05 June 2005

"A [Statistically] Rare Occurrence"

Michelle Malkin has a quality overview post covering the Pentagon's investigative report out of Guantanamo. From the official news release (three page PDF):

Since Korans were first issued to detainees (JAN 02), the JTF has issued more than 1600 copies, conducted more than 28,000 interrogations, and thousands of cell moves during which detainee effects, including Korans, were moved. From those activities, the inquiry team identified 19 incidents involving Koran handling by JTF personnel.

Ten of these incidents did not involve mishandling the Koran. They involved the touching of a Koran during the normal performance of duty.

“With the other nine incidents, there was either intentional or unintentional mishandling of a Koran,” said Hood. “We defined mishandling as touching, holding or the treatment of a Koran in a manner inconsistent with policy or procedure. We have confirmed that five of these alleged mishandling incidents took place. After thoroughly investigating the four remaining alleged mishandling incidents, we cannot determine conclusively if they actually happened.”

“Mishandling a Koran at Guantanamo Bay is a rare occurrence. Mishandling of a Koran here is never condoned,” said Hood. “When one considers the many thousands of times detainees have been moved and cells have been searched since detention operations first began here in January 2002, I think one can only conclude that respect for detainee religious beliefs was embedded in the culture of the JTF from the start.”

In the course of the inquiry, 15 incidents were identified where detainees mishandled Korans. These included using a Koran as a pillow, ripping pages out of the Koran, attempting to flush a Koran down the toilet, and urinating on the Koran.

So, some quick math. Assume 'thousands of prisoner moves' means 3,000 moves. That's 31,000 'guard action events' (I'll call 'em GAEs). Nineteen incidents involving the Koran, divided by that 31,000 figure gives us... a 0.058% chance of an incident involving the Koran (not necessarily even 'abuse,' mind you) over the course of any given GAE. Additionally, note that the probability of a detainee mishandling a Koran is comparable to that of a guard doing the same.

Would that our enemy afforded their prisoners as much consideration. <shakes head>

See Michelle's post for more good info and links. Specifically, the Pentagon's full findings (six page PDF) and the regulations in place regarding the handling of Korans (two page PDF) make for enlightening reading.

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