UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Military

PRESS CONFERENCE: TF-134: Maj. Gen. Stone, June 1, 2008

Multi-National Force-Iraq

Sunday, 01 June 2008

Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, Commander, Task Force - 134 (Detainee Operations), Multi-National Force - Iraq, provides an operational update from Baghdad.

PRESS CONFERENCE:
Major General Douglas M. Stone, Commander, Detainee Operations, Multi-National Force - Iraq

DATE: June 1, 2008

TRANSCRIBED BY: SOS INTERNATIONAL LTD.

PARTICIPANTS: Major General Douglas Stone

REPORTERS:
Ahmed Jassem from the Arabic Newspaper
Ayad [last name not provided] from The Independent Press
Hamadi [last name not provided] from Radio Sawa
REPORTERS 1-7

*REP1 = REPORTER 1
*INT = INTERPRETER

MAJ GEN STONE: As-Salāmu `Alaykum. [Continues speaking briefly in Arabic without translation.] Four years ago, images of the abuse at Abu Ghraib were beamed across the world. For many Iraqis, we were no longer liberators, but conquerors. Through the actions of just a few, we lost the trust and the confidence of many. Today, we are still trying to regain that trust, and I want to tell you once again that there was no justification for what happened at Abu Ghraib. We deeply regret what took place, and are committed to ensuring that it never occurs again. True apologies, though, must be followed by actions which right the initial wrong, and over the past year, we have made great efforts to correct our past mistakes. And I think we have succeeded. We have transformed the conduct of coalition detention. As I prepare to depart Iraq, I want to share some thoughts with you about this transformation. One of the most important lessons that we learned from Abu Ghraib was the need to extend first-rate care and custody to every segment of the detainee population. In the past, we failed to prioritize this duty at our own peril. By not emphasizing population protection and the exemplary treatment of detainees, our facilities became breeding grounds for extremist recruitment. As a result, we changed many of our practices. We made respect for every individual detainee the foundation of everything we do. For instance, each detainee now receives a personal Koran, prayer rug if requested. They also enjoy nutritional and culturally appropriate food. And they receive the same medical, dental, and optical care that is provided for every U.S. soldier, myself included. We have made the physical well-being of detainees our primary responsibility. We must never forget that their security is of vital importance to our mission. And we haven’t. While the purpose of coalition detainee operations has always been to provide security to the population outside detention, we now prioritize that same strategy inside the facilities. To this end, we now assess all detainees to identify and isolate extremist threats. This creates an environment that is conducive to engagement by enabling the more moderate detainees to live free from fear or intimidation. The dramatic reduction in detainee-on-detainee violence over the past half year is, in large part, a direct result of these changes in population engagement. Our guard force is constantly vigilant and has implemented measures to immediately defuse such incidents before they escalate. In an act…if an act of detainee-on-detainee violence still occurs, we investigate the matter, we identify the perpetrators, and we send their cases to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. The court has dispensed justice firmly and fairly in cases that we have referred to them in the past. Our ability to detect and segregate enduring security threats has not only reduced the violence inside the coalition detention, it has also opened up pathways to engage with our most moderate population. Here, our detainee assessments are invaluable. They show us that detainees gravitated towards the insurgency because they were underemployed, undereducated, and in need of supplemental source of income. To address these social problems and to promote good citizenship, we now offer detainees an array of voluntary programs to help serve as a deterrent to insurgent activity. These efforts include education, vocational training, civics, Islamic discussion, family visitation, and pay-for-work programs that empower moderate detainees and marginalize violent extremists. Among the most important skills that we can teach detainees are the abilities to read and write. We have even established engagement programs for the special populations in our custody, including juveniles, women, and the mentally infirm. They are protected from the mainstream population and we employ psychologists and social workers to meet with their ever-evolving needs. Through such programs, we aimed to not only peacefully reintegrate moderates back into the Iraqi society, but we also encouraged them to become willing and active partners in Iraq’s reconstruction. The large number of former detainees who have returned to our facilities to help teach programs shows that we are succeeding. By engaging moderate detainees and providing them with the tools needed to succeed outside detention, we are giving them an incentive to refrain from future misconduct. This enables us to release more detainees because we are confident that they are no longer constitute an imperative security risk to…imperative security risk. Our population numbers confirm this. For instance, our detainee population has fallen from a peak of 26,000 detainees last summer to now just over 21,000. Our release rates overtook the intake rates this February. And today, we are releasing, on average, about 50 detainees each day compared to an average daily intake of only 30 detainees. Our miniscule re-internment rate shows that we are releasing the right people. Since our engagement programs began in earnest last September, we have nearly released 10,000 detainees, but just 33 have returned to our custody. We expect these positive trends to continue through the remainder of the calendar year. Transparency is a guiding principle of our coalition detention. We realize that our influence extends well beyond the now 21,000 individuals in our custody, and it touches their families, their friends, their communities, and the broader Muslim Ummah. To allay their concerns and to show that we have nothing to hide, we have opened our facilities to a number of agencies. The International Committee of Red Cross, the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights have both inspected our facilities and met privately with the detainees to discuss the conditions of their detention. I want to emphasize here that confidentiality is an essential part of this access. We have also increasingly opened our gates to the international media from Western newspapers and radio to pan-Arab news outlets and satellite networks. We want people to see – not just to read and not just to hear about – what goes on inside detention. This includes those indirectly affected by coalition detention like the families of detainees themselves. We have created family visitation programs at both Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca. Given the difficulties that many families have in reaching Bucca, we have established a video-conferencing center and capability. And on average, more than 2,000 such visits occur at our facilities every week. Ultimately, we realize that no matter how much we have revolutionized the conduct of detainee operations over the past year, at the end of the day, detention is still detention. We cannot escape or hide from this fact; it is a reality of war fighting. Nevertheless, I believe we are performing a critical task that is in both U.S. and Iraqi interests. Coalition detention is essential to securing two distinct populations. By taking dangerous individuals off of the Iraqi streets, we are helping to create a secure environment for law-abiding citizens. This tends to promote stability, enable political reconciliation, encourage economic growth. And by prioritizing population protection inside our detention centers, we are ensuring that violent extremists remain isolated—both physically and ideologically. With their marginalization, we can begin to reintegrate the vast majority of detainees who are moderate back into society in a safe and a secure manner. It is our sincere hope that their return will aid in the creation of a vibrant and a robust civil society here in Iraq. I thank you, and I would be honored to take your questions. Yes, sir.

