Skip

If you ever want to see your family again...
July 28, 2003 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Kidnapping women and children is a justifiable action, says Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division when his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." A quick glance at the Geneva Conventions and Protocols would suggest that this is illegal. "The ends justifies the means" seems to be the current Conservative meme, but how well will these tactics serve us in the long run?
posted by dejah420 (61 comments total)

 
But you see, they said in the article that they would have released the wife and daughter anyhow, so it's all okay, right?

I mean, clearly they wouldn't have done anything to them. Clearly, the guy just turned himself in so that his daughter wouldn't miss any more days of school and his wife would make her tupperware night.

Clearly.
posted by kfury at 9:57 PM on July 28, 2003


And, hey, it's not like it's a military action, which would be covered by the conventions. Heavens, no. It's just an intelligence operation.
posted by hades at 10:13 PM on July 28, 2003


I await our Nuremburg with commingled dread and glee.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:18 PM on July 28, 2003


Hellooooo, they're building democracy. It's important to take some hostages, you know, for freedom and such.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:19 PM on July 28, 2003


Clearly you want to see our boys over there dead. (/sarcasm)

Isn't the capturing of innocents going a little too far over the line? Shouldn't someone be saying: "Hey, you know who kidnaps people and demands ransoms? Terrorists."

Why only one paragraph devoted to the fact that our troops are initiating actions that we as a country are trying to defend against? I'd like to see some big ol' warning flags and people in power saying "stop that" tomorrow morning. Will it happen...riiiiiiiiight.
posted by Be'lal at 10:23 PM on July 28, 2003


Wow! More ways in which 24 (the TV show) has predicted real life. Well, sort of...kidnapping to make a prisoner talk.
That show continues to be on the cutting edge of American politics.
posted by graventy at 10:26 PM on July 28, 2003


Okay, sorry, I think that officially makes us the bad guys now.
posted by majcher at 10:29 PM on July 28, 2003


One supposes it's a good thing there are no tall skyscrapers filled with civilians in Baghdad that American military leaders could order Our Brave Troops to crash jetliners into. Given that the chickenhawk ends justify any American means, I mean.

A day of sad reckoning approaches for those who led and supported this immoral war.

Sickening....
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:06 PM on July 28, 2003


And the abyss stares back.
posted by mortisimo at 11:13 PM on July 28, 2003


"To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, 'Our country, right or wrong,' and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?"

Mark Twain 1906
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:24 PM on July 28, 2003


words cannot express the intensly moving emotions engendered in me by the simple knowledge that my piddly, but hard earned tax dollars have helped contribute in some miniscule way to the training and maintenance of fine military strategists like Col. David Hogg.

*staggers into the corner and vomits*
posted by quonsar at 11:31 PM on July 28, 2003


Yes, there are aberations, but for the most part, our soldiers are doing an excellent job of treating the Iraq people humanely and with care.
posted by Plunge at 11:43 PM on July 28, 2003


I feel ill. How can anyone say that threatening a man's wife and child is OK no matter what the ends. SICK.

"And the abyss stares back." mortisimo
Indeed.
posted by arse_hat at 11:58 PM on July 28, 2003


It's sure convenient the U.S. opted out of the ICC.
posted by muckster at 12:07 AM on July 29, 2003


muckster: It's sure convenient the U.S opted out of the ICC.
No, no, no. You see, as everyone knows, the fine men and women of the US military are paragons of virtue (yes, even Colonel Hogg) who are, of course, genetically incapable of committing a crime. As everyone knows also, the ICC is but a kangaroo court convened for the express purpose of railroading our fine troops via politically motivated cases. It's not like the ICC could ever be used for a genuine case.... er, what? Kidnapping? Illegal? No, no, no, that can't be right. I'm sure an executive order was signed, which mystically makes it OK under both US law, international law AND the Geneva convention. Oh, yes.
posted by kaemaril at 5:18 AM on July 29, 2003


> I await our Nuremburg with commingled dread and glee.

I wouldn't hold my breath. The US has immunity from the ICC just for the Iraqi war.

What isn't the Bush administration above? Planting WMD? Fixing the next election? You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see these guys have absolutely no morals.

