Friday, May 27, 2005

Addendum to the Quran Discussion

Perhaps I spoke a little in haste. A day later than the BBC, the news about the FBI's report regarding abuse of the Quran has made the front page of Still not a top story, though. And now we do have a specific spokesman on record denying the claim of flushing the Quran. Brig. Gen. Jay Hood said that he has found "no credible evidence" of the flushing. Instead, though, he admits to finding 5 incidents where the Quran had been "mishandled," whatever that means.

Again, though, note the vague admission. Brig. Gen. Hood has provided no definite description of what actually happened. "Mishandled" doesn't sound that bad. But apparently it was bad to have been documented and verified. It seems that a responsible reporter, trying to get to the truth, would have asked what exactly had been done. Instead, the article follows the FUD technique. Admit a little bit, but then steer the discussion away from the actual allegations.

"None of these five incidents was a result of a failure to follow standard operating procedures in place at the time the incident occurred," Hood added.
Investigators also identified 15 separate incidents where detainees themselves mishandled or inappropriately treated the Quran, said Hood, who noted he believes current guidance for the guard force on the island "is adequate."

He said it was important to understand the population held at the detention center on the U.S. naval base.

"This is not a benign group of people," he said.

Notice the pattern in the last 3 paragraphs. By claiming detainees also "mishandled" the Quran (but with no exact explanation of what this means), he's saying that they did it too. But did what? Was their mishandling the same as ours? I don't know and never will. But now comes the kicker. After tossing a little uncertainty into the mix, he goes on to emphasize that these are not good people. So now the discussion has been steered away from the original allegations to the evil character of the detainees.

Let me make something very clear. I am not in any way attempting to defend the character of the detainees and imply that they are all innocent. It may be possible that there are some, but I am certainly not making that as an actual charge. I do not know about the cases of any of the "enemy combatants." Instead, my point is solely about our actions. There is documented evidence of "mishandling" of the Quran. If we want to heal relations and regain the respect of the world, we as a nation need to be more open. Say that X, Y, and Z were the actual events, this is what we have done about these incidents, and this is how we will prevent this from happening again. FUD does not work. It only feeds rumor and innuendo.

If we wish to take the moral high ground, we must do so in our actions. Empty talk about freedom, democracy, and national security accomplish nothing.


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