REP1: [Speaks in Arabic.]

INT: Peace be upon you.

MAJ GEN STONE: Alaykum As-Salām.

REP1: [Asks question in Arabic.]

INT: From Anbar. I heard in a previous questioning that there is a committee that reviews the cases of all of the detainees every six months and they put specific numbers down. And these numbers are about 50…it’s about a rate of 50 detainees a day. These are actually…are they divided for…over the six months? So, do we say 50 of the detainees every day which means this…these…this is very slow. Over six months is a very long time, because you only review it…their case every six months. So an innocent man has to wait for six more months and people do not look in his case again until another six months comes. So he has to wait for this whole…and it keeps going on in six month periods. Why is this…these slow procedures happening as far as releasing these detainees that were less than what we were hoping for?

MAJ GEN STONE: Well, I want to thank you for the question. And I want to clarify a few of the issues for you. First of all, the detainees are given the right to have their case reviewed every six months. But, in fact, our normal review cycle is just a little bit over four months; on average, a little bit above four months. There is no limitation to the number per day that those who are being reviewed could have their case released. There is no stipulation. There is no quota. The only concern that the boards have is that the individual would not go back into the community and return to counter-coalition activity. That’s the only concern. And so there are many more than 50 per day, on average, who are released when you look at the board results. But on balance, by the time they move from Bucca, get back up, collect their belongings, go through the process that takes place every day, the average right now is actually a little bit above 50. In the last month—or in May—to date, it has been 52. So that’s just the average. Our numbers have continued to move down in a very reasonable fashion. I do understand any detainee who would like to have their case reviewed earlier. And oftentimes, at the request of the division commanding generals, at the request of individuals who contact them or sometimes contact us, we bring forth…bring some reviews in earlier. So there are a lot of individuals who are being seen every day—140-150, sometimes higher. And on balance, those that are released or given release recommendations exceed 50 per day. But when you average it out over the entire month, it tends to be just a little bit over 50 that actually walk out the back door. And again, the number is continuing to drop down. Yes, ma’am.

REP2: [Asks question in Arabic. Translation not provided.]

MAJ GEN STONE: I’m sorry. She…I’m hearing your Arabic perfectly and she’s not translating.

INT: Oh, I’m sorry. Oh, I’m…no, I switched into…. Her first question was what is the number of detainees that had been released since this started, the process started. The second question was that there is a [unintelligible] who had a statement and she needs to continue.

