September 21st, 2003


Prison with a serious body count.

It's after 2 and I'm going to bed soon, but I just heard the latest from Iraq. Two US soldiers killed and 13 wounded on a mortar attack on Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad.

This normally wouldn't phase me quite so much, except that earlier today I read this article from Robert Fisk.

"The Americans in Abu Ghraib are attacked four out of every seven nights with mortars, small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. That's 16 times a month. And that's a lot of attacks."

"There is still no clear judicial process for the supposed killers, thieves and looters behind the razor wire. There was no mention - until we brought it up - of the mortar attack that killed six prisoners (and wounded 59) in their tents last month. The Americans sent psychologists to talk to the inmates afterwards and found that they believed - surprise, surprise - the Americans were using them as human shields."

It appears that a former symbol of Saddam's cruelty is now being viewed as a symbol of US injustice, and is being targeted as a result. I see higher walls and more razor wire in Abu Ghraib's future, but ultimately there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide... especially if you're one of the prisoners.

They will turn upon their own...

Captain James J. Yee, an army Islamic chaplain who counseled al Qaeda prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba naval base has been charged with espionage, aiding the enemy, sedition, and failure to obey a general order. The Army may also charge him with treason, which carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Capt. Yee, a Chinese-American and a graduate of West Point military academy, was raised in New Jersey as a Lutheran. He became interested in Islam while a student at West Point and later spent four years studying Arabic and Islam in Damascus, where he met his wife. He returned to the US and reenrolled in the military, to serve our nation as an Islamic chaplain.

My theory? Yee probably passed a message / messages to a prisoner's family, telling them where their husband/son is, that he isn't dead, but that he won't be in contact anytime soon. I fully expect that time will show that Captain James J. Yee is no spy, but is, infact, an American prisoner of conscience.

"The strength of the nation we defend is our diversity, but not knowing each other only creates an obstacle keeping us from really coming together as one cohesive force. .... Practically speaking, this is as easy as smiling, and saying, "Hi, my name is... " to a fellow member who is Muslim. With almost certainty, your response will also be met with a smile and the words, "Hi, it's nice to meet you..." - James J. Yee, Captain, US Armed Forces.