Secret Red Cross reports confirm numerous claims of Guantanamo Koran desecrations.
May 19, 2005 11:58 PM   Subscribe

International Red Cross confirms Gitmo Koran desecration claims. After Bush administration denials and attempts to smear/pressure Newsweek, the International Red Cross has revealed that as early as 2002, they repeatedly reported numerous researched, credible allegations of Koran maltreatment and desecration at Guantanamo.
posted by insomnia_lj (59 comments total)
I wonder if this Koran desecration story is ultimately going to help or hurt the administration. It seems like it has already been spun into "Newsweek lied, Afghanies died" with such skill that this revelation might be easily dismissed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:10 AM on May 20, 2005

Where's the link about the wackjobs who kill each other when they hear about their book being "desecrated?" That's way more fun.
posted by shoos at 12:28 AM on May 20, 2005

If you look at a book as the (often verbatim) word of God, you'd get a bit pissed if someone flushed it down the toilet. I can understand it.

Anyway, good job RC; Ding - Round 2 (fiight!)
posted by flippant at 12:36 AM on May 20, 2005

I know that I'm going to get ripped to pieces for even saying it, but note that the article confirms "descration", not "flushing the Koran down the toilet." The Newsweek article was withdrawn because it alleged that specific incident, which has not been confirmed.

That said, any soldier who perpetrated this is an asshole.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:44 AM on May 20, 2005

If some Christians did the same thing? Word of God, etc, etc?
posted by shoos at 1:05 AM on May 20, 2005

If some Christians did the same thing? Word of God, etc, etc?
posted by shoos at 1:05 AM PST on May 20 [!]

Don't worry, it's in the plan...
Let everybody get in a big huff, and make sure you take down another lefty liberal news organization, then let it out that THEY are doing it to OUR book...
They probably are, (if you believe in that sort of thing) but wait till you see the shock and awe presentation!
THEN we'll see those recruitment numbers rise!
posted by Balisong at 1:18 AM on May 20, 2005

I'm not sure even bible desecration would get recruitment numbers up at this point. Most kids old enough to go off to war are smart enough to realize that they could get killed, they're likely to be shipped off, and we're not going to see any relative peace for at least a few years.

The fact of the matter is, Newsweek picked the wrong incident to cover. However, plenty of blasphemy against Islam, including Koranic desecration, has happened as part of a mental torture campaign against Muslim prisoners.

We'll take down a few more grunts who'll serve time like good soldiers, maybe even taking a decent chunk of change behind the scenes for their sacrifice. I wouldn't put it past a few corrupt officials to do that. We won't get anyone of any importance, just enough to sate the bloodlust of the moderates until some new distraction comes along.

I'd almost give a little credit to the idea that there were noble goals behind this ill-conceived war, but what the military is allowing only breeds resentment in Muslims, including the moderates who want to give America a chance. If we're flushing the Koran in order to get information on a possible terrorist attack that'll kill a hundred, how do we explain that act when a hundred kids decide that America is the enemy of Islam, and kill a hundred people each in their own attacks?

No, at this point, it'd take a top level government official actually proclaiming the Koran was holy and vowing to punish any soldier who desecrated it. Sure, they could probably get away with a few grunt sacrifices, but the PR would hurt Bush on his home front, something he won't stand for when he knows losing party support in the 2006 elections will cause him no end of trouble.

In short? It probably won't start nuclear war, but I wouldn't be opposed to jailing any soldier who desecrated the Koran solely on charges of "pure fucking stupidity", or demoralizing allies or something like that.
posted by Saydur at 1:36 AM on May 20, 2005

1) You couldn't flush a Koran down a toilet, unless they have some super crazy high power acid eating toilets over there.
2) You could rip out pages, but that's not "Flushing a Koran down the toilet".
3) Ok, maybe a little tiny mini-version, maybe.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 1:41 AM on May 20, 2005

Flushed with Enthusiasm:

We were not so sad when we were tortured. But when they insulted Islam it was really very difficult. They would come into the cell and search our belongings. They would pick up the Holy Koran and go through it page by page like they were looking for something. We didn’t understand what they were saying while they did this. Then they would throw the Holy Koran on the ground or drop it in the latrine. This made us very upset.
posted by gsb at 1:52 AM on May 20, 2005

After reading that Harper's article, my mind momentarily popped out of it's safe little shell and asked, "wtf?". But it's back in it's shell now. Nice and safe.
posted by futureproof at 2:07 AM on May 20, 2005

other press agencies that reported Koran desecration before Newsweek:
Washington Post 3/26/03

"The men, the largest single group of Afghans to be released after months of detainment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave varying accounts of how American forces treated them during interrogation and detainment. Some displayed medical records showing extensive care by American military doctors, while others complained that American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them."

