Read on for the thought in every non-moronic head gracing the pages of yesterday's Charleston Gazette:"Rumsfeld’s “people are dead” reaction is astounding. Tens of thousands of
Iraqis are dead because of the needless war that Rumsfeld and the White House started on trumped-up evidence. Now it’s galling for him to feign outrage that “people are dead.”
Galling? Rumsfeld is indelibly so, but in answer to the rhetorical question "Was Newsweek wrong? Not unless, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Human Rights Watch quoting the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City, and several other sources, were also wrong. In other words, not friggin' likely! -- Lynette
-W Virginia -- May 18 2005
Was Newsweek wrong?
LAST year, British and Russian journals reported that U.S. interrogators tormented Muslim prisoners at the Guantanamo naval base prison in Cuba by desecrating their sacred scriptures, the Quran.
On Jan. 20, the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted lawyers protesting mistreatment of Kuwaiti prisoners at “Gitmo,” saying:
“Some detainees complained of religious humiliation, saying guards had defaced their copies of the Quran and, in one case, had thrown it in a toilet.”
Human Rights Watch quoted the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City as saying of Guantanamo prisoners:
“When Qurans were provided, they were kicked and thrown about by the guards, and on occasion thrown in the buckets used for toilets.... They would kick the Quran, throw it into the toilet, and generally disrespect it.”
Then on May 9, Newsweek said a military investigation had found: “Interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Quran down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash.”
Everyone knows the rest of the story: Foreign Muslims heard of the latter report, and a religious frenzy ensued. Rioting mobs in Afghanistan, screaming “protect our holy book,” burned down government buildings and ransacked relief organization offices. Fifteen were killed and scores injured. More riots flared in lands from Gaza to Indonesia.
The White House demanded that Newsweek recant and apologize. The national newsmagazine did so, cautiously. However, as far as we know, none of the previous reports was withdrawn.
Monday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: “People lost their lives. People are dead. [Reporters] need to be very careful about what they say.” And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added: “It’s appalling that this story got out there.”
What’s appalling, we think, is the sanctimony of Rumsfeld and Rice. The whole world knows that U.S. interrogators abuse and humiliate Muslim prisoners. Many photos prove it. Low-ranking soldiers like West Virginia’s Lynndie England have been prosecuted — but not the officers supervising the torment.
A military investigation released in March said 108 Muslim prisoners have died in U.S. custody — and at least 26 of the deaths were presumed “criminal homicide.”
This week, the New York Daily News reported that a former Guantanamo interrogator, Sgt. Jeannette Arocho-Burkart, was disciplined for taunting prisoners sexually, wearing skimpy clothes — and smearing red ink on their faces, telling them it was her menstrual blood. Then she left the Army and, incredibly, was hired to teach soldiers interrogation techniques at the Army Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Rumsfeld’s “people are dead” reaction is astounding. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead because of the needless war that Rumsfeld and the White House started on trumped-up evidence. Now it’s galling for him to feign outrage that “people are dead.”