Saturday, June 04, 2005

Newsweek KoranGate, 2.0


Today's Old Gray Lady tackles the Newsweek-KoranGate story, hopefully putting the story to rest. The Pentagon report, curiously issued on yesterday -- a Friday -- after the major evening news broadcasts had ended, essentially exonerates the military from the charge of any specific officer intentionally flushing a copy of the Koran down the toilet.

In one instance detailed in the report, a contract interrogator "apologized to a detainee for stepping on the detainees Koran in an earlier interrogation." I am generally of the opinion that the military has been consciously respectful in its policy towards the Koran and the detainees (though, of course, not 100 percent of the time), and that the occurrences of Koran abuse are unusual instances of stupidity. Nothing tells me otherwise (Newsweek withdrew their story) Eric Schmitt writes:

"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 detainee was given a fresh uniform and a new Koran, and the guard was reprimanded and assigned to guard duty that kept him from contact with detainees for the remainder of his time at Guantanamo, according to the military inquiry.

"The investigation into allegations that the Koran had been mishandled also found that in one instance detainees' Korans were wet because guards on the night shift had thrown water balloons on the cellblock.

"In another case, a two-word obscenity was written in English on the inside cover of a Koran, but investigators could not determine whether a guard or detainee had written it."

According to the report intentional Koran abuse was a "rare occurrence." I hope so.

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