MAJ GEN STONE: Do you want me…?

INT: She didn’t finish her second question, sir.

REP2: [Continues speaking in Arabic.]

MAJ GEN STONE: No.

INT: The number of the total. There is a statement by [unintelligible] Dulaimy who is in charge of the IFCNR that there is a possibility there is going to be agreement between the IFCNR and you that you would release 1,500 detainees a day so…because they are getting ready to go into this elections…for the provincial elections, or is this true or what is going on with this?

MAJ GEN STONE: Let me answer the second question first. We have no agreement with the IFCNR that I’m aware of for any increased number of releases. I want to be clear. Our release process is a very carefully vetted process. Each detainee has a chance to engage with the board of, in most cases, COR members from the area that they were initially detained. All of the information that we have is engaged in that conversation with the detainee. In the case of youth or in the case of the mentally impaired or in the case of the very few women—we have 15 women in detention—there is another representative who is there to help them make sure that they fully understand how to carry on the conversation. But it’s not a jury, it’s not a trial, it’s not a court. It’s a discussion with the sole intent to determine if the individual…if we have the facts right, if the individual is likely not to go back. So, I don’t want to change that process because it has worked very well. What we want to do is begin to include Iraqis into that process, to sit in those discussions, to be there during that deliberation. And we have invited them and we want to continue to grow that. We are looking at initial processes to start right here in the Baghdad area. But the sooner we get everybody in that same room to discuss, the more we are going to be confident that an individual who is released will no longer be an imperative security risk. So, I don’t want to change that process and we will go as fast as we can with that process to release. The only criteria for being released is that we don’t feel somebody is an imperative security risk. They are not being charged with a crime. They are not sitting in a court. They are strictly civilian internees who have been taken off the battlefield because they have been involved with/alleged to be involved with counter-coalition or activities that are threatening to the force. As to the number who have been released, I want to make sure I answer your question precisely. Let me answer the…one part of that question first. In 2008, calendar year 2008, we have released 7,000…a little more than 7,200 at this point. I don’t have the exact numbers from yesterday, but that’s a rough figure in the year. Now, that number is above 9,000 and about 10,000 for the entire process that we started back in September of last year, and that’s where we sort of started to count the other numbers. So, I’m not sure what your question was, but using this new process where detainees are reviewed, where they take a pledge, where they are involved in various programs, it’s been just about 10,000 or under, between nine and ten. And this year to date, a little over 7,200. Did I answer your question?

REP2: [Responds off microphone.]

MAJ GEN STONE: No. Okay, good. Let’s go this….

REP3: [Asks question in Arabic.]

INT: In the last period, the last release, the COR members who had came to this, we…they had said that there was an agreement with people who were responsible for these detention centers. As far as the women are concerned, there are 14 women in Cropper. Nobody has looked at their cases yet. They have not been sent to trial or to the courts and then there is a delay. Where have you…where are you as far as…in expediting…giving their cases or presenting their cases to trial? Also they said…these COR members said that there was an agreement between us and the Americans as far as releasing these women, even if it was like on a guarantee that these COR members would give you a guarantee on.

