Saturday, January 28, 2006

AP: Documents show U.S. detained wives of Iraqi insurgents as tactic 
Ummm, did anyone really think that wasn't an option on the table?

The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife."

Hell, I think that's an excellent idea. Does anyone think if we could nab Zarqawi or Bin Ladin by picking up their wives we wouldn't do it in a heartbeat? What about all the wives and children these men murder? Does anyone think if we could find the wives of one of Jill Carroll's kidnappers we wouldn't nab her and use her to find her scumbag husband? Or trade her back?

What the hell kind of playground "ethics" do critics of these policies have?

I don't recall any specific instances of the 1-124th picking up someone's wife, though I'm sure we'd consider it in some instances. I do know we've picked up insurgents brothers and sisters as co-conspirators. And this tactic was very effective, and caused several Ali Baba that I know of to surrender without a fight. If we promised to release the sibling in exchange, that's what we did.

In the case of women, we did not generally detain them ourselves, but dropped them off at the home of a tribal sheikh or elder, and he held them until the deal was made.

And I'm sorry - any Iraqi woman whose husband is running a bomb-making factory on the kitchen table or who makes hummus for RPG-wielding houseguests and who does not report her husband and his cohorts to coalition forces or Iraqi police is a co-conspirator, a criminal, and a part of the Iraqi insurgency's logistical infrastructure and belongs behind bars.

It would be the same in the United States. If a crook's wife conspires to conceal her husband's crimes, or aid and abet murderers seeking shelter and succor, she can be on the hook, too. Maybe she can cut a deal in exchange for her testimony, but that's a judgement call on the part of the prosecutor.

The issue of female detentions in Iraq has taken on a higher profile since kidnappers seized American journalist Jill Carroll on Jan. 7 and threatened to kill her unless all Iraqi women detainees are freed.

Yep. And the AP making a political issue of this now plays right into Al Qaeda's hands.

The U.S. military on Thursday freed five of what it said were 11 women among the 14,000 detainees currently held in the 2 1/2-year-old insurgency. All were accused of "aiding terrorists or planting explosives," but an Iraqi government commission found that evidence was lacking.

As it should be. If there is no evidence, then these women should be set free. And it should be Iraqis making that determination. This is nothing new. I was very much involved in detainee documentation and transfers in the summer of 2003, and after a few weeks of the regiment trying to create procedures that actually worked, a great deal of effort was made to create and document a case with each detainee that would pass muster with a joint U.S. - Iraqi commission that would review the records of each detainee. The pressure was on, and after about July we did not continue to detain anyone I couldn't obtain two sworn statements on from two different people - and in most cases, physical evidence, or photographs of same, with a 10-digit grid coordinate where the detainee was picked up. (I wasn't driving around truckloads of explosives where we could just take a photo of the guy with his weapons cache and forward two sworn statements saying this guy was occupying and apparently owned the house the weapons were found in).

Iraq's deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali, dismissed such claims, saying hostage-holding was a tactic used under the ousted Saddam Hussein dictatorship, and "we are not Saddam." A U.S. command spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, said only Iraqis who pose an "imperative threat" are held in long-term U.S.-run detention facilities.

Interesting term of art. And my sense is it's narrowly true. (If we picked up a coconspirator whom we were willing to release if a bigger fish came in, this individual would remain held locally, in an Iraqi jail or in a battalion or regimental level short-term holding area.)

The first message, from a military police colonel, advised staff officers of the U.S. northern command that the Iraqi police would not take control of the jailed women without charges being brought against them.

In a second e-mail, a command staff officer asked an officer of the unit holding the women, "What are you guys doing to try to get the husband -- have you tacked a note on the door and challenged him to come get his wife?"

Two days later, the brigade's deputy commander advised the higher command, "As each day goes by, I get more input that these gals have some info and/or will result in getting the husband."

He went on, "These ladies fought back extremely hard during the original detention. They have shown indications of deceit and misinformation."

The command staff colonel wrote in reply, referring to a commanding general, "CG wants the husband."

The released e-mails stop there, and the women's eventual status could not be immediately determined.

Of this episode, Johnson said, "It is clear the unit believed the females detained had substantial knowledge of insurgent activity and warranted being held."

Then holding them and interrogating them is a no-brainer. We're not playing T-ball here, gang. This is fast-pitch baseball. This is the real deal. If you don't use every card in the deck to get the bad guys, they will murder more people. REAL innocent people. And they'll kill more U.S. troops.

This isn't a game of cricket. The stakes are real, and the price of failure, of moving too slow, of not exploiting human intelligence resources like the co-conspiring family members of Al Qaeda members and Baathist murderers is measured in piles of corpses.

The next one might belong to Jill Carroll.

Remember that.

Splash, out


UPDATE: To put this in perspective, I would point out that you can hold someone without charges as a material witness, even in the United States.

Why the dolts at CENTCOM PR and JAG couldn't get out in front of this by characterizing these people as material witnesses or the equivalent of unindicted co-conspirators from the start I'll never know.

"Liberals" might disagree, but it would probably be helpful to start being a little more harsh with terrorists. Arrest their entire households as accomplices and destroy their homes if they are determined (and NOT by a court) to be involved in terrorist activities.

Additionally, if terrorists are killed while engaged in terrorist activities (and that includes attacks against Iraqi and Coalition forces) their bodies or remains should be fed to the pigs.

That might put a stop to some of their foolishness.

It's high time we stopped pussyfooting around.

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!