Rube Goldberg Meets Guantanamo Bay

As we all know from The New York Times (June 4, 2005):

A military inquiry has found that guards or interrogators at the Guantánamo Bay detention center in Cuba kicked, stepped on and splashed urine on the Koran, in some cases intentionally but in others by accident, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The splashing of urine was among the cases described as inadvertent, and was said to have occurred when a guard urinated near an air vent and the wind blew his urine through the vent into a detainee’s cell. The detainee was provided with a fresh uniform and a new Quran, and the guard was reprimanded and assigned to guard duty that kept him from contact with detainees for the remainder of his time at Guantanamo, according to the military inquiry.

Several commentators have described the incidents with disbelief, invoking the name of late, great inventive cartoonist Rube Goldberg to describe how urine could pass through an air vent in quantity large enough to enter the cell.

For those unfamiliar with Goldberg and his “Weekly Invention” strip, here’s how it might have gone down (click on the image to open a large version of the graphic):

Koran Abuse at Guantanamo Bay