Sure sounds like a military stuck in a quagmire.
posted by skallas at 5:39 AM on July 29, 2003


You know, when I wore a uniform, I was taught the Law of Armed Conflict. In fact, it was beaten into my skull via semi-annual PowerPoint presentations (with a quiz) for four years.

This goes against everything I was taught about the laws and rules of war.

Col. Hogg needs a LOAC refresher from the JAG. Then he needs a courts-martial. Followed by a long prison term.
posted by Cerebus at 5:43 AM on July 29, 2003


Technical Information (for support personnel)

Background:
This error is caused when the server has a list of IP addresses that are not allowed to access the site, and the IP address you are using is in this list.


Damn, they're on to me. That's the message I got when I tried the LOAC link.
posted by emelenjr at 6:07 AM on July 29, 2003


At the beginning of June, before the U.S. offensives began, the reward for killing an American soldier was about $300, an Army officer said. Now, he said, street youths are being offered as much as $5,000 -- and are being told that if they refuse, their families will be killed, a development the officer described as a sign of reluctance among once-eager youths to take part in the strikes.

Two wrong don't make a right, who(m) gave Col. Hoggs the order? If not ordered and did on his own, why would he feel his actions were right? The writings on the wall why these men need a rest, battle fatigue.

What isn't the Bush administration above? Planting WMD? Fixing the next election? You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see these guys have absolutely no morals.
Don't recall soldiers having to take a oath to the republican party.
When do most politicians have morals, think people are in politics so you will back their ideas. It's unfortunate we don't have more folks whom go into politics to back you first. Ever hear, what platform would you, the public like me to run on?
posted by thomcatspike at 6:18 AM on July 29, 2003


I await our Nuremburg with commingled dread and glee.

I wouldn't hold my breath. The US has immunity from the ICC just for the Iraqi war.


Ah, but not so Tony Bliar (sic).
posted by walrus at 6:53 AM on July 29, 2003


A sample (out of many) from Plunge's link about treating Iraqi people humanely and with care:

How many people in the world would believe in the rights of a criminal who has just been arrested for trying to kill one of their own?

Thanks for the insight on the norm vs. the aberrations
posted by magullo at 6:55 AM on July 29, 2003


Ah shut up bunch of damn pantywastes. This is war people and they started it. Hell yeah, they drove them planes into them New York towe...wait a minute..No they didn't.

Well then they was gonna nuke Washington and our beloved presi...no wmd?

Well, they're evil. Evil I tell you.....oh, they're not....

Well fuck it never mind.

Makes me ashamed to be an American. Fuckwitted Col. Hogg
posted by damnitkage at 7:02 AM on July 29, 2003


The US has immunity from the ICC just for the Iraqi war.

Link please. Since international opinion was resoundingly against a pre-emptive US attack, I find it hard to believe that the ICC would exempt anyone.
posted by neuroshred at 7:03 AM on July 29, 2003


The US has immunity from the ICC. Period.
posted by magullo at 7:10 AM on July 29, 2003


>Thanks for the insight on the norm vs. the aberrations

Sounds like putting your head in the sand. Its like saying, "If you ignore the crime, Detriot is a great place to live." Or "Jefferey Dalmer only spent .0002% of his waking life killing people. Doesn't sound like much of a criminal to me."

Think of all the abuses that don't get press for a moment. None of us have a scientific sampling of what's going in Iraq, but it should be a harrowing thought to see military kidnapping.
posted by skallas at 7:13 AM on July 29, 2003


skallas, I'm afraid you missed my point; perhaps I should have added a /sarcasm tag. In any event, I do not think that a person who self-congratulates himself on respecting prisoner's rights despite their crime is a good cop (which is what they claim to be doing these days). That is not congratulatory material. It's more like basic police theory.


Here is another jewel:

As of recent I have been reading a number of disturbing articles from Amnesty International and the Red Cross lambasting our soldiers for mishandling Iraqi prisoners

[...]

[Quoting AI's report} "Detainees continue to report suffering extreme heat while housed in tents, "

[...]

I cannot speak for other facilities throughout the country but as far as this location is concerned these allegations are totally false.

[...]

Yes they live in extremely hot conditions, where the mean temperature inside the tent is over 120 degrees.


