Friday, June 17, 2005

Another Top Terrorist Arrested

The use of multiple intelligence sources has led to the apprehension in Mosul of another top aide to Abu al-Zarqawi, a man named Abu Talha. The report suggests that questioning of underlings who had been arrested earlier led to information about the whereabouts of Talha.

Rumor has it that the information on Talha was extracted from these sources by subjecting them to round the clock recitations of the lyrics to early Beatles songs. Amnesty International is believed to be looking into the charges.

Real Torture

There's been a lot of talk about torture by American servicemen and women at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and less well-known venues in Afghanistan. To the extent that real abuses have occurred they should, and doubtless will, be prosecuted, but the key word is "real."

Many of the accusations that have been leveled by such as Senator Durbin have involved things that, though they may make someone uncomfortable, hardly seem like torture. To call them that risks trivializing a word which should evoke horror. To put matters in some perspective, if the reader isn't too squeamish, he or she might go here to see the terrifying and gruesome face of real torture, real cruelty. It's something much worse than having to listen to loud rap music, or being kept in a hot or cold room, or having one's Koran handled without gloves.

Perhaps someone might pass on the link to Senators Leahy and Durbin.

An International Embarrassment

Apparently the Democrats have decided that the best way to discredit the current administration is to talk as if they, the Dems, are all raving lunatics. Indeed, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont illustrates the point while at the same time aptly describing the Left-wing of the contemporary Democratic party when he said of Guantanamo Bay that it's "an international embarrassment to our nation, to our ideals, and it remains a festering threat to our security."

Another fine example of the madness which seems to have seized the Democrats is Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat. Durbin essentially equated Guantanamo Bay with the Nazi death camps in which about 9 million people lost their lives, Stalin's prisons in which 2.7 million persons died, and Pol Pot's reign of terror in which 1.7 million Cambodians were systematically murdered.

Mr. Durbin also likened the treatment of terror suspects at the prison in Guantanamo, and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to authorize the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II:

"It took us almost 40 years for us to acknowledge that we were wrong, to admit that these people should never have been imprisoned. It was a shameful period in American history," Mr. Durbin said. "I believe the torture techniques that have been used at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and other places fall into that same category."

Perhaps one of his aides will help the Senator to understand the difference between interning innocent American citizens simply because of their ethnicity, and interning terrorists captured while trying to murder innocent American citizens. The distinction is not a difficult one to grasp, and we're confident that Sen. Durbin, if it's explained to him slowly, will get the gist of it.

What was the treatment that elicited the Senator's fatuities? An FBI agent reported to higher-ups that he witnessed one al Qaeda suspect at Gitmo who was chained to the floor, kept in an extremely cold air-conditioned cell and forced to hear loud rap music. The Justice Department is investigating the complaint sort of like the Soviets and the Nazis did when allegations of abuse in their death camps came to light.

There were no details given about the prisoner in question. Why was this one terrorist deprived of the considerable amenities enjoyed by his co-detainees? The Senator apparently isn't interested in telling us. Perhaps context would spoil the effect he was trying to create which is to extrapolate from a single case of possible mistreatment to the conclusion that Gitmo is another Dachau and American troops are as bad as the German SS.

Meanwhile, the Senator is blithely indifferent to the fact that, whereas the death camps to which he has compared Gitmo killed millions and subjected millions more to years of starvation, pain, and inexpressible misery, not a single one of the five hundred or so Gitmo detainees have died and only a handful have made credible claims of poor treatment. The most significant allegations of abuse, in fact, have been five charges of irreverence toward the Koran.

Somebody should explain all this to Senator Durbin before he makes an even bigger fool of himself with his next round of pronouncements.

Muslim Peace-Makers

A friend passes along this short article which holds out hope that Muslims will find in their tradition and holy book a rationale for peace-making:

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) recently conducted a five-day training for Muslim peacemakers at the request of a human rights organization in Karbala. Four CPTers, Peggy Gish, Cliff Kindy, Maxine Nash, and Allan Slater conducted the highly participatory training at the office of the human rights organization from 22-26 January 2005.

Some of the topics covered in the training included stories of non-violent peacemaking, the power of non-violence, the spirituality of non-violence and planning for public action. On the last day, the trainers covered various smaller topics, including trauma and self-care, working with media and human rights documentation.

In response to the stories and exploration of the power of non-violence, participants asked the questions, "How did that work?" and "Can we do that here?" The group also explored the roots of non-violence in the Muslim tradition and told the CPTers that Islam has a firm tradition of non-violence rooted in the teachings of the Qu'ran and in the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

During each day's session, the trainees had opportunities to facilitate sessions, be the daily photographer, log keeper, time-keeper, convener and process observer. The concept of assigning roles for the day was new to the trainees and they greeted it with great enthusiasm.

In the course of the training, participants shared stories of suffering and trauma they experienced under Saddam Hussein and during the wars in which Iraq has participated, including the most recent war with the United States and the subsequent occupation. The trainees said they feel compelled to use their suffering for peacemaking instead of avenging wrongs done to them.

Muslim peacemakers and CPT are planning for future trainings in other venues around Karbala. Possibilities include training at a university in Karbala and in the surrounding cities of Najaf and Hilla.

Let's hope that their desire to be peace-makers catches on among their co-religionists.