The Independent (UK) 08/05/04

"In the report, released in New York, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul - the so-called Tipton Three - said one inmate was threatened after being shown a video in which hooded inmates were forced to sodomise each other. Guards allegedly threw prisoners' Korans into toilets, while others were injected with drugs, it was claimed."

Philadelphia Inquirer 1/20/05

"Some detainees complained of religious humiliation, saying guards had defaced their copies of the Koran and, in one case, had thrown it in a toilet, said Kristine Huskey, who interviewed clients late last month. Others said that pills were hidden in their food and that people came to their cells claiming to be their attorneys, to gain information."

New York Times 5/1/05

"Mr. al-Mutairi said there were three major hunger strikes in his more than three years of imprisonment at Guantánamo. He said that after one of them, a protest of guards' handling of copies of the Koran, which had been tossed into a pile and stepped on, a senior officer delivered an apology over the camp's loudspeaker system, pledging that such abuses would stop. Interpreters, standing outside each prison block, translated the officer's apology."

BBC 5/2/05

"He said a number of Arab prisoners had still not spoken to their investigators after three years to protest at the desecration of the Koran by guards. "
why Newsweek is getting accused of faulty reporting is beyond me, particularily when the Joint Cheifs of Staff last week said that the magazine paragraph had nothing to do with the unrest in Afghanistan.

the only mistake that Newsweek made was admitting to making a mistake.
posted by tsarfan at 2:29 AM on May 20, 2005

OK. everybody who believes that your holy book is worth fighting to the death, over here. Ready? Set? Go...we'll be back to check in a few days.
posted by telstar at 2:45 AM on May 20, 2005

Why does the Red Cross hate America?

Boy, we'd really be in trouble if the American people didn't hold the Bush administration to the same standard of proof as the news media...

posted by Davenhill at 2:54 AM on May 20, 2005

Who cares?
posted by fijidan at 4:02 AM on May 20, 2005

the only mistake that Newsweek made was admitting to making a mistake

A lesson that politicians and criminals learned long ago.
posted by grouse at 4:05 AM on May 20, 2005

Both articles "confirm" that allegations were made by the incarcerated and former inmates.
posted by Captaintripps at 4:35 AM on May 20, 2005

the only mistake that Newsweek made was admitting to making a mistake.

Hear, hear.

On another note, hasn't Red Cross been complaining about human rights violations for quite some time. Do people really only care once there is a book factor?
posted by slf at 4:36 AM on May 20, 2005

If you look at a book as the (often verbatim) word of God, you'd get a bit pissed if someone flushed it down the toilet. I can understand it.

Talk about letting someone push your buttons. I just don't get this. It's a book. We have printing presses. We can make more copies and oooh, they'd be identical. Behold modern technology. It is good.

I'm not saying it wasn't stupid or cruel to do but of all my problems as a Gitmo detainee, that would be at the bottom of the list.
posted by a_day_late at 4:39 AM on May 20, 2005

From an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, "Newsweek and the Quran" by Kenneth L. Woodward:

The Quran is not "the Bible" of Muslims. It is infinitely more sacred than that. To use a Jewish analogy, it is more like the oral Torah first revealed on Mount Sinai which was later passed on orally through the prophets and eventually written down on scrolls for all to read. Whereas Christians regard the Bible as written by human beings inspired by God, Muslims regard the Quran -- the word means "The Recitation" -- as the very words of God, revealed aurally to the Prophet Muhammed in Arabic. To hear those words recited is, for Muslims, to hear Allah. If, for Christians, Jesus is the logos or eternal Word of God made flesh, the Quran is the Word of God made book, and every Arabic syllable in it lives as the breath of the divine.

In short, what Christ is for Christians the Quran (in Arabic) is for Muslims: the living Word of God made present in this world. Moreover, to recite the suras or verses of the Quran , as devout Muslims do, is to breathe in the very words of Allah. Thus, recitation of the Quran is for Muslims much like what receiving the Eucharist is for Catholics -- a very intimate ingestion of the divine itself. This, then, according to Newsweek's story -- now retracted and "regretted" by the magazine's editor -- is what some interrogators flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay.

posted by Captaintripps at 4:42 AM on May 20, 2005

Then they would throw the Holy Koran on the ground or drop it in the latrine. This made us very upset.

