Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Peace Hath Her Victories 

We are pleased to have such distinguished colleagues as our distinguished colleagues at the All Spin Zone, who have just linked to a fascinating interview with Matt Chandler of the Mennonite organization Christian Peacemaker Teams. The CPT, which has been providing humanitarian aid to Iraqis for the last two years, took on the task of monitoring human rights after the International Committee of the Red Cross quit the country in December of 2003; the organization's recently-released "Situation Report on Iraqi Detainees" is online here. Says Richard Cranium of ASZ:
I heard a report the other day (I believe it was on NPR, but I can't find it right now) that those of the Islamic faith in Iraq (and in truth, all of the Muslim world) very strongly believe that the current situation in Iraq has devolved into a holy war: Christianity against Islam. With the ongoing assault on the shrine in Najaf, the perception grows even stronger in the Shia' community.

It will take a concerted effort from people like Matt Chandler to dispel the notion - it's not the teachings of Jesus against the teachings of Mohammed - it's the George Bush End-Timers™ -vs- the Islamic world. There's a major difference.
UPDATE: For a rather different take on the fun-loving zanies of Abu Ghraib, read the report of the independent panel of Pentagon advisers appointed by Donald Rumsfeld to investigate the abuse scandal:
"There was sadism on the night shift at Abu Ghraib, sadism that was certainly not authorized," [panel chairman James] Schlesinger said. "It was kind of 'Animal House' on the night shift.

Schlesinger noted, however, that there was "no policy of abuse."
During daylight hours, the atmosphere at the prison was amiable and prankish, "reminiscent of Ivan Reitman's Meatballs," added Schlesinger. "Not those awful sequels -- the first one, with Bill Murray." Only on the rarest of occasions did the sadism rise to Porky's III levels.

When asked about allegations (by Seymour Hersh, among others) that numerous detainees, including children, had been raped by U.S. military personnel, Schlesinger responded wryly with a quip immortalized by Warren Oates in Stripes: "Lighten up, Francis!"

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