Thursday, November 02, 2006

Worrisome in its own way

Negotiations for release of American GI interpreter are underway, according to the AP. The U.S. military said there is "an ongoing dialogue" to win the release of a kidnapped American soldier, and said the captive is an Iraqi-American who married an Iraqi woman early last year. Here are further details from the article:

At the Pentagon, a senior defense official said that since he left the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad without permission, the soldier would technically have been considered AWOL at the time of any abduction. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

The woman who claimed to al-Taayie's mother-in-law, Latifah Isfieh Nasser, said last week that the soldier's in-laws put up a futile struggle to stop the abduction by men believed to be Mahdi Army militia fighters. Relatives said al-Taayie's kidnappers later used his cell phone to contact them.


A number of points from previous coverage immediately become clear with these new revalations. Why the Madhi Army was suspected. Why there is an Iraqi dimension to this whole problem. Not that the man isn't a US citizen, but his Iraqi ethnicity may also mean that certain other avenues, let's call them traditional dispute resolution mechanisms, may also be available to win his release. Still it sets a worrisome precedent because negotiations are always first cousins to ransoms.


Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Ominous at best;

Kidnapping/ethnic cleansing ---> Mahdi Army ---> al Sadr ---> The Shiite alliance ---> Iraqi parliament ---> The democratic Iraqi people

This does not bode well for future peace. What are we fighting for again?

11/02/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

If this guy left his post without permission, if he married an Iraqi female without permission, if he *is* an Iraqi immigrant to the U.S., then I would have to seriously wonder who his allegiance lies with: America or Iraq. Given all of this I'm not willing to put in the same effort - or much of any effort at all - to retrieve his carcass because he's just not an American soldier. He's a transplanted Muslim who got caught for being stupid.

Guy swore an oath to be a soldier -- did he also swear an oath to be an American? And then what kind of oath did he swear to marry the Iraqi person?

He wants to marry an Iraqi and visit his in-laws? Fine. He can stay there and be Iraqi all he wants to be then. It's not worth messing a hair on the head of one single real American soldier to retrieve him.

11/02/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I strongly disagree with you on this one Nahncee. Several Euro-Americans have also married Iraqi’s. It’s kind of what GI’s do. Living every day with the threat of being vaporized makes you think about the important things in life. We need to get him back even if it means meting out violence.

11/02/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

He's an American soldier. Granted he screwed up by leaving the compound. Sounds like some rule bending took place since he previously broke rules to get married, probably because he's fluent in the local vernacular.

If he was kidnapped, we need to press Maliki and others in order to get him back. Every day that goes by without his return should bode very badly for Maliki, Sadr, the Mahdi army, etc. Time to show some violence.

11/02/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Nahncee - He wants to marry an Iraqi and visit his in-laws? Fine. He can stay there and be Iraqi all he wants to be then. It's not worth messing a hair on the head of one single real American soldier to retrieve him.

Guy disobeys orders and goes out alone into Bahgdad Injun territory where 60-70 people are killed, abducted then killed EVERY DAY. Where scores are detained and questioned and many are beaten in addition of the 5-6 dozen killed. And another dozen are kidnapped for ransom, EVERY DAY!!

With violence at an all-time high, this bozo, with stronger ties to Iraqis than his own troops goes out alone.

And we are supposed to sacrifice dozens of men and destroy the stabilization mission so the brainless slogan "Leave No Man Behind!! is followed??? We didn't do that in the past Wars America won.

Just how many men is a corpse or a disobedient Iraqi who put himself in his own predicament, worth? The 18 who died in Somalia on corpse retrieval imperative?? (The flip side of Blackhawk Down was Gen. Adid was later interviewed. He said that the dead helo pilot would have been well-treated, given the Rangers had taken 3 of his top lieutenants as prisoners to bargain with and trade - as they were for the live crewman. But the efforts of the "elites" and air support killed over 600 of his followers and innocent bystanders. So Gen Adid said that he regretted having to do it - but he had no choice as a matter of honor - but to drag the dead body of the pilot through the streets to "avenge" the wanton carnage the Americans did over a dead body.)

And lets remember that the only reason WHY militias are springing up everywhere is that with thousands dead, wounded and kidnapped in Bahgdad, the Americans think quarding neighborhoods is too hard to do.
There is little police or Iraqi soldier willingness to step up. Which makes it no-brainer for any Iraqi to support his kind's militia. Security lies with the militias. Then magically, a single US soldier goes missing and all of a sudden the Americans find the resources they said they didn't have when just Iraqis were being slaughtered and tortured, and viola! - Baghdad is all checkpointed up as Americans finally find someone worth the resources denied to what were once peaceful residents..

You can perhaps understand why security checkpoints by USA, after 3 years of anarchy, weren't exactly cheered.

And jingoistic threats of general violence against the Shiites to get the AWOL deserter, hostage, or whatever he is back won't send shivers of servile capitulation out in the population. Saddam slaughtered 100s of thousands, and they endured. Nor is it a great idea to declare a new phase of the war on the Shiite militias and hope our additional casualties are under the 20,000 the Sunnis managed.

Another downside of the "No Man Left Behind!" slogan is it becomes so important career-wise and politically - to never lose a man and thus unleash hostage or POW mania - that it has become a mission killer and crippler of our odds of success. Force protection to venture forth is so excessive, and mixing with the population has become so discouraged - that Americans have never been more isolated and detached from a native population as in Iraq. We do patrols to see if someone wishes to attack us, and relations with natives go through a new elite of Iraqi "middlemen".

The final problem with "leave no man behind" is that it makes us so manic about "rescuing" POWs or Hostages no matter what the cost, because action is demanded, that we endanger servicemen. If the enemy thinks if they take any grunt alive that they are at high risk from would-be rescuers, the safest course will be just to whack them. Obviously not a problem with Al Qaeda - but enough of one with nations or groups that do take prisoners to rethink the practice if Americans overreact and begin killing large numbers of natives or guards to get a prisoner freed.

11/02/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Not only is he an Iraqi, it sounds as though he, his wife and their relatives are about to become very wealthy Iraqis courtesy of the US taxpayer (unless of course we decide to believe this 'futile struggle to stop the abduction' story).

The entire scenario has 'scam' written all over it. This has already worked like a charm, repeatedly, against both NGO's and European governments (recall for example the Italian Communist journalist/insurgent sympathizer caught on her return concealing a share of the ransom cash). It is or was just inevitable that sooner or later someone would try this on us.

11/02/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

I urge right-wing racists and flag-waving demagogues who visit this blog to NOT read my thoughts on the kidnapping under any circumstances:

Go to

and scroll down to the post entitled "Iraq: What's Wrong With This Picture?"

You have been warned.

11/03/2006 05:50:00 AM  

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