If I was locked into a small cell for years on end with only one book to read, and the guards kept dropping it in the latrine I'd be getting pretty upset by that too. The single book could be "green eggs and ham", it wouldn't make a difference, latrine-cooties on my only book is gross.
posted by dabitch at 4:50 AM on May 20, 2005

> Where's the link about the wackjobs who kill each other when they hear about their book
> being "desecrated?" That's way more fun.

Here you go.
posted by jfuller at 5:05 AM on May 20, 2005

Excellent Interrogation Tactic. "Hey, you just desecrated everything I believe in. Now I'll tell you what you want to know."

I've got another book for the Bush Gang:
How To Win Friends And Influence People
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:38 AM on May 20, 2005

It is indeed hard to convey the special respect muslims have for the Qu'ran.

Examples: muslims are not allowed to *touch* a copy unless they are in a state of purification (ie they have done ritual ablution). No throwing away either, copies or books containing sections must be either buried in a place where nobody will walk on it or (ironically?) burned after the name of Allah (swt) and the Prophets (pbut) have been removed. Preferably after shredding.

The administration did handle this with surprisingly good PR skill. The people protesting had a whole lot more peeves than just the reported incident.
posted by Mossy at 5:39 AM on May 20, 2005

It is unfair, whatever one's political stance, to class a whole group of people as "wackjobs". Not anything against you, jfuller, but it's still not fair, let alone PC (if anyone still cares). I think the explanation by Captaintripps is a good one, however, and won't explain.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:41 AM on May 20, 2005

Incidentally, being new to Metafilter, how long does it take for a thread to be closed and archived? Is it the author's choice, or is there a time limit? It wasn't in the FAQ, I don't think...
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:46 AM on May 20, 2005

Afghan Riots Not Tied to Report on Quran Handling, General Says

Weird. Media, meh..
posted by Mossy at 5:51 AM on May 20, 2005

Thank you.

Are there, incidentally, Christians that believe that the Bible is the absolute and unedited word of God? Like the Creationists? Would they respond in the same way to the desecration of the Bible? Since the Bible is mass-produced and mass-printed, and doesn't require special care, I wouldn't think so. But they'd still be peeved, maybe.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:51 AM on May 20, 2005

Google search: treatment of Christians in Suadi Arabia

Google search: treatment of Christians in Egypt

Google search: historical treatment of Hindus by the Taliban

etc etc. You can all google, right?

Now if we can only get the outraged Muslims in the world to also actively protest the pervasive bigotry and hatred that exists in their world against PEOPLE of other religions, perhaps their reverence for their book would be a little less hypocritical.
posted by reality at 6:21 AM on May 20, 2005

Hmm, so because x does something it makes it ok for us to do so as well?

American muslims I know are pretty peeved about the lack of respect to the Qu'ran too, they expect higher standards from their government.
posted by Mossy at 6:26 AM on May 20, 2005

reality, it's not a "tit-for-tat" game. We're supposed to show respect for all religions, whether a person is in jail or not. It's part of that whole freedom thing.

And, if you don't believe that, realize that there's no way to think of "us" as any better than "them" if we show the same lack of respect they do. It puts us on the same level, something i don't think you want to believe, right? Aren't we supposed to be better than that?

malus, i don't know about Christians, but torah scrolls in synagogues are treated with great reverence (not the printed books as much).
posted by amberglow at 6:35 AM on May 20, 2005

It's kind of amusing to imagine how this would play out if the US needed to torture / interrogate Zen Buddhist terrorists someday:

Investigator: "You're going to tell us what we want to know, or we burn your scriptures, shit on your teachings, and jerk off on a picture of the Buddha!"

Zen Guy: "Not bad! Are you sure you haven't practised Zen before?"

Investigator: "Fuck you! Why don't we just leave you sitting here in the dark for a few days and see how you like that?!"

Zen Guy: "That's what I was doing before you guys brought me in here."

Investigator: "Do you realize that we can take away everything you own? Everything you hold dear?!"

