Friday, October 21, 2005

On the Current Global Religious War, Part 8: Winning Hearts and Minds!

The Australian television show Dateline has broken the story of an American psychological warfare team that desecrated the bodies of two Taliban pointing their bodies towards Mecca and then setting them on fire. The PsyOps team then broadcast this message over loudspeakers to a village believed to be harboring Taliban.
Attention, Taliban, you are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to come down and retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be.
Yes, it is sacrilege to burn a corpse according to Islam. Turning the bodies to face Mecca…well you guess. Is this how PsyOps wins hearts and minds, and lets the local population know that we are not Crusaders bent on destroying Islam, but are working for their liberation? This looks to me like more evidence that our soldiers consider all of Islam to be the enemy, and their goal is to terrify them into capitulation.

Last year Americans in Afghanistan were rumored to have desecrated the Koran, which started riots. The Pentagon maintained that this defilement either never occurred, or was caused by ignorance of Islam, or was the work of a few rogue agents. The first two excuses just won’t fly now. (Experts in psychological warfare had no idea that facing bodies to Mecca, setting them on fire, and bragging about it over loudspeakers was sacrilege?) They might try the “few rogue agents” route, but how many rogue agents do we need before that excuse fails?

Further evidence for the religious character of the war: over at they are defending the PsyOps action on the grounds that making fun of the enemy is a part of warfare: "I imagine that it was a Bad Thing to make fun of Hitler during World War II, also." To make this claim, Redstate has to ignore the fact that religious desecration has occurred. The simplest explanation for why they make this mistake is simply that they regard Islam as the enemy.

Jeanne at Body and Soul points out another war crime our troops are casually committing: collective punishment. Here’s one of our soldiers interrogating a civilian for information about Taliban:
What my commander wants to do with all the forces in this whole area is round up everyone in this town since no-one is helping us and nobody is turning over the people in this village who actually are part of the attack.
There's another nail in the coffin of the myth of the liberal press here too. The supposedly liberal NYT has picked up the story, but only after the Pentagon decides to investigate. Moreover they lead with the Pentagon's viewpoint, rather than the Australian story. This is probably also an illustration of the way media dependence on government sources leads to bias. The Times did not have a reporter in Afghanistan that uncovered the story. They did not even seem to be watching Australian TV. The New York Times only got the news when the government responded to it. I have an idea: instead of launching a bold new initiative to kiss ass to religious fundamentalists, the Times should cut its Washington bureau in half, get their fucking reporters out of the cocktail party circuit, and onto the world’s battlefields.

Does anyone know where one can see the original footage of the Dateline show? Their website only has the transcript.

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