Lt. Col. Allen B. West is being charged for mistreating an Iraqi prisoner in a successful effort to thwart a guerrilla attack on U.S. troops in Iraq. Below is the transcript of an interrogation conducted by his successor of another Iraqi prisoner.)
Good morning, Mr., ah, al-Sharif. Please have a seat. Are you comfortable? Good. Would you like a cup of tea and some cookies? Yes, I realize that our tea is weak, but…well, if I leave the tea bag in longer…actually, no, I didn’t think of that, but I guess I could take the tea out of the bag and just let it sit in the bottom of the cup. Would that do? Oh – you’d never touch tea that had been in a bag. Yes, I guess I can understand that, but…Yes, I can ask him – uh Lieutenant, would you run to the market and get Mr. al-Sharif some tea? Thank you.
Would you mine if I ask you a few questions? I guess it would be ok, but I have a call to the ACLU to be my lawyer. That's fine, now Mr. al-Shariff could you tell us what you were doing with 4 lbs. of C-4 explosives in your pocket? Oh, I thought that was Play Dough I bought for my kids. Well that sounds reasonable to me.
Now, Mr. al-Sharif. We caught you holding a RPG Grenade weapon just after our armour personnel carrier was blown up, we need to know if you had anything to do with that? I don’t know anything about the armour personnel carrier being blown up. What were you doing with the RPG ? Just picked it up. I see. Perhaps you could tell me why it was still warm. Well, you have a point there - I guess maybe it could have gotten warm from contact with the hot sand.
OK – so how can you explain the fact that five of our men saw you aim it just before the personnel carrier was blown up. I thought I was hidden. No, they did see you, but they couldn’t shoot at you until after you fired the RPG. We don’t believe in shooting someone just because he points a RPG at one of our vehicles, not unless the vehicles gets hit, then we would have to make sure no civilians are in the area before we would shoot. Now Mr. al-Sharif, why did you have a pack on your back with 3 RPG's? I was out cleaning the roadside and just found them so I thought I would bring them to you'all. OK,that makes sense, thank you for looking after your community. Mr. al-Sharif I understand you hurt your arm when the men captured you. Yes they did, they hurt my arm and my feelings and didn't tell me my rights.
By the way, how is that arm? They told me you had some pain during the night. Yes, our drugs are very good. Don’t worry. You’ll be back home before you have a chance to get addicted. We’re death on drug addiction. That’s just an expression – it means we don’t tolerate it. Zero tolerance. Maybe you’ve heard of that.
Now. I’m told that your friend – the one you were with when you pointed the RPG at the personnel carrier – yes, Mr. Rashid – I’m told he has plans to blow up our headquarters. Is that true? You don’t know. Well, yes, actually, I do remember having a friend in high school who did some bad things and never told me before he did them. Yes, I suppose everyone has a friend like that once in his life.
So can you tell me what your friend is going to do? Oh. You never discuss business with him. I guess I can understand that. We have friends who are drinking buddies and friends we play ball with and friends at work. No. What’s a skin buddy? I’ve never heard of that. Ah – you met him at a public flaying and you became friends. So you mean to tell me you and Mr. Rashid never discuss anything other than flaying? Not even stonings? I find that hard to believe, Mr. al-Sharif. You expect me to believe that if one of your skin buddies were going to blow up an oil pipeline you would never have discussed it? Tell me something – if you found out somebody was going to rape your skin buddy’s wife, would you discuss that with him?
No, I can’t be court-martialed for using the R-word. No, that’s just a rumor. I can only be court-martialed if I actually rape someone. No, not even if my saying the word makes you worry about your wife’s safety. Nope, no court-martial. Well, maybe if I told you I was definitely going to rape her, then I could get in trouble, but I promise you I am not going to rape your wife, Mr. al-Sharif. We’re civilized. We don’t…no, I didn’t mean to imply that you’re not. I just wanted to make it clear that we’re…well, yes, one could make comparisons, but I wasn’t doing that. Frankly, I don’t know whether your wife is beautiful, but that has nothing to do with it. You mean you’re going to kill her just because we had this conversation? But that’s wrong. I mean, think it over, Mr. al-Sharif. I only said I was not going to rape her. It doesn’t mean I think she’s ugly. I’ve never seen her. Doesn’t she wear one of those body ba..I mean burqas? Then how could I know anything about her? Don’t be ridiculous. We can’t let you leave if we think you’re going to kill your wife. Yes, we certainly can hold you if we know you intend to kill your wife. We just can’t hold you if we know you’re going to kill one of us.
Now, about your skin buddy. Wait – here comes your tea. Thank you, Lieutenant. What? Headquarters? Just happened? Forty dead?
Well now, Mr. al-Sharif, that puts matters in a different light. I guess
that’s it. You can go now. There’s no point in our keeping you any longer.
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