Zen Guy: "I've been working on that for awhile, but if you really think you can help, it's worth a shot."
posted by idontlikewords at 6:49 AM on May 20, 2005

Well done, idontlikewords.
posted by COBRA! at 7:08 AM on May 20, 2005

Who cares if the Koran was flushed or just dropped in the toilet? Who cares if non-Muslims don't get it and wonder how people can get so upset over "just a book"? Whether you get it or not, it obviously upsets these prisoners enormously, to the point of psychologically tormenting them. It's been reported repeatedly for years, but when people actually read it in Newsweek and get pissed, the Bushies blame Newsweek!!!!!!!! As if it's Newsweek's fault for reporting the crimes of the administration!!!!!!!!
posted by krash2fast at 7:12 AM on May 20, 2005

I recently saw a wonderful exhibition called The Turks - A journey of 1000 years. The thing that struck me most out of this exhaustive survey was the beauty and care put into the medieval illuminated Korans they had on display -- truly inspired works of art.

amberglow, that Baghram article makes for some tough and revelatory reading -- I nearly FPPed it. How long can BushCo keep denying the reality of what's been going on?
posted by cbrody at 7:19 AM on May 20, 2005

On preview, someone beat me to it.
posted by cbrody at 7:29 AM on May 20, 2005

"What is Buddha?"
"Dried shitstick." -Yu-men

Hee hee, good one idontlikewords.

For those who are not reverent it is almost impossible to understand why this is such a big deal. I am not reverent in a way that someone dunking a book in a toilet would disturb me, but that is not the point at all. The point, and it cannot be emphasized enough, is that all of these efforts in persecuting the "war on terror" are being executed with maximum incompetence and lack of foresight. I think the actions of the Bush administration since 9/11 have been criminal and callow. Even that is not the point, however, as they aren't going to pay for it in the near-future. Their actions have been futile and purely ham-handed and the whole world is going to pay.

As an aside the whole Spook as cool and capable operator idea has been shattered forever (publicly), it's now secret agent as bumbling bully and cruelty artist (publicly). Could be some good books and films in that vein.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:33 AM on May 20, 2005

I myself, with, (it seems) most of the users on this thread, also agrees with the fabulously phrased words of, ironically enough, idontlikewords. It also highlights the fact that... alright, I'm talking rubbish. Anyway, I agree. I'll think of something better and more enlightened to post. Promise.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2005

idontlikewords, that made my week.
posted by digaman at 8:10 AM on May 20, 2005

I hereby formally request that idontlikewords becomes the new head of interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Furthermore, I also request that he be given authority over all other prisoners in Cuba, whether they are held by Fidel Castro, or by George Bush. I'm sure all prisoners will agree that idontlikewords is a much better choice that either leader.
posted by miguelbar at 8:30 AM on May 20, 2005

Can you imagine the outrage on the right that would occur if say, if I, a lefty American citizen during this "War On Terror" were to burn an American Flag in front of the Capitol? It's a weak analogy, I know, but the principle applies, nonetheless. To argue that "it's just a book" is disingenuous at best - even if you're not an adherent to the religion in question, to destroy a symbolic representation of it is, to be polite, callous.
posted by jivadravya at 8:37 AM on May 20, 2005

idontlikewords : That was fabulous!

I really wanted to comment on the suggestion that the reason that prisoner abuse is coming to light is that there's a book involed now...

I think it's mostly that there's a toilet involved. Seems like the way to an American's outrage is through his toilet. I'm sure if they were simply ripping pages out of the Qu'ran there would not be the same response from the media.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:09 AM on May 20, 2005

Look at how people in the U.S. get so crazy at the thought of burning the Ameri.can flag...but that said, there seems a distinction to be made between holy books, as shown here, in which the Koran is seen as somehow different from other holy books:
posted by Postroad at 9:42 AM on May 20, 2005

Where's the link about the wackjobs who kill each other when they hear about their book being "desecrated?" That's way more fun.

Actually, I believe that most of the 'rioters' died when troops (whether ours or Afghani) fired on the crowds of protestors.
posted by norm at 9:51 AM on May 20, 2005

But we think the Arab-Muslim world must also look in the mirror when it comes to how it has been behaving toward an even worse crime than the desecration of God's words, and that is the desecration of God's creations.

Talk about missing the point. For a faithful Muslim, there is no worse crime than the desecration of God's words. Period. It's not even a point of discussion: it is simple fact of faith.

I think the root of these problems is this: the two cultures of West and (mid-)East fail to recognize that they share no common ground. They are nearly polar opposites. They can not interact in a deeply meaningful way.

