Saturday, June 04, 2005

Theatre of the Absurd:
Koran Abuse

The story of Koran abuse at the prisoner camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is perhaps the most ridiculous example of media idiocy I have seen in some time. The critique is not that we have codes of conduct for a book some crackpots have some mystical affinity for, but that the codes aren't good enough or we aren't following them.

The Koran is just a book. If we can step on it, flush it down the toilet, burn it, wipe our butt's with it, or do anything else to it and get information out of the psychos down there then that should be applauded as a great boon to our cause. It is almost like the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur is traveling through the woods and is cowed by the Knights who say "Nih!" We can get these prisoners to spill the beans without breaking the law or resorting to the morally repugnant territory of physically torturing people.

If it makes Muslims around the world happy they can go ahead and burn down bibles, what do we care? We have no state religion and capitalism provides for the printing of billions of any book (Koran included, even I have a copy, you never know when you may need to hold it hostage to get some terrorists off your trail) even if you only intend to burn or ruin them.

How ecstatic would we be if the only thing that happened when our soldiers were captured was that their captors ripped up the American state papers, or The Federalist, or the religious texts of the individual soldiers?

The only real news in this case is that we treat these scumbags so well, giving them their precious book in the first place. They don't care that their freedom is curtailed, it was already non-existent in the Middle East anyway, but they would be punished by keeping the words of their nonsensical beliefs away from them.

On that note, other methods of messing with their minds: 1) change the placement of the arrow which points to Mecca everyday so they can't figure out which direction to pray; 2) feed them only wine and ham sandwiches; 3) load up derelict tankers with Muslim iconography every week to be used for target practice by the US Navy in sight of the prisoners; 4) during the five times a day when the prisoners are supposed to pray read contrary books to them over loud speaker in Arabic (suggestions: The Origin of Species, Atlas Shrugged, The Virtue of Selfishness, The Satanic Verses, etc.); 5) don't tell them when Ramadan is so they can't figure out when to fast; 6) give them Korans is languages they can't figure out like Yiddish or Russian; 7) give them Korans with insulting jokes inserted into them in Arabic; 8) give them the shell of a Koran, but the inside pages will be books like The Case Against God; 9) when the soldiers take target practice they should use pictures of Muhammad or Korans placed at different distances; 10) give them Korans, but no toilet paper, forcing them to choose; 11) plaster posters of good looking women in bikinis up everywhere.

I'm curious if in World War II prisoner of war camps that we held German prisoners in, did we issue Mein Kamph to all the prisoners and play German propaganda so that they could stay immersed in the irrational beliefs that led them to war in the first place? Of course not, back then we weren't complete idiots yet.


Apollo said...

That was brilliant, if i were the President id ask you permission to read it out loud at the state of the union.

cmacduff said...

Great post. But I would like you to explain why you think torture is morally repugnant. If it were necessary to save the lives of US soldiers or civilians, would it still be immoral? I'm thinking that if torturing some Islamists would have prevented 9/11, I would have done it in a second.

Alexander said...

One cannot decide things on could have or would have. We were not in a position to torture anyone to get any information and once you start on that path you cannot stop. Torturing American captives becomes legitimate, and torturing people accused of crimes also becomes acceptable. Not only is there the question of it not working there is the question of degrading the person doing the torturing. Such a task is dehumanizing, listening to screams, watching pain inflicted slowly over long periods of time sometimes causing death. The whole proposition is too costly, and I'm not necessarily concerned with the terrorists, but with our own people. We would give up far more than we could ever hope to gain. Foreign enemies have been torturing Americans for a couple hundred years to no avail, I don't see why that should change if we get into the dirty business of torture.

Apollo said...

Cant the same thing be said about the death penalty or any action that involves defending your country .i.e KILLING its enemys.

Thjose things can be considerd degrading and dehumanizing also.

Alexander said...

Anything can be said about anything, but I do not think that such a comparison is accurate. Physically torturing a person and fighting for your country in war, killing enemy soldiers, I think are entirely different activities psychologically and morally. Unless you are engaged in hand to hand combat or have to cross battlefields on foot, war tends to be impersonal plus you're fighting legally, there is a war between two polities under sanctioned rules of action. War is terrible enough for the individual combatants, and that is with a chaotic kill or be killed situation of battlefields.

Torture is an intensely personal illegal activity. There is no threat to the torturer, he has to inflict major life-threatening pain upon another person in the hopes of gleaning information. If we fight the war like we are now, perhaps we will need torture because we refuse to wipe this threat out all at once. But then we are probably destined to lose.

If we are going to win it then I think rules of war are important, formal as under the Geneva conventions, or informal as during the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries to help protect our own soldiers. These rules don't always hold up for our soldiers, but I think they do lessen the amount of things done to them or rules flagrantly ignored because our enemies know that we don't treat their captured soldiers badly and because they know we take these rules seriously and that there will be hell to pay when the war is over. Perhaps this doesn't work as well if we are engaged against non-state entities, but this is no excuse to begin doing things that we never resorted to in even our most serious life and death wars, i.e. the revolution, war of 1812, civil war, and ww2.

Administering the death penalty is perhaps more apt, but I also suspect that that is why they usually build in uncertainty to the execution, like three people pressing buttons so that no one person does it, or only having a couple real bullets in a firing squad of ten so that no one knows who did the killing.

Allen said...

Just a thought (I love the post by the way) ...

If they consider these books so sacred, does that then mean, if all airlines were to hide a Koran in every airplane in existence, that planes would hence forth be safe? Would I never have to have my luggage scanned again?

If the answer to that question is, "no" - then it doesn't matter at all if we desecrate these books to achieve our means, because they themselves are ready to do so ... and it is of course their books.

aristotle_jones said...

I love your suggestions for extracting information. Would make for a great Zucker Bros film or maybe Mel Brooks.

Apollo said...

Hye Alex, I know you like military history and stuff like that.

This is a draft of the NEW Marine Corps FMFM 1A on how to fight Fourth Generation War.

I bring it to you because of the many philosophical implications and ideas that it has. . . VERY INTERESTING.

Robin said...

Love it!

Arabs do not use toilet paper!! They use their left hand and then wash it afterwards.

How about a site where people log on, buy bullets using PayPal and then watch as someone shoots at a Koran. The money raised could be used to help the families of wounded soldiers.

日月神教-任我行 said...