Monday, May 17, 2004

More on the "torture" of Iraqi prisoners-From The Chief

Chief Wiggles has spent a lot of time in Iraq, and has done an incredible amount of humanitarian work while serving his country. He has also taught other soldiers on the fine art of interrogation. With that in mind, I think he's more than qualified to comment on the current situation.

From Chief Wiggles Blog :

A Call to the Media: (read on)

For the past 34 years I have been an interrogator in the Utah Army National Guard, serving my country proudly in this capacity. I have performed my duties as an interrogation team chief in many capacities in a variety of situations. I have been to two wars in the Middle East as a chief warrant officer, conducting numerous interrogations, screenings, debriefings, etc. I have been to South Korea some 40 plus times, been through countless interrogation exercises, and have personally conducted numerous debriefings of North Korean defectors.

I have worked with soldiers from all branches of the military, regular army soldiers and reservists, interacting with them in a variety of real combat situations and training exercises. I have read books on the skills of interrogation and have taught others the finer points of effective interrogation.

While at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, I spent 4 months, on a daily basis, interrogating 17 Iraqi generals, both Brigadier and Major generals, successfully extracting valuable information which was later disseminated up through the chain. I lived as they lived, endured most of what they endured, feeling their pain, while trying to deal with their diverse personalities, with their idiosyncrasies, intertwined with their culture, tradition, religion, and language.

With all of this being said, I offer you my professional opinion, based on my years of hands on real world experience. Yes, this is just the voice of one man, limited to my own experiences as I have watched and interacted with countless others, both civilians and military personnel. Perhaps it is myopic at best, limited by my own exposure to a restricted number of situations, but yet in my mind it represents quite a vast array of circumstances, people, and situations.

I realize at the same time that there are exceptions, incidences that would contradict my own point of view, but I consider these to be the exception far from the rule. You can say what you will. You can say I don’t know what I am talking about or that I am naïve in my out look on life and the realities of the world in Iraq. But, I do believe I speak with some degree of authority regarding this matter.

You might consider this to be the other side of the story that is being forced fed to us from all different angles as the new media have a hay day with the incidences and the pictures from the Abu Ghurayb prison. There is another side that represents more the majority of how prisoners are treated and interrogated. Hopefully this will help you understand that the prison incidences are far from the norm and do not represent the large majority of soldiers who do respect others rights and are sincerely concerned about their well-being.

I can honestly say that we, a large group of interrogators, treated the prisoners we came in contact with, as humanely as possible, following the Geneva Convention as we have been trained to do. We made every effort to take care of their needs and insure their health and safety. We did instruct the guards in the proper care of the prisoners and responded in every instance to convey the prisoner’s feelings, concerns, and desires.

Yes there were exceptions but none I personally witnessed that were outside the scope of the Geneva Convention. If anything it was the Red Cross that didn’t comply with the wishes of the prisoners, compelling the prisoners to decline to speak with any one from the Red Cross.

I discovered early on in my career as an interrogator that the easiest way to get accurate factual information out of a prisoner was to establish a relationship built on trust, through a more kind and friendly approach. The true sign of an effective interrogator is when they can actually make the prisoner believe that they sincerely care and are concerned for the prisoner’s future. If an interrogator can convince the prisoner to change their belief system regarding who the enemy is and why they are fighting, then an effectual change can be realized.

Trust is the opening door to a person’s heart and mind, brought about by believable and apparently sincere acts of concern. On the contrary, torture results in the out pouring of fictional, miss-information, in an effort just to stop the painful process.

Our efforts in dealing with the prisoners to insure their proper care and handling resulted in the effectual winning of their hearts and minds, changing their perspective of what Americans are all about. These efforts set an example for all others to follow, establishing a proper care and handling methodology, which was contagious. We not only got information but built life long friendships with the people we had come to rescue.

I welcome any news media that would like to delve into the details of the other side of the story, the one that represents the way most American soldiers act. I would love to have the opportunity to explain my world, from my perspective, the one shared by the majority of soldiers and especially interrogators. I will gladly give them the finer details of each phase or approach that was used.

Why can’t we show the world that what they are seeing is an isolated incident not representative of the thousands of soldiers who do sincerely care and who have accepted the humanity of our fellow brothers, the Iraqis.

This is your chance News Media. This is a way for you to redeem yourselves from the barrage of accusations that you are biased and one sided, that you are just looking for any opportunity to crucify us and our leaders, and that you fail to provide us the American people with balanced factual reporting. We need to offset the continual flow of negative degrading reporting with factual positive stories of all the good that is being done.

Can you not hear the scream of the American people, demanding a relief from the depressing images plastered across every magazine, tabloid, and screen? Are you listening to your audience who wants balanced, truthful and unbiased reporting?

I am at your service to provide you with what Paul Harvey called, “the rest of the story”. Why won’t you help us tell the world what we are really all about? Why do you insist on fueling the fires of hatred so that more Americans can be killed out of ignorance and misunderstanding? Where is your allegiance? Will you perpetuate the limited and biased understanding of our enemies, in order to achieve some bi-partisan political goal, under the pretext of doing your job?

Email me today to get the rest of the real story.

Chief Wiggles
Doing it the only right way, the wiggles way.

Have a good day.

Toy Drive:

Something tells me the media isn't going to pay him much attention. It just wouldn't make "good news". But we hear you Chief, the whole blogosphere hears ya.