Friday, May 9, 2008

If They'd Only Give a BIT of Thought to PR...

There is news today that the Pentagon will rescind the assignment of Maj. General Jay W. Hood, who had been slated to be posted as America's top commander based in Pakistan. The turnaround comes after vociferous protests in Pakistan, given one of General Hood's previous posts as commander of the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay.

I'm going to ask the reader to pause for a moment to let that sink in.

The Pentagon took a previous commander of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, the symbol of American perfidity and hypocricy worldwide, the place where prisoners have been tortured, Islam defamed, and America's global standing reduced to a pile of radioactive sludge, and they sent him to Pakistan.

Deep breath.

Please understand that this is not necessarily an indictment of General Hood himself. I don't know what role he did or didn't play in everything that went on (and still goes on) at Guantanamo. I have absolutely no idea how much influence he had over the mission he was given, so I won't criticize him for it. I won't excuse him, but I won't criticize him because I simply don't know the facts.

One doesn't have to be clairvoyant, however, to recognize that sending a man rightly or wrongly tainted by his association with one of the great geopolitical scandals of the early twenty-first century - a man under whose tenure, by the way, Korans were allegedly flushed down toilets, sparking protests and riots across the Muslim world - to a country like Pakistan is a terrible, terrible idea. At least the Pentagon has been sensitive enough to the protests to cancel the assignment, but the fact that nobody picked up on the problems it would cause worries me. It worries me, because it sends the signal that at least some high up in our military and civilian establishment still have not gotten it through their heads the catastrophic extent of the damage that Guantanamo Bay has done to Ameircan credibility around the world, and until they figure it out they cannot hope to remedy the problem.

1 comment:

Andrew Bishop said...

Hey Matt,

I like your comments-