The mainstream media and international human-rights organizations have relentlessly portrayed the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as a depraved torture chamber operated by sadistic American military officials defiling Islam at every turn. It’s the “gulag of our time,” wails Amnesty International. It’s the “anti-Statue of Liberty,” bemoans New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
Have there been abuses? Yes. But here is the rest of the story — the story the Islamists and their sympathizers don’t want you to hear.
According to recently released FBI documents, inaccurately heralded by civil liberties activists and military-bashers as irrefutable evidence of widespread “atrocities” at Gitmo:
A significant number of detainee complaints were either exaggerated or fabricated (no surprise given al Qaeda’s explicit instructions to trainees to lie). One detainee who claimed to have been “beaten, spit upon and treated worse than a dog” could provide not a single detail pertaining to mistreatment by U.S. military personnel. Another detainee claimed guards were physically abusive, but admitted he hadn’t seen it.
Another detainee disputed one of the now globally infamous claims that American guards had mistreated the Koran. The detainee said riots resulted from claims a guard dropped the Koran. In actuality, the detainee said, a detainee dropped the Koran then blamed a guard. Other detainees who complained about abuse of the Koran admitted they never personally witnessed any such thing, but one said he heard non-Muslim soldiers touched the Koran when searching it for contraband.
In one case, Gitmo interrogators apologized to a detainee for interviewing him prior to the end of Ramadan.
Several detainees indicated they had not experienced any mistreatment. Others complained about lack of privacy, lack of bedsheets, being unwillingly photographed, guards’ use of profanity and bad food. If this is unacceptable, “gulag”-style “torture,” then every inmate in America is a victim of human-rights violations. (Oh, never mind, there are civil liberties Chicken Littles who actually believe that.)
Erik Saar, an army sergeant at Gitmo for six months and co- author of a negative, tell-all book titled “Inside the Wire,” inadvertently provides us more firsthand details showing just how restrained, and sensitive to Islam — to a fault, I believe — detention facility officials have been.
Each detainee’s cell has a sink installed low to the ground, “to make it easier for the detainees to wash their feet” before Muslim prayer, Mr. Saar reports. Detainees get “two hot halal, or religiously correct, meals” a day in addition to an MRE (meal ready to eat). Loudspeakers broadcast the Muslims’ call to prayer five times daily.
Every detainee gets a prayer mat, cap and Koran. Every cell has a stenciled arrow pointing toward Mecca. Moreover, Gitmo’s library — yes, library — is stocked with Jihadi books. “I was surprised that we’d be making that concession to the religious zealotry of the terrorists,” Mr. Saar admits. “It seemed to me that the camp command was helping to facilitate the terrorists’ religious devotion.” Mr. Saar notes one FBI special agent involved in interrogations even grew a beard like the detainees “as a sort of show of respect for their faith.”
Unreality-based liberals would have us believe America is spitefully and systematically torturing innocent Muslims at Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, our own MPs have endured little-publicized abuse at the hands of manipulative, hatemongering enemy combatants. Detainees have spit on and hurled water, urine and feces on the MPs. Causing disturbances is a source of entertainment for detainees who, as Gen. Richard Myers notes, “would turn right around and try to slit our throats, slit our children’s throats” if released.
The same unreality-based liberals whine about the Bush administration’s failure to gather intelligence and prevent terrorism. Yet, these hysterical critics have no viable alternative to detention and interrogation — and there is no doubt they would be the first to lambaste the White House and Pentagon if a released detainee went on to commit an act of mass terrorism on American soil.
Guantanamo Bay will not be the death of this country. The unseriousness and hypocrisy of the terrorist-abetting left is a far greater threat.
Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of “Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores” (Regnery).