The best we can do is agree to disagree, and get the hell out of each others' faces. Keep to simple trade of natural resources and raw materials, and avoid all other interaction.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 AM on May 20, 2005

It's all about who's on top. Yes, the Quran is extremely holy. But if Muslims were running the show, and some podunk backwater called America burned the Quran, people would just shrug and say, well they're ignorant people, what can we do.

But, since America has a big chunk of the Muslim world under its thumb, and spends a lot of time threatening the rest, it makes it a much bigger deal.

The point is that after all of the injustices of the past year, this is the proverbial straw (for some... notice that we haven't seen violent protests in 90% of all Muslim countries).
posted by chaz at 10:29 AM on May 20, 2005

five fresh fish - what about all of the muslims living in the West? Surely they should have some common ground/understanding adhering to the muslim religion and having been bought up in a Western society?
posted by Mossy at 10:33 AM on May 20, 2005

Five Fresh Fish is missing a larger point. Islam isn't really much different from the Christianity of 500 years ago. Its just that modern Christianity has been, um, domesticated. Neutered if you will. Islam is the last of the wild religions left in the world. After WWII Japan's State Shinto was domesticated, tamed, whatever.

Any religion in its wild state is dangerous, Islam attracts attention because its the only major religion left that hasn't been neutered yet. The process isn't fast, and bombs don't really help. I honestly think that the best way to eleminate the threat presented by un-domesticated Islam is Hollywood.

We will "corrupt" wild Islam via movies, video games, books, etc. Sure, they censor what they import but censorship is never perfect and some of the intent of the uncensored work gets through. Over time the censors become lax, standards slip and what would never have gotten past the censors a decade ago is perfectly acceptable now.

In a few decades Islam will be no more dangerous than Christianity or Shinto.
posted by sotonohito at 11:15 AM on May 20, 2005

Soto: That's an interesting perspective. I agree with some parts (like that Hollywood and the Entertainment Industrial Complex will be more effective than bombs in the long run), but I'm not sure that there's a direct parallel between Islam and Christianity, both with regard to inherent messages about violence (Islam is much more focused on active struggle than on humility) and the cultural vantage points (Islam is much more a religion of the poor and destitute than 1400s Christianity, which was already the de facto religion of Western Civilization).
posted by klangklangston at 12:47 PM on May 20, 2005

"In a few decades Islam will be no more dangerous than Christianity..."

posted by insomnia_lj at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2005

idontlikewords that was brilliant! (Sorry I got here late)

The Newsweek article was withdrawn because it alleged that specific incident, which has not been confirmed.

Waitaminute I've heard this tune before with the Dan Rather thing: "It's true overall, but just in these minor specific details it's wrong ergo the reporter/story is wrong and BushCo is thus entirely right"
posted by Smedleyman at 2:01 PM on May 20, 2005

Mossy: Obviously. They live in the crass, commercial West. That alone requires them to compromise on the holiest of holies. I think a person would have to look long and hard to find a second- or third-generation Westernized Muslim who can really manage a good homicidal outrage over the desecration of the Qu'ran.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:17 PM on May 20, 2005

If the guards of the US concentration camps are prepared to desecrate and maltreat human beings, they're not going to get prissy over a book. It's not just credible that they destroyed copies of the Koran in unpleasant ways in front of Muslim prisoners, it would be incredible that they didn't. It's like accusing Palestinian separatists of burning US flags - why on earth wouldn't they?

Of course, the only interest group that actually benefits from such simian behavior are the plumbers.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:12 PM on May 20, 2005

Oh, I didn't read your initial comments correctly.

Talk about missing the point. For a faithful Muslim, there is no worse crime than the desecration of God's words. Period. It's not even a point of discussion: it is simple fact of faith.

This is incorrect.

aeschenkarnos - the environment in these camps (unlike perhaps the ones in Iraq) is strictly controlled and monitored. This is a sharp distinguisher between this environment and that of the flag burning individual Palestinian. The latter is not answerable to anyone as he is not a member of a governmentally appointed body, whose sworn duty is in fact to protect all the people of his country, including those who have those beliefs being flushed down the toilet.

It's completely negligent as it only serves to give a victory to those hostile to the US cause and draw more individuals to their seperatist banner by dehumanising America in their eyes further. The War on Terror has been startling by the complete absence of attacks on the sources of terrorism. It makes you think they're not even trying to stamp it out.