MAJ GEN STONE: Let me clarify three things. First of all, every month we invite all of the press, international press, we would invite anybody from the Council of Representatives, the Iraqi government, the MNF-I forces, whomever, to come to what is essentially a ceremonial release where they can see and talk to more than 300 detainees. We don’t exactly announce the day in advance but we get a lot of people who are there. In the last…and we do this once a month. In the last release, there were members of the Council of Representatives there. They got a chance to individually discuss with the detainees who had been released – they are now “releasees” after the ceremony. They met with them privately to talk about their care. The press met privately with 50 or more of the detainees to talk about their care. And in the course of that conversation, the question was asked, “How many women do we have in detention?” And we have 15 – not 14 – 15 women in detention at this time. Those women are all going through an individual program of—voluntary program—of instruction. They are having religious discussions with qualified imams. We have women psychologists and counselors working with them. All Iraqis or Islamic; this is not…nobody in uniform is doing this. And those women are prospering and growing through this process. They are also receiving valuable health care. In a number of the cases, they need to have some medical attention. So in some cases, and I’d rather not mention how many, they were very close to being suicide bombers. But it’s a sizable number. So, the same question that we raise for the men is that we…we raise for the women. And that is how confident can we all be that upon their release they would not return to counter-coalition activities? And I will tell you that we look very carefully every month at the women’s situation. And again, they are not being tried. There have been women in the past who have actually created crimes that were tried in the CCC-I…or the Central Criminal Court. These women are, as the other detainees are, security detainees, and so, it’s strictly a matter of us detaining them and feeling comfortable as a security release that they are no longer going to be a threat. So, we release women quite frequently to their families. And increasingly what we have done is brought in their families to this discussion, included their families in the counseling sessions. Involved them because – more with the women we find than with the males – if their family structure is there and they understand the entire process, they can then work together and go back. And we have released a very high number of women to this process with their families and not one of them has come back to harm themselves or anybody else. So, our commitment to the Council of Representatives is the same commitment that we make to everyone. We want the detainees who are being held to go and be productive members of society as quickly as we can. But we must have, together, confidence that they are not going to return to counter-coalition activities. Our numbers support that this process works. So, rather than strictly open the door and release them, we open the door for their families, we open the door for counselors, we open the door for discussions. And then when the women are ready, they let us know. When they are healthy, they let us know. And when they tell us and let us know they are ready to go back, they’re confident that they can go back, then we release them. And that’s our process. So we have made a commitment to the Council of Representatives that we would honor their request and this conversation. But I’m not strictly going to go and say, “There is a number, I’m going to open the door and let them out.” It’s not good for the women; it’s not what they want. It’s not what their families want in many cases. So, we are processing them at…the reason we have such a low number is because most of the time when women come in, they stay with us a very short period of time. But for those that are with us, they go through the exact same process with a lot more care and counseling and medical care than anybody else. Yes, sir.

REP4: [Asks question in Arabic.]

INT: Ayad from The Independent Press. Have we released any foreign fighters, and what is the number of these foreign fighters that you have?

MAJ GEN STONE: Thank you. The…this is often one of the numbers that I ask a lot of visitors. And I say to them, you know, today I have more than 21,000 in detention. What percentage of those do you think are foreign fighters, are third country nationals? And you would be surprised at the answers I get. “Half of them.” You know, “Thousands of them.” But the real answer is today we only have 221. And, yes, systematically with countries who have programs similar to ours where we can feel confident that the individuals are going to go back. In some cases they have committed crimes and so the Iraqi court needs to say we’re okay with releasing that case to that country. They all go through the same review cycle. And in some cases, they are released, for example, to International Red Cross Repatrionization[sic] Program, who then pick them up and take them back. So our numbers have come down rather significantly by working with other countries, working through our embassy, and working through the Government of Iraq, who really manages this process, almost on an individual basis, to ensure that these folks leave the country and are in the right process on the other side. So I’m most proud, I guess, of this process, because it gets a lot of attention. We have probably 20 countries represented in these 221 detainees. I might be off by one or two countries. Some are just one from one country. Once in awhile, when we release individuals back through the Government of Iraq to a country, the individual will say, well, I’m really not from that country, so that sort of stops it. But overall, on balance, these individuals who go back, go back and stay back. And again, we’ve had no repeat. So that’s our number and that’s our process. Yes, my friend.

REP5: As-Salāmu `Alaykum.

INT: Peace be upon you.

MAJ GEN STONE: Alaykum As-Salām.

REP5: [Asks question in Arabic.]

INT: Ahmed Jassem from The Arabic Newspaper. We thank your feeling for what you have said and your apology to the Iraqi people for the…what happened in Abu Ghraib…

MAJ GEN STONE: Thank you.

REP5: [Continues speaking in Arabic.]

INT: …scandal. We all remember that when you took over these detention centers or prisons [he’s using], it was a very…we are very happy that you have actually put the basis of democracy. But what the citizen is suffering from, especially the children of Iraq, they ask you to release their fathers who have been innocent…who are innocent. We know there are large numbers – more than 20,000. This is a very large number and it could be that most of them are innocent. So we hope as the…my colleagues had said a little while ago that we can prepare to release these innocent people. The other question. What is the number of the…of detainees from JAM, Jaish Al-Mahdi, until now?