Totally false????? No wonder they say military intelligence is an oxymoron

posted by magullo at 7:22 AM on July 29, 2003


Col. Hogg needs a LOAC refresher from the JAG. Then he needs a courts-martial. Followed by a long prison term.

Amen, man. Glad to see someone around here understands the concept of honorable warfare. By the way, Plunge, I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic when you say "soldiers are doing an excellent job of treating the Iraq people humanely and with care." But this part made me shudder:

"It is amazing what you can do with the right amount of psychological pressure, the right strategy and the right conditions. Never at any time have I used force, torture or pain to accomplish my goal."

There is such a thing as psychological torture, you know. In many ways, it's far worse than physical torture.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:30 AM on July 29, 2003


You know what's scary isn't that the US is doing these things, it's that it seems to have lost any shred of shame and doesn't even try to cover them up.
posted by signal at 7:35 AM on July 29, 2003


I am truly sorry, but I'll never understand why "war" is supposed to have any manner of "rules." Sure, military kidnapping is disgusting, wrong, and all kinds of dishonorable (and I do not in any way condone it, mind you), but *against the rules*?

"Please, gentlemen. Can we just agree to have a nice, proper war and get on with it?"
posted by *burp* at 7:53 AM on July 29, 2003


You guys are all missing the point. Do the Geneva Conventions apply to illegal wars? Show me where it says they do. Of course they don't. Since this is an illegal war, nothing is beyond the pale, anything goes. QED.
posted by soyjoy at 8:00 AM on July 29, 2003


*burp* - at this point, the best shot that the US has at justifying the war is the brutality of Saddam's regime. Above and beyond proper rules of engagement, you tell me how this contributes to the cause against Saddam's brutality. Take it from there and you'll probably figure out how the "rules" came to be.
posted by magullo at 8:08 AM on July 29, 2003


I'll never understand why "war" is supposed to have any manner of "rules."

Can't or won't?
posted by walrus at 8:25 AM on July 29, 2003


There is such a thing as psychological torture, you know. In many ways, it's far worse than physical torture.

T-shirt I used to see around our cantonment area at Ft. Bragg: "PSYOP - Because Physical Wounds Heal."
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:49 AM on July 29, 2003


I am truly sorry, but I'll never understand why "war" is supposed to have any manner of "rules."

For the same reason that there's different degrees of murder. Intent is important. If I kill someone in a fit of rage, we as a society say that's different than killing someone after carefully planning it out. War has "rules" because we need moral justification to convince our people that we are "right" and they are "wrong". Invading a country that hasn't provoked you or your neighbors, for instance, is deemed "wrong" because if it were "right" and everyone were doing it, there'd be anarchy. Torturing civilians is deemed "wrong" because you're only supposed to be battling combatants, with the intention of ending the war, not getting vengeance.

Anyway, regardless of whether you see any reason for morality in warfare, the fact remains that our armed service people are very serious about it. This kind of action flies in the face of everything they hold so proud and dear. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a court martial if this incident gets much more publicity.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:18 AM on July 29, 2003


Sorry about the bad link; that site is apparently restricted to .mil domains. I tried to find a good equivalent in the public, but even the Federation of American Scientists (fas.org) didn't have a good rundown of the LOAC. Here is a brief PowerPoint presentation on LOAC,

Glad to see someone around here understands the concept of honorable warfare.

One of the unstated basic principles of the Law of Armed Conflict is chivalry. That's what my briefers taught.

I am truly sorry, but I'll never understand why "war" is supposed to have any manner of "rules." Sure, military kidnapping is disgusting, wrong, and all kinds of dishonorable (and I do not in any way condone it, mind you), but *against the rules*?

The rules are called the Rules of Engagement (ROE), and they must comply to the Geneva Conventions (GC) and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Command units operations centers drag around Judge-Advocate General (JAG) lawyers so that they do follow the rules. LOAC is a superset of the GC, FWIW.

Given that the kidnapping was transparently called an "intelligence operation" leads me to believe that the JAG officer signed off on the thing. So I'll amend my statement-- Col. Hogg and the 2nd Batt, 4th ID JAG staff need LOAC refreshers. And courts-martials. And prison terms.

