Let's strengthen Al Qaeda!
Informed Comment : The Guardian reports that news (from Newsweek) that US soldiers desecrated the Koran--and at one point flushed pages of it down the toilet as a technique for humiliating and breaking detainees at Guantanamo--has provoked a second day of protests and then rioting in Jalalabad, this time with loss of life. On Tuesday, 2000 students had demonstrated. On Wednesday, 5,000 to 10,000 university, medical and K-12 students came out, and then they went on the attack, including against US troops. Four died and 70 were injured.... In secular American society, I suppose the shock value here could only be hinted at if we imagined someone flushing a small American flag down the toilet. But probably we can't imagine it at all. The technique of humiliating Muslims as a way of 'breaking' them for interrogation has often veered toward torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and it wasn't effective as a technique. The Israeli flag was also used at one point, apparently. The US military has a tradition of such humiliations, going back to treatment of the Filipino Muslim rebels in the early 20th century. But there is a difference between humiliating Muslim prisoners and humiliating Islam. Whatever goddam military genius came up with the bright idea of flushing the Koran down the toilet at Guantanamo should be court-martialed, and Bush had better get out there apologizing before this thing spirals further out of control.