MAJ GEN STONE: Well, first of all, let me thank you, my friend, for your comments. And let me tell you, I think we all share the exact same feeling. Those who would not return to a counter-coalition activity, they may well be in detention because they did something motivated for various other reasons but are no longer going to be an imperative security risk. We want them to go home to their families. We want that as bad, in some cases, as they do. That’s why we work so hard in our [unintelligible] program to talk about civics and family structure. The detainees now, you may know, when they have their family visitations—and I mentioned the number by video, but I didn’t mention that more than 3,000 can sit with their families per week. And in the old process, there was a window and you had to talk through the window. We’ve knocked those windows out in multiple buildings. We’ve built additional buildings. We put on additional visitation shifts. And so, now when you come and visit with us, you will see the detainees holding their children for the first time, holding the babies that are with them. They are able to hug their wives and their family members for the first time. We think this is important, because the research that we’ve done in the last six months tells us new things about why individuals go into counter-coalition activities. And one of them, interestingly, is that the family unit, in a way, makes the decision. They said, “You know, under a former regime, I didn’t have a cell phone or a refrigerator or a car or a satellite dish. And there’s these guys that’ll give us $300 or $600 to do it.” They’re not committed to that ideological fight as much as they are committed to the $300 or $600. Now don’t get me wrong; we have hardcore al-Qaeda. We have hardcore [unintelligible] and fighters and by the thousands. But I think we’re talking about those that visit with their families, visit with their children. Those are almost universally the individuals who, when they come before the review boards, explain their case and are released and don’t come back. So we are working as hard as we can to place them. And let me give you another data point and it really goes to an earlier question. It is a part of the CORs’ hope as they build reintegration centers for these individuals that they can replace them back into society in a manner that helps them adjust. And you may have seen the great work that General Lynch has done and others – I say General Lynch because he’s right here – have done in the creation of these centers. They bring individuals back. They bring the community together. They hold events and they work very hard to take this decision from the theater internment facility and put it into action in their local community. And they want to move this process successfully. If we took everybody and flowed ‘em right into ‘em, they would have a very hard time handling huge numbers. But I think as the divisions get more productive at this, as we get better at making the decisions, as the Iraqi participation increases, we are going to be able to move forward. That’s my ardent hope. That’s the way we’ve built the system. Now to the question of Jaish Al-Mahdi, I actually don’t have the exact number. I can tell you – and I hate to break it up this way – I can tell you by Shi’a and Sunni, but it’s not an exact number. I can give you a rough estimate based on numbers that I was reviewing a couple of weeks ago. We have about…we are still at about 19% Shi’a out of 100%. So a little over 4,000 are Shi’a. Inside that, we know of just about 2,000 that we would—and they would agree—are Jaish Al-Mahdi. Now not everybody comes in and tells you their affiliation, but that is a rough estimate on the number. And that’s a number that I feel pretty confident is there. I’m sorry if…and I will be glad to give you the exact number. I just actually don’t have it right here and I don’t want to totally misrepresent it. Thank you. Yes, sir.

REP6: [Asks question in Arabic.]

INT: Hamadi from Radio Sawa. There is a problem for months about the turning over these detainees in the BIAP prison or Baghdad Airport Prison. They have been…some of them are all like assistants to Saddam Hussein and a lot of them had, like, they had some kind of a decision. Why did you not give the two people, Sultan Hashim and Chemical Ali, to the Iraqi government? What happened?

MAJ GEN STONE: Okay. Thank you. I’m sorry [laughs]. I was not tracking that question for a second. The individual case of…that you just mentioned, I do not have…or the coalition does not have legal custody of those two gentlemen. In fact, that’s actually true for the former regime members across the board. But we do have physical custody. And so many of them are still on trial, they are still coming down to the Central Criminal Court and having trials. Some have had verdicts on some charges. We are waiting for the prime minister, the president, the Iraqi government to reach an agreement in their new procedure, inform the ambassador, the ambassador will tell General Petraeus, who will then order me to release them. But from our perspective, we are holding them waiting for the Iraqi government to tell us that. And the ambassador, Ambassador Crocker, rightly has interpreted that the importance of this release has to be handled in a manner to be assured that the Iraqi government is in complete agreement. So, the simple answer to your question is as soon as the Iraqi government tells the ambassador, the ambassador will tell coalition forces, and we will move them to wherever they decide that they want them moved. But we are not denying it. I mean, we would…as in most cases, we would like to have the Iraqi government take responsibility for most of these cases. Follow up, yes, please.

REP6: [Asks question in Arabic.]

INT: So, what do you mean by the Crocker…once, like, an agreement in Iraqi…between the Iraqi government? Does this have to do with agreement between the political members of the Iraqis and then tell you and then you release them? [He’s using release as let them out of jail. And then he’s saying is this agreement, like, an agreement inside the government.]