You guys are all missing the point. Do the Geneva Conventions apply to illegal wars? Show me where it says they do. Of course they don't. Since this is an illegal war, nothing is beyond the pale, anything goes. QED.

The Geneva Conventions apply because the US is a signatory and the UCMJ applies. They're not rescinded for convenience.
posted by Cerebus at 9:20 AM on July 29, 2003


I wonder if the Colonel is related somehow to Boss Hogg.
posted by ilsa at 9:27 AM on July 29, 2003


Can't or won't?
posted by walrus at 8:25 AM PST on July 29

Won't, probably. I *see* the reasons for ROE, but I have a difficult time wrapping my brain around the reality of there being "acceptable" behavior in the context of war. They don't call it hell for nothing, I'd assume.

Anyway, regardless of whether you see any reason for morality in warfare, the fact remains that our armed service people are very serious about it.
True enough. Point taken (and respected).
posted by *burp* at 9:49 AM on July 29, 2003


I want to know why the WP buried this kidnapping factoid so far down the story. A lot of readers will read the first few paragraphs and say, "oh, more war crap, yadda yadda" and stop there. I hope this story has legs, but given how the story of the Whitehouse lying to start a war is beginning to fade, I don't have much hope.
posted by squirrel at 10:34 AM on July 29, 2003


Did anyone else actually read the article? The Colonel basically said that the two women were brought in for questioning and would have been released in due course. The note they left for the General was a bluff. You may choose to not believe him but he never called it a kidnapping.
posted by Bonzai at 2:15 PM on July 29, 2003


Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.

The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.
Yes Bonzai, I read the article. Did you?

I'd like to know why they didn't put the "women" under surveillance and wait for Dad to come home for dinner, personally. And the fact that this led the guy to turn himself in tends to indicate that he did not beleive his family was safe in American custody.
posted by ilsa at 2:23 PM on July 29, 2003


His belief was irrelevant. His wife and daughter were not harmed. They were detained for questioning, had the general not turned himself in they would have been released.

It was a clever bluff.
posted by Bonzai at 2:31 PM on July 29, 2003


Of course, one hopes that former Baathist leaders aren't reading th WaPo or Mefi and learning that the "if you want to see your wife and daughter again" line is all a hoax!
posted by pjgulliver at 2:46 PM on July 29, 2003


It was kidnapping in the service of a political/military goal. I think there's a word for that...
posted by NortonDC at 3:02 PM on July 29, 2003


arrest?
posted by pjgulliver at 3:10 PM on July 29, 2003


It was a clever bluff.

"Officer, I was bluffing when I pointed the gun at his head and said I was going to kill him."

Somehow I don't think it's going to fly in front of a judge. You're still going to go down for assault with a deadly weapon.

There is clearly an implied threat. That threat to noncombatants is illegal under military law. Whether that threat was intended to be carried out is immaterial.
posted by Cerebus at 3:54 PM on July 29, 2003


His belief was irrelevant. His wife and daughter were not harmed. They were detained for questioning, had the general not turned himself in they would have been released.

His belief was relevant. He felt terror because he believed that the occupying army would not release his family. The occupying army exploited that terror to achieve a goal. They left a note with an "if" clause giving conditions of release. That's more than detaining for questioning. That's why it's called terrorism. By your logic, kidnappers shouldn't be prosecuted unless the victims are harmed. The harm is inflicted by the threat, real or implied. Put yourself in his shoes. It doesn't matter what their goal was, the means was wrong, and illegal.
posted by squirrel at 3:55 PM on July 29, 2003


Nope, because you can only arrest someone for the suspicion that they committed a crime. Keep thinking; it'll come to one of us.

On preview, squirrel seems to be on to something...
posted by NortonDC at 3:58 PM on July 29, 2003


My bad. I fed the troll .
posted by squirrel at 4:07 PM on July 29, 2003


Having studied the Pacific theatre of WWII indepth, especially the treatment of prisoners and the like, I applaud the amount of care given to POWs by the US forces. Yes, there are the occasional problems, but, for the most part, our treatment goes above and beyond what is called for.

