Meanwhile, the Guardian reports (via Andy McCarthy)...back in Afghanistan:
American officials are drawing up plans (see picture above) to de-radicalise inmates in Afghanistan's prisons, which have been described by the top US commander in the country as a breeding ground for insurgents. Ideas under discussion include establishing religious rehabilitation centres and sending prisoners on the hajj pilgrimage ....
Former Taliban officials have been recruited to advise on ways to revolutionise the country's poorly funded and badly organised prison system ....
General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, believes that the prisons are a big problem in the fight against the Taliban. In a leaked assessment of the eight-year campaign in the country, he concluded ... "There are more insurgents per square foot in corrections facilities than anywhere else in Afghanistan. ...
Shoudn't we do something about the big problem of insurgents in corrections facilities in the US first?
Earlier in the year Major General Douglas Stone, praised for transforming Iraq's jail system, was sent by David Petraeus, the commander of the US Central Command, to investigate Afghanistan's prisons.
Uh-oh. Remember him? He's the one who came up with the bright idea of using the Koran to turn detainees away from jihad -- or something. See if you can figure out what the general is talking about in this 2007 interview in which he explains his Iraqi prison program:
I was training, as you know, all the Marines before they came over, and we had brought in cultural awareness. Since I've been here, the two colonels that I've had that are -- the commanders over the -- all interrogation for detainees have absolutely glommed on to this perspective. I mean, I do read the Koran every morning every day. I -- in fact, I do not give a presentation in Arabic without sourcing the Koran. We are increasingly making the fundamental mistakes that are made in interpretation, whether by omission or commission, of the many Shari'a court, and, you know -- I call them fraudulent, but, you know -- fraudulent imams that are actually inside the compounds. We have a directory now where we can take those arguments and tear them apart.
Love to see that directory.
The many religious leaders, all imams that we have working for us teach out of a moderate doctrine, which brings to bear every one of -- you know, the seven mortal sins and that sort of thing, and tears apart, particularly the Takfirs in al Qaeda's arguments, you know, for things that are -- you know, I mean sort of the basics like, you know, let's kill innocents; you're not allowed to -- you can do various things, which they believe that they can. And once they can read -- and I mean, you're talking about the basics here -- once they can actually read the words themselves and they believe the Koran they're reading -- this is something that we changed, which is a bizarre thing but true -- then they actually can begin a conversation between the two of them.
And since we've now run, you know, a few hundred through this program, we are over-the-top encouraged that two things are present. We are able to determine the guys that don't really give a shit about the Koran in the first place -- they're using it as a discipline -- those guys are beginning to fall into the category of irreconcilables, and that's helpful to me. I want to know who they are. They're like rotten eggs, you know, hiding in the Easter basket, so that's very helpful.
Then it's also equally helpful to have guys who come out and say, "I didn't know that. Now that I know that, I'm going to change my life." And we poly them. You'd be -- interesting to know, because we were trying to figure out if they're messing with us. But we are convinced that they have made a significant change. Now you're not talking about, you know, radicals going to choir boys, but you're talking about radicals that won't use the Koran without -- for violence without a very clear understanding that they're damned if they do.
Off to Afghanistan. And back to the Guardian report:
In Iraq, Stone segregated political prisoners from other inmates and also laid on western-standard medical care to win the respect of inmates.
No mention of his happy Koran classes.
He believes that 400 of the 600 prisoners now detained at Bagram are innocent and should be released. According to documents seen by the Guardian, officials hope to start releases by February.
Another idea under discussion includes employing trained mullahs to run religious programmes that try to persuade hardline militants that violence is un-Islamic. Similar programmes have been run by the Saudi government which has spent considerable amounts of money attempting to rehabilitate captured al-Qaida operatives. Methods used have included giving the men houses and wives and running art therapy courses....
That worked well.