim opinion against the U.S., in providing every left-wing hack rhetorical weapons against the United States, in handing the Islamists a propaganda victory that makes all our effort to spread democracy in that region that much harder? Still, we can be grateful for Scott McClellan for one thing: he dared the press to provide substantiation for the Newsweek claim. We've now got it. Will administration defenders finally concede we have a problem?
And here's another goodie from him:
APOLOGIST UPDATE: John Cole wonders what the apologists for detainee abuse will have to say now. He forgot one option: complete silence. Only the true apparatchiks are spinning this one.
And finally, Sullivan points out this little tidbit:
Remember also that at Gitmo, none of the interrogators was an amateur. They cannot pull the Lynndie England defense. Someone somewhere thought this was a good idea. Who?
Yeah, who?

One thing to keep in mind... There's a rule of thumb in business that in a nominally free society like, say, America before Bush, for every complaint, there are a hundred who don't complain. It must have taken enormous courage for those who did lodge official protests-- whether they were true or not-- to do so.

Over at BalloonJuice, the Society of Apprentice Storm Troopers feels it necessary to repeat and repeat that Al Qaida types would lie. From what we know, there may be no real Al Qaida people in Guantanamo. About three-quarters seem to have gotten swept in by accident and many have been quietly released. Another contingent are captured Taliban soldiers or other people resisting the American occupation, not professional terrorists. I would guess that at most, maybe 5-10% of the inmates have Al Qaida links of even the most tenuous kind. So, maybe there were a dozen people who would lie. If so, they must have expected to be shipped off to some roach bin worse than Guantanamo, maybe a torture facility in Egypt.

But using the rule of thumb, one would suspect it's more likely that abuse was widespread. It wouldn't be surprising if people would admit to hearing about an abuse rather than making the allegation directly if they were in fear of getting sent to a torture outsource facility.

The facts will eventually emerge, maybe before I lapse into senility and will get published on page C14 of the New York Times.
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