October 12, 2005 [LINK]

Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib

Recent reports that soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division substantiate some of the charges about mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq by U.S. military personnel. Andrew Sullivan, who generally supports the war against terrorism but has been highly critical of the treatment of prisoners by American soldiers, has more on this. He calls particular attention to "Major General Geoffrey Miller, the commander ordered by Rumsfeld to transfer the torture and abuse techniques developed at Gitmo to Abu Ghraib." I remain attentive to such accusations but maintain a touch of skepticism, pending further reports. Ultimately, the verdict on the overall conduct of U.S. forces will be rendered by the Iraqi people themselves. If the overwhelming majority of troops are treating Iraqi people well, that will be reflected in the degree of support for the new democratic government. The next big test will be when the referendum on the proposed constitution is held this weekend. Terrorist bomb attacks are all but certain, so the main question is what the turnout rate will be, especially among the Sunnis.

Sunday's Washington Post had a profile on Captain James Yee, the Muslim Army chaplain who was accused of passing secrets to the enemy, charges that were later reduced and replaced by morals charges, and finally dropped. His parents are Chinese immigrants who took him to church in suburban New Jersey, but he only went grudgingly. He graduated from West Point in 1990, and converted to Islam after becoming an Army officer. He left active duty after his three-year commitment was over, went to Syria to study Islam, and returned to active duty as a chaplain in 2000. He ministered to Muslim detainees at Guantanamo, and was arrested in September 2003, accused of spying and aiding the enemy. His family life suffered terribly, both emotionally and financially, and he is now promoting a book he wrote about his experiences in the Army and at Guantanamo. He seems to fit the profile of an gifted and sensitive but alienated immigrant child, but in any event he deserves to be heard. As with all such tell-all books written by disgruntled misfits, the charges he makes must be taken with a grain of salt.

Jihadists in the Old Dominion

An enterprising blogger named Baron Bodissey went to scope out the compound operated by the Muslim extremist group Jamaat ul-Fuqra, located east of Lynchburg, Virginia. He only managed to get a few blurry photos before he was scared off, but his findings and analysis are worth reading. (via Instapundit) This illustrates once again, the need for this country to get serious about immigration reform, in terms of both policy consistency and providing sufficient resources to guard our borders and enforce the laws.

UPDATE: Mr. Bodissey contacted me to point out that immigration reform would have little effect on Jamaat ul-Fuqra, most of whose members are African-American U.S. citizens, typically "former inmates radicalized in prison by Saudi-funded chaplains." As he explains today (on his Gates of Vienna blog), the real problem highlighted by that group is "the omnipresent cultural poison that has infused every nook and cranny of American life: the PC desire to avoid being labeled a 'racist.'"