Combating Insurgency with Kidnapping

In a stroke of brilliance that could only have been conceived by the marriage of the US State Department and the DOD, offical policy toward to insurgency apparently includes kidnapping the wives of those suspected. Despite previous denial of such actions by Iraq’s deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali and a de facto denial by U.S. command spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, the AP is reporting that the kidnappings did in fact transpire based on documents the Pentagon was legally forced to release as the result of an ACLU FOIA request.

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.


Iraqi human rights activist Hind al-Salehi contends that U.S. anti-insurgent units, coming up empty-handed in raids on suspects’ houses, have at times detained wives to pressure men into turning themselves in.

…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.


…documents describing two 2004 episodes tell a different story as far as short-term detentions by local U.S. units. The documents are among hundreds the
Pentagon has released periodically under U.S. court order to meet an
American Civil Liberties Union request for information on detention practices.

In one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspect’s house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.

“During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target’s surrender,” wrote the 14-year veteran officer.

He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.

This issue should make anyone who gives half a damn about the lives of military personnel and civilans in the Middle East demand a complete investigation and instant termination of this insane policy. Of course it won’t. The administration’s mouthpieces and supporters liken any objection to King George and his Praetorian Guard to blasphemy of the highest order. So policies designed to create enemies where there were none and strengthen the hate and resolve of the existing ones will continue unabated.

Perhaps the defenders the neo-con lust for empire are unaware of our own government’s definition of the terror we’re allegedly combatting:

Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d):

The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

Doubtless, the latter portion was inserted by design so government could, as usual escape the guilt of action that, committed by individuals would constitute grave criminality. Still, the spirit of our country’s actions remains the same and in addition to angering us thoroughly at its mind-numbing stupidity, should shame us deeply.

  1. In America’s first wars (revolutionary,War of 1812), the British marveled at how humanely we treated our prisoners. We had a reputation of not sinking to the level of our enemy.It is a shame that we tarnished that.

  2. Mr. Scott, we did not treat prisoners on either side humanely during the War of Northern Agression, 1861-1865.
    Both sides abused prisoners, their own brothers. War is hell. One does what is required anytime, anywhere.

  3. War is hell.

    Unjustified, undeclared, open-ended wars fought in foreign lands for unknown objectives are doubly so.

    One does what is required anytime, anywhere.

    What does the awful treatment of prisoners at Andersonville and Elmira have to do with “what is required?” Or are you, as I suspect, posting comments simply because you enjoy the sight of your own words?

  4. Don’t forget the reports during the “Abu Ghraib” scandal that children were tortured and raped in front of their parents as a method of extracting information from them…

    This is not something that we’re just hearing about now. But I hope it’s not true.

  5. yeah, if you translate “war of northern agression” out of hillbilly, it means the civil war.

    the idea that previous abuses of human rights justifies current abuses seems slightly askew, mr. confederate. if your children committ the same mistake twice, do you still reprimand them the second time?

    in closing, it is pretty scary that people are using “anything goes in a war” to justify gross abuses of human rights in a war that has no identifiable endpoint. so, until all the “terrorists” in the world are gone we get to kidnap and torture everyone we want? hmmm…seems like, well, terrorism.