MAJ GEN STONE: Very simply said, the Iraqi government has a process by which they review these cases. I’m not familiar with it. But I know that it is still being worked out within the Iraqi government, and we have not gotten the direct decision from them as to their transfer. Now, in some cases they have a verdict against them and there is a sentence that has to be carried out. That sentence will be carried out by the Government of Iraq as soon as they choose to do it. So, we’re not holding them. We’re not going to carry out the sentence. We’re simply going to – and it will be my organization – when instructed, we’ll simply transfer the individual involved, the detainee today, and given physical custody to the Government of Iraq. And this was true in the case of Saddam Hussein, for example. He…the legal custody rested with the Government of Iraq. The physical custody rested with us. And as soon as that order was issued, Task Force 134—this organization—safely transferred the detainee and there was a physical custody handoff…paperwork and then the U.S. backed away and the Iraqi government carried on with their procedure. That will happen the instant we get that order. So I don’t know that for the specifics of, you know, what we’re waiting for on the Government of Iraq, I would ask you to talk to the embassy. They can probably give you more clarity on that. Yes, ma’am.

REP7: [Asks question in Arabic.]

INT: There is…are detainees, Iraqi and…that are being…there’s a law that’s used for the secret evidence and this is a law that only exists in the United States. What is the number of these either foreign or Iraqi detainees that are, like, under the secret evidence? [Meaning probably intel evidence that can’t be…] What is the number of these cases?

MAJ GEN STONE: [Laughs.] The…first of all, I think in almost all the detainees’ cases, there is information in their file which can’t be released to the public without, in the case of the individual who may…individuals, multiple, who may have given the information in the first place, they are protected, or there may be other classified information that was associated with the detainees. We are actually working on a thought that much of this information might be able to be understood adequately enough by the right Iraqi members of these panels. And so, we’re hopeful in the timeframe to come that the Iraqis who are…could look at our process – and they have reviewed our process, I…we’ve had hundreds come out to see how we conduct these panels – sit on those panels and take a look at the information. But we’re actually not holding anybody because we have classified information if that’s what you mean. We just don’t share information that could get somebody else hurt is really what it’s about. So, if three or four or five folks gave private information, it was then corroborated with others and put together. That whole piece of information results in detention. That information is sort of held rather than passed out. But there’s no secret law to this. There’s no separate ruling. It’s just as simple as that. I mean, this information is gathered. We have it, it’s in the book. The panels are U.S. They have all security clearances. They review all this information. And it’s resident, in some cases, with detainees in a little way and, in some cases, detainees in a big way. So it’s…I think every detainee has got a piece of information like that in one way or the other. This is one more question.

I want to tell you that now going on nearly my 15th month, it has been my great honor to take on and assume a responsibility for which there is so much interest. It has been, I think, a great opportunity to work with truly dedicated Iraqis. It has been a great opportunity to associate myself, frankly, with many of the men in detention who can express a life’s experience, and do with our guards and others every day. And you might have heard me mention early on that many of these men have come back to work for us. And I don’t want to tell you the exact number; I think that’s kind of classified but it’s quite a few. And today, they work for us in both Bucca and Cropper. They can express – and they do – to the detainees the legitimacy of what we’re trying to do. They are, along with the Iraqi guards, along with the Iraqi counselors, along with the Iraqi judge, along with the Iraqi teachers, building an understanding of how detention can be a productive part of a law-abiding society. And I know all of us would like to see detention go away. But I will also remind you of something that I mentioned in the past and that is that increasingly detainees ask to stay. They ask to stay for a combination of reasons. I don’t want to overemphasize this, but it happens every day. And every day, they feel they are safer where they are at. Every day their families will say, “I think right now he’s safer where he’s at.” And so, along with that I would ask you to look at detention in a way that’s perhaps different than prison. Because it’s not a prison, and my good friend clarified that. A prison is a place that you go when you receive a court order and you are put there for a number of years because you committed a crime. But, you, see in coalition detention, it was a judgment that the individual was a security risk. And when that judgment is gone, the detainee goes back. And that’s why we’re so pleased with the very low rate of individuals coming back, because they have kept their word, they have kept their pledge. And the Iraqis who are working with them have done that. And so, I think you would be very proud of what you see today in U.S. detention. And with that, I’m going to bid you adieu, and thank you very much for the opportunity to chat with you today.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list