Saturday, June 4


I know wingers think we liberals are all America-hating, America-blaming traitorous atheistic slugs, but it's just not true. I love my country in an almost maudlin way, and I take no pleasure in mistakes made in our name. But like a good parent can't just close their eyes when their child misbehaves and pretend it didn't happen, lest the child graduate to worse offenses, I can't put on blinders when my country does wrong. On the contrary, I want to fix it and make it better, truer to its ideals.

So I read this report, in which the Army tries to refute allegations of misuse of the Koran at Gitmo:

The U.S. Southern Command, which supervises the Guantanamo facility, said Friday that in specific incidents prisoners' Korans were kicked, stepped on, and drenched with water. In one incident, the report says a ventilation system carried a soldier's urine into a prisoner's cell, which got on the prisoner and his Koran. The report says that incident was accidental, but the soldier was removed from his post. It says the prisoner was given a new Koran and a new set of clothes.

All of the incidents happened in mid-2003 or earlier, except the accidental urine incident. The investigation also uncovered several other incidents of complaints by prisoners about handling of the Koran, but concluded that the incidents were either minor or could not be confirmed.

Excuse me, accidental urination? How does urine go from a soldier to a ventilation system (aren't they installed in the ceiling?), which then gets into a prisoner's cell? Sounds more likely that the soldier peed into the cell deliberately. I don't WANT to believe an American soldier would do something so disgusting and demeaning so I can "blame America," and in fact I've NEVER blamed America. I've blamed Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I and Bush II. That's not the same thing as blaming America. America is an ideal, a vision of good governance based upon our Constitution. My country is the United States OF America. And when obvious, pitiful lies are put out in our name, I'm embarrassed and/or outraged. Who do they think is going to believe this tale of accidental urination seepage through the ventilation system that was so great it wet the prisoner's Koran and his clothes? And if it was inadvertent, why was the soldier removed from his post?

The irony is, there are plenty gullible true believers who will swallow it. And what should be a hilarious story for Jon Stewart's Daily Show will probably be completely ignored by everyone else.

UPDATE: The NY Times has more detail on the incident:

The splashing of urine was among the cases described as inadvertent. It was said to have occurred when a guard urinated near an air vent and the wind blew his urine through the vent into a detainee's cell.
The final report released on Friday said that four of the five incidents took place after January 2003, after written procedures governing the handling of the Koran had been put in place. That contradicted an account provided last Thursday by General Hood, who was asked directly whether all five of the incidents had taken place before January 2003, and replied: "Not all of them. One of them occurred since then."


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