Friday, September 01, 2006

When this old world is getting you down

Donald Rumsfeld repeats his American Legion speech accusing critics of being soft on terrorism while being hard on the US in an op-ed in the LA Times. He does add some trivia, mentioning that "Harry Potter" is the book most requested by inmates at Guantanamo Bay. More follows.

Consider that a database search of the nation's leading newspapers turns up 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers punished for misconduct at Abu Ghraib than of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the global war on terror.

Then there is the case of Amnesty International, a long-respected human-rights organization, which called the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay the "gulag of our times" — a reference to the vast system of Soviet prisons and labor camps where innocent citizens were starved, tortured and murdered. The facility at Guantanamo Bay, by contrast, includes a volleyball court, basketball court, soccer field and library (the book most requested is "Harry Potter"). The food, served in accordance with Islamic diets, costs more per detainee than the average U.S. military ration.


Rumsfeld accidentally highlights the fact that Jihadis are largely young people who play hoops, read exciting books and eat lots. No wonder they rejected a world view that was increasingly made up of old maidenish survivors from the 1960s who are now so worried about their health that their principal concerns are the garden (Global Warming); irritating habits (they're taking down Keith Richards for smoking a tobacco cigarette in Scotland) and unruly boys (which is why some want boys squat on the toilet to pee). Young men want adventure, meaning and God. Rumsfeld has probably reached that stage where you are so old that your mind actually becomes young again. Recklessness of a different kind.


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