Roger L. Simon

Guantanamo, Newsweek and the Ghost of Daniel Pearl

Oh, Guantanamo – how it has been the rallying cry of self-described “progressives” and nabobs of the human rights movement who consider US troops the equivalent of tribesmen giving clitorectomies in the Somali desert. I wonder what they think when they read oday’s report of the many confessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at a Guantanamo Naval Base hearing.

Probably not much. But I’ll tell you what I was thinking. After reading the following, I was thinking about Newsweek:

In a section of the statement that was blacked out, he confessed to the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, The Associated Press has learned. Pearl was abducted in January 2002 in Pakistan while researching a story on Islamic militancy. Mohammed has long been a suspect in the killing.

Why Newsweek? Well, the thought of Danny Pearl having his head hacked off by these religious psychopaths threw my mind back to this story about Guantanamo. In Howard Kurtz’s words:

Newsweek issued a formal retraction yesterday of the flawed story that sparked deadly riots in Afghanistan and other countries, after the magazine came under increasingly sharp criticism from White House, State Department and Pentagon officials.

The magazine’s statement retracted its charge that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that an American interrogator at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker said he thought the magazine had already “retracted what we think we may have gotten wrong” in an editor’s note published Sunday and in media interviews. “We’ve called it an error,” he said. “We’ve called it a mistake.”

Mistake? You should have resigned for that, Mr. Whitaker. If I published a calumny that despicable under my watch at Pajamas Media I would like to think I would have stepped aside. Of course, it’s easy to say. But I can promise this – today the news about Daniel Pearl would have given me pause. Made me shiver. And mired me in guilt.

And yet the beat goes on about Guantanamo. We’re baaaad say those same satraps of the mainstream media, anxious to win the approval of their peers while they collect salaries that dwarf our soldiers’. Perhaps someday, like mundane Macbeths, will be haunted by Pearl’s ghost. They deserve to be.

As for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, what punishment could there be for the likes of him? Even if I were in favor of the death penalty, which frequent readers of this site know I am not, it would not be sufficient. Perhaps this: life imprisonment in a tiny cell surrounded by Buddhist imagery with Buddhist sutras piped in twenty-four hours a day. No visitors. No Koran at all. After a few years, he might begin to forget Islam and its teachings. He would not know what jihad is. He would hear only Buddhist bells.