Wednesday, November 26, 2003

U.S. Detains Wife and Daughter of Wanted Iraqi General

U.S. Detains Wife and Daughter of Wanted Iraqi General

The American military said today its forces had detained the wife and daughter of a former top Iraqi general, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, who it believes is at large in Iraq and coordinating some of the attacks against foreign occupation troops.

A spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, Master Sgt. Robert Cargie, said the women were picked up at a residence in Samarra, north of Baghdad, on Tuesday. The son of General Duri's physician was also detained, and all three were being regarded as material witnesses, he added.

Is not this sort of illegal. While holding them as "material witnesses" is not by itself illegal, is not this really an obvious and crude attempt to intimidate the enemy by pressing on its possible emotional vulnerability. Were Iraqis to do something like this, we wold consdier this a hostage situation and treat them with comptempt for resorting to such low-life methods of intimidation. After all of our loud talk about the atrocities Saddam committed, about how he humiliated his own peoples -- why are we doing something that is going to be widely interpreted as a weak and cowardly move?

Particularly rank is the arrest of the son of a physician possibly traveling with the general. This is a person who has at best tangential relevance to the hunt, and while he may indeed possess the information as to his father's whereabouts, are we basically presenting ourselves as grasping for straws? In the battle for hearts and minds this is one tactic that is sure to backfire.

All methods should be persued to save the lives of American soldiers (and yes, I do care about American lives more than Iraqi lives. Just like Iraqis care more about their compatriots than Americans). However, using methods that seem unlikely to bring results unless these witnesses are tortured (which seems rather impossible) but will inspire a feeling of disgust and disappointment will not save more lives than it will cost in the future - both near and far.

Full Article here - U.S. Detains Wife and Daughter of Wanted Iraqi General


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