Giving Them That Ol’ Time Religion

Is it me, or something in the Canadian Bacon I ate for breakfast, or is it everything about this military pacification program? From WaPo:

The U.S. military has introduced “religious enlightenment” and other education programs for Iraqi detainees, some of whom are as young as 11, Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, the commander of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, said yesterday.

Stone said such efforts, aimed mainly at Iraqis who have been held for more than a year, are intended to “bend them back to our will” and are part of waging war in what he called “the battlefield of the mind.” Most of the younger detainees are held in a facility that the military calls the “House of Wisdom.”

Whoa whoa whoa! Eleven years old… held for more than a year?? And “House of Wisdom” as opposed to pancakes, I guess. The newspeak never ceases to amaze.  But to continue:

Stone said he wants to identify “irreconcilables” — those detainees whose views cannot be moderated — and “put them away” in permanent detention facilities. Psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and interrogators help distinguish the extremists from others, he said.

… The 25,000 detainees now being held in U.S. facilities in Iraq include more than 820 juveniles, Stone said, most of whom are held in the House of Wisdom, which opened last month and is located at the Camp Victory military base near Baghdad’s airport. He said that six additional young people had been sent to him just yesterday, and that “the trend is towards the youth,” including 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds. He described older juveniles — the 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds — as “harder nuts” and said that 50 to 60 of them have been removed from U.S. detention facilities and turned over to Iraqi authorities for trial…

The new religious training, Stone said, helps U.S. forces pinpoint the hard-core extremists. “I want to know who they are,” he said. “They’re like rotten eggs, you know, hiding in the Easter basket.”

At least I had much nicer Easter baskets than General Stone. Maybe that’s why he’s he and I’m me.  Moms and Dads, make sure you put nice eggs in your kids Easter baskets. It might make all the difference.

Stone said his staff conducts polygraph tests for detainees who promise to change after undergoing the religious training program. “We were trying to figure out if they’re messing with us. . . . You’re not talking about radicals going to choirboys.” But he also added that they’re succeeding in countering extremists in the facilities. “We’re busting them down, we’re making whole moderate compounds that didn’t exist before.”

Stone described a sort of religious insurgency that occurred at one detention facility on Sept. 2. “We had a compound of moderates for the first time overtake . . . extremists. It’s never happened before. Found them, identified them, threw them up against the fence and shaved their frickin’ beards off of them. . . . I mean, that is historic.”

Now isn’t that. Just. Sacramental. Throw ’em up against a fence and shave their frickin’ beards. And what would America be like of we did that to hippies in the 1960’s?

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