Plumbers earn good wages these days I hear.
posted by Mossy at 4:39 PM on May 20, 2005

klangklangston Well, naturally there isn't a direct comparison between Islam and Christianty circa 1400. But I think the relation is there. Islam is the defacto religion of a region about as large as Europe was then, and I don't think I can agree that (relatively speaking) its a poorer region. To be sure, there are pleanty of individually poor Muslums, but in the 1400s most of Europe was pretty poor as well.

My essential point is that in its past Christianity has been every bit as brutal and vicious as modern Islam is. Stoning women, yup. Killing heritics in nasty ways, yup. Etc. And Christianity was tamed, neutered, domesticated. Today, for the most part anyway, Christians aren't stoning people, or killing heritics in nasty ways. Islam will be tamed as well, its just a matter of surviving until Hollywood can tame it.
posted by sotonohito at 6:15 PM on May 20, 2005

"In its past Christianity has been every bit as brutal and vicious as modern Islam is. . . Christianity was tamed, neutered, domesticated."

The good ol' days are here again!

Here are the words of a U.S. senator, spoken during a similar conflict last century.

"The Philippines are ours forever . . . We will not abandon our opportunity in the Orient. We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race . . . Mr. President, this question is deeper than any question of party politics: deeper than any question of the isolated policy of our country even; deeper even than any question of constitutional power. It is elemental. It is racial. (God) has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns . . . that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples . . . And of all our race He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. This is the divine mission of America, and it holds for us all the profit, all the glory, all the happiness possible to man."

And now a few quotes from George W. Bush:

"The mere mention of Kofi Annan in the U.N. caused the (Christian Coalition) crowd to go into a veritable fit. The coalition wants America strong and wants the American flag flying overseas, not the pale blue of the U.N."
"I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill in the name of - in the name of some kind of false religion."
"As you said, there are some code words. There are some proper ways to say things, and some improper ways. . . I'm going to tell them the five turning points in my life. Accepting Christ. Marrying my wife. Having children. Running for governor. And listening to my mother."
"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."
"I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world . . . And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help spread that freedom."
"Yet, we do know that God had placed us together in this moment . . . to serve each other and our country. . . Our country is strong. And our cause is even larger than our country. "
"Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know God is not neutral between them."
"I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again. ...
"I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom . . . we understand our special calling: This great republic will lead the cause of freedom."
"I believe that God wants me to be president."
"The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."

And here's what prominent theologians have said regarding Bush's use of religion to encourage war.

Faithfully confessing Christ is the church’s task, and never more so than when its confession is co-opted by militarism and nationalism.

* A “theology of war,” emanating from the highest circles of American government, is seeping into our churches as well.

* The language of “righteous empire” is employed with growing frequency.

* The roles of God, church, and nation are confused by talk of an American “mission” and “divine appointment” to “rid the world of evil.”

posted by insomnia_lj at 9:27 PM on May 20, 2005

Holy shit. That bit from Bush is scary shit. That's the talk of religious to-the-death warfare.

And Senator Albert J. Beveridge are words of genocide are a premonition of things to come, but with the role played by Germany.

It would sure be nice if religions could be sane, and people would be kind.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 PM on May 20, 2005

The administration did handle this with surprisingly good PR skill.

I no longer know where propaganda minister Rove begins and plain media incompetence - or their own corporate desire to delude - ends.

Friedman, quoted above:
These allegations will be investigated, and any such behavior will be punished. That is how we Americans intend to look in the mirror. But we think the Arab-Muslim world must also look in the mirror ... In reaction to an unsubstantiated Newsweek story, Muslims killed 16 other Muslims in Afghanistan in rioting, and no one has raised a peep - as if it were a totally logical reaction. That is wrong.

OMG all the writings of that mustachioed idjit Frieman's belong in the toilet.

For those of you who don't understand SmugSpeak, a translation: "We'll do a thorough investigation, we'll punish everyone responsible as we always do. coughcough Oh, and aren't the Muslims illogical for reacting with violence? We would never do that. We would never start an entire war that kills hundreds of thousands for an unsubstantiated, illogical non-reason."

I think it's mostly that there's a toilet involved. Seems like the way to an American's outrage is through his toilet.

I was thinking something similar when the fake menstrual blood story got so much attention.

BTW speaking of bizarre torture, am I correct that reports of the forced sodomy and the alleged sodomy of children seem still not to have made it to the MSM (e.g. CNN), correct?
posted by NorthernLite at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2005

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