I find many of the comments here to be quite laughable, but then, I shouldn't be surprised. I'm sure there are some in here that would bitch about their treatment even if the detainees were housed in a 4 star hotel and fed gourmet meals.
posted by Plunge at 4:16 PM on July 29, 2003


Plunge, this has nothing to do with how they were treated in custody, but everything to do with why they were kidnapped.
posted by NortonDC at 4:36 PM on July 29, 2003


NortonDC: Sorry, I was commenting about those commenting about the link I posted. hmmm...does that make sense?

Anyway, here is another soldier talking about the way prisoners are treated and the like.

http://chiefwiggles.blogspot.com/2003_07_27_chiefwiggles_archive.html#105951464718672762

I see this Hogg situation as an aberation and something that will quickly be fixed. In a sea of good will and caring on the part of our soldiers to the Iraq citizens and soldiers, you will always get these idiots.
posted by Plunge at 5:02 PM on July 29, 2003


a sea of good will and caring on the part of our soldiers to the Iraq citizens

"According to Mr Ibrahim, the soldiers were by now firing indiscriminately."
posted by muckster at 6:47 PM on July 29, 2003


In a sea of good will and caring on the part of our soldiers

The same ones I served with?

"Man, we was dusting ragheads left and right. It was awesome." - E5, D/2/46 Inf, 1995, to affirmation. (Not, by any means, an isolated sentiment.)

"Cruelty in war buyeth conquest at the dearest price." - Sir Philip Sidney

Plunge, you're an idiot.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:56 PM on July 29, 2003


Yes, there are the occasional problems, but, for the most part, our treatment goes above and beyond what is called for.

Here we agree. Or did you mean "above and beyond" in the positive sense?
posted by soyjoy at 7:45 AM on July 30, 2003


His belief was relevant. He felt terror because he believed that the occupying army would not release his family. The occupying army exploited that terror to achieve a goal. They left a note with an "if" clause giving conditions of release. That's more than detaining for questioning. That's why it's called terrorism. By your logic, kidnappers shouldn't be prosecuted unless the victims are harmed. The harm is inflicted by the threat, real or implied. Put yourself in his shoes. It doesn't matter what their goal was, the means was wrong, and illegal.

They weren't kidnapped. They had information, they were detained for questioning. It happens all the time, even in this country. The police can hold you for 72 hours without charging you with anything.

Let's look at this from another angle. Do you honestly think that if the Washington Post believed that US soldiers had violated the Geneva convention, they would have buried that information in the middle of story? That the New York Times and every other paper in the country wouldn't have put it on the front page of their papers?

I realize that was an appeal to authority, which is bad retorhic, but since I'm not an authority on military law and you aren't an authority on military law this might just be a situation where we need to trust the people who are the authorities on these matters?

And fuck you for calling me a troll on this one.
posted by Bonzai at 8:39 AM on July 30, 2003


They weren't kidnapped. They had information, they were detained for questioning.

You're cherrypicking. What about the note?

And fuck you for calling me a troll on this one.

Easy there, cowboy.
posted by squirrel at 9:09 AM on July 30, 2003


Do you honestly think that if the Washington Post believed that US soldiers had violated the Geneva convention, they would have buried that information in the middle of story? That the New York Times and every other paper in the country wouldn't have put it on the front page of their papers?

Yes. Yes, I do.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:11 AM on July 30, 2003


Bonzai, I think you're making an honest misinterpretation of the text of the article:
Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.

The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.
"These people" refers to the relations of those they are kidnapping (the ones they are trying to get to turn themselves in), not the family members they are kidnapping.

I've emailed the author of the article to see if that's the way he interpreted it as well.
posted by NortonDC at 9:31 AM on July 30, 2003


"Hogg, the 2nd Brigade commander, noted this as he sat in a Humvee on Wednesday afternoon, clenching the butt of a Dominican, cigar in his teeth."

What a difference a comma makes.
posted by RichLyon at 11:09 AM on July 30, 2003


Hogg...clenching the butt

This just gets better and better. Isn't that rather an odd locution to use to refer to a cigar, anyway? One "clenches" sphincter muscles, sure, but cigars? I spy a capture error. (No pun intended.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:33 PM on July 30, 2003


Isn't that how one holds a cigar?
posted by squirrel at 9:55 AM on July 31, 2003


« Older I would have never thought...   |   hey mom and dad Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post