La-Z-Boys and Homemade Pastries for Gitmo Detainees

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 01, 2006 11:30 AM

Mark Steyn reports, first-hand, on the horrors:

But, close up, pretty much everything else has been flushed down the toilet of history. Indeed, even the toilet has been flushed down the toilet of history: In the interests of cultural sensitivity, Gitmo cells were fitted with "Asian-style toilets," because "that's what the detainees prefer." Given that much of the matter that should be going down there ends up being flung over the guards, it seems that this sensitivity over choice of bathroom fixtures is not always appreciated.

When visitors like yours truly swing by, the camp likes to serve them the same meal the prisoners get. This being Ramadan, Adm. Harris was particularly proud of the fresh-baked traditional pastries his team had made for the holy month.

In other torture news, Gitmo guards are getting sensitivity training to help them better understand the significance of Ramadan to detainees. Some Army officers are wary of the price of all this deference:

Molnar said that prisoners in lockups at Guantanamo often use religion as a wedge "to get around the desires or authority of those above them." Other officers and guards go further, saying detainees have used religion to manipulate camp commanders. "The deference that was given to them under the guise of religion was unbelievable," said one Army officer who served this year at the base and asked not to be identified because of personal security concerns. 

So is Steyn:

To reassure incoming inmates that the filthy infidels haven't touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Qurans are hung from the walls in pristine surgical masks. It's one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it's hard to see why it's in the interests of the United States government to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry...

What does that degree of abasement before their prejudices tell them about us? Mulling it over since I got back, I'd go further: It seems to me that one sign this war is over is when Muslims are grown-up enough not to go to full-blown baklava nuts over other folks touching their Qurans.

A test case?