Saturday, June 04, 2005

Military Responsibility

Late Friday afternoon, the Pentagon released a report cataloging several confirmed instances of desecrations to the Koran that occurred at Guantanamo Bay. Some of the instances include copies of the book being stepped on, kicked, obscenities being written on them and, worst of all, being splashed with urine.

On March 25, a detainee complained to guards that "urine came through an air vent" and splashed on him and his Quran. A guard admitted he was at fault, but a report released Friday evening offering new details about Quran mishandling incidents did not make clear whether the guard intended the result.

In the March incident, as described in the report, the guard had left his observation post to go outside to urinate. The wind blew his urine through an air vent into the cell block. The guard's supervisor reprimanded him and assigned him to gate guard duty, where he had no contact with detainees, for the rest of his assignment at Guantanamo Bay.

So what, the guards don't have bathrooms at the prison? That's a pretty flimsy excuse. I don't like it any more than Newsweek printing unconfirmed reports of a copy of the Koran being flushed down the toilet.

Accidents happen and people make mistakes, but coming up with a convoluted excuse for how urine got on a Koran is pretty pathetic. Maybe I'm just naive and have too much faith in people doing the right thing all the time.

I think that the majority of people in the military go in for a good reason, but there is a small group of people that enters the military to have power. It's quite sad that they would then go on to perpetrate an action they knew was wrong and make up a convoluted excuse for how it was an accident. This is the kind of crap that makes people around the world distrust America and question the motives of the US military.

Furthermore, the fact that the Pentagon waited until after the evening news on Friday to release this report is a pretty sad display. That's a pretty immature way to handle the news. It's like when you were a kid and waiting until your parents were out of town to tell them you did something wrong. It's that childish hope that the extra time will let their anger and the punishment be diminished by the time they got back to discipline you. That's a pretty pathetic strategy for the US military to engage in. Maybe I just shouldn't have such high expectations of the military, but then why shouldn't I?

My real concern is that these newest reports will set off more riots in the Middle East. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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