Patterico's Pontifications


Another Reason I Hate the Terrorists

Filed under: General,Humor,Terrorism — Patterico @ 10:38 pm

They prefer Pepsi to Coke. From today’s New York Times magazine article on Guantánamo:

For detainees who obeyed the rules, the military offered new perks. Exercise time was extended once more. On Hood’s instructions, Gatorade and energy bars were given out during recreation periods. Wednesday became pizza night. Guard officers suggested soccer and volleyball tournaments to the compliant detainees in Camp 4. The detainees came back asking that a prize — two-liter bottles of Pepsi — be awarded to the winners. (The detainees disdained Coca-Cola, guards said.)


Kafka and Orwell Meet Reality: NYT Article on Guantánamo Shows that the June Suicides Were a Publicity Stunt After All

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Terrorism — Patterico @ 2:39 pm

Today’s New York Times magazine has a lengthy and fascinating article on Guantánamo. Among other things, it confirms that the June suicides of three detainees was indeed a publicity stunt designed to put pressure on the United States to shut down the facility. The likelihood that the suicides were a planned act of asymmetrical warfare was something that Army officials (and I) pointed out at the time — and which lefty commenters ridiculed as an “Orwellian” and “Kafkaesque” position.


Some Cheery News for You

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:05 pm

Something to brighten your day:

Urgent news from Abu Dawood, the newly appointed commander of the al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan:

Final preparations have been made for the American Hiroshima, a major attack on the U. S.

Muslims living in the United States should leave the country without further warning.

Have a nice day!

P.S. Meanwhile, the editors of the L.A. Times are worried about civil liberties and Bush’s alleged overreaching.

A Possible Way to Maintain Coercive Interrogation Techniques

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 10:51 am

If the Administration really wants to maintain the authority to use coercive techniques against terrorist detainees, it should consider sharing some evidence of the techniques’ success.

I support the government having some limited form of coercive techniques at its disposal because the Administration has claimed that it has received vital intelligence from high-level Al Qaeda figures — information that has disrupted major terror plots. Bush has at least strongly implied that this information was obtained as a result of some form of coercive interrogation.

If this is true, he should reveal details about it. I don’t recommend precipitiously making everything public. I recommend going to selected Senators first, and showing them in detail why these techniques are necessary.

For example, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Warner are not members of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I don’t know the extent to which the members of that committee are privy to top-secret details of the interrogations of detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But it seems to me that the members of that committee, at a minimum, should be provided that information — and perhaps Senators McCain, Graham, and Warner should receive it as well.

If the information is truly as compelling as Bush says it is, these Senators would presumably change their tune upon being informed of the specifics. I despise John McCain, but I believe he and the other men are patriots, and would not cast our country’s safety aside if there were clear evidence that these techniques are necessary.

And if they didn’t change their tune, even in the face of compelling evidence, Bush could declassify the information and go public with the details — and these men would suffer grevious hits to their political standing.

Sure, we don’t want to declassify such information if we can avoid it. But the government is running the risk of losing these techniques entirely. If the techniques are truly critical, then it seems to me there would be little harm in sharing the specifics with these Senators. (I’m assuming that this hasn’t already happened, although I don’t know this to be the case.) If push comes to shove, a selective declassification may well be a lesser evil than losing these techniques entirely.

Of course, it could be that no such compelling information exists, and that Bush is simply playing politics with the issue — in which case he would not follow my suggestion. But if the evidence is really there, shouldn’t he take the steps I have described?

Well, No *Wonder* the Islamists Were Upset

Filed under: General,Humor — Patterico @ 7:29 am

I hadn’t realized the Pope’s remarks were quite this harsh. I’ll quote only a line or two:

“Why don’t you have a seat on my pointy-ass hat,” continued the Bishop of Rome. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Abdul?”

I can’t bear to quote more, but if you click on the above link, Treacher has the whole distressing report. (Strong language warning.)

Pope Criticizes Islam’s Violence; Islam Reacts Violently

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:06 am

So the other day, the Pope criticized violent conversion to Islam (not that such a thing would ever happen — right, Steve Centanni?) and said: “Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.”

Islamists set him straight right away:

Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, following remarks by Pope Benedict that angered many Muslims.

And a Somali cleric called for the Pope’s death:

We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion,” [Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin] said in Friday evening prayers.

Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim,” Malin, a prominent cleric in the Somali capital, told worshippers at a mosque in southern Mogadishu.

I’m not sure if they’re upset that the Pope called Islam violent, or that he said violence is incompatible with the spirit of God. Or both.

To illustrate that point, Allah points us to the story of a woman attacked and killed by Hamas thugs for her crime of picnicking with her boyfriend. Not to worry: justice was done. True, “the killers were related to a powerful Gaza clan and were soon released.” But they paid the family a few thousand Jordanian dinars, so all is well. The incident hasn’t caused her dad to remove his treasured pictures of Hamas martyrs:

Sitting beneath a portrait of his dead daughter on the wall, Mr al-Azzam [the murdered girl’s father] kept murmuring “it is the will of Allah” as he chose his words carefully, eager not to cause offence to any of the parties.

Also prominent on the wall were portraits of the assassinated Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi.

As Allahpundit says of this story and the Pope Benedict story: “It sounds unrelated but it isn’t.” Indeed.

P.S. I am aware of the potential charge that I am overgeneralizing by including the phrase “Islam Reacts Violently” in the post title. And indeed, I don’t mean to be saying all of Islam is reacting violently; I personally know some Muslims who would unquestionably criticize such threats and violence. But if there are prominent clerics out there who are criticizing the violent response to the Pope’s remarks, I’d like to know who they are — because we haven’t read much about them in the past day or two.

UPDATE: Dafydd ab Hugh has an exclusive report on Islamic groups’ denunciation of the recent violence and threats surrounding the Pope’s remarks. It’s worth reading. Trust me.

UPDATE x2: A nun is shot in the back and killed, further refuting Benedict’s point about Islam’s connections to violence.

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