Friday, January 27, 2006

Blow back

The Jill Carroll story has just taken on new meaning today.

Recall that Carroll had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom: the release of all female prisoners (11) being held by US forces. The US had recently released five of the female detainees, while claiming that their release had already been scheduled and was not, repeat not, the result of the insurgent demands.

I remember wondering, if females are acting in the insurgency, why are there only eleven of them? If they are not, why are there any at all? Puzzling, indeed.

Today, we just learned that the reason these woman have been and are likely being held is that they were being taken as ... hostages in order to gain "leverage" with terrorist subjects. That's right, the US military has been taking hostages in the war on terror. That sure sounds like non grata military behaviour from a country that says it won't bargain with terrorists. Apparently, that ideal only applies when the terrorists are the one who have the hostages.

Naturally, the Pentagon calls what others might describe as terrorist activity as a "tactic" and that they were not kidnapped but rather, "seized."

But still, readers might be inclined toward the idea that this isn't necessarily a bad move, war is hell and all that and that those woman were probably bad-asses anyway. One woman had three children, one six months old and still nursing, a real bad ass bent on raising the next generation of jihadists.

Not likely. But do you know what would raise the next generation of jihadists? Seeing your mother kidnapped by the US military.

A 14-year US intelligence officer testified that
During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF [Task Force] personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender.

The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing.
After the officer complained, she was released.

Despite the eye witness testimony of a uniformed US officer, Deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali, stated that such claims were "outrageous," that hostage taking was something Saddam did. This reasoning apparently exonerates the US military, because no one would ever do what Saddam used to do. Mr. Ali seems not to have been informed of whatever became of Saddam's former torture prison, Abu Graib. Nor is he apparently aware of the tacitly supported, El Salvadoran-style death squads that seem to be roaming about the war torn land. I'm fairly sure Saddam had death squads.

Anyway, Carroll's kidnapping seems to me to be demonstrating that it is now pay back time. You grab our women, we grab yours. Battling hostage-takers.

Winning hearts and mind, one hostage at time. This is just great.


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