The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Getting the Story Right

A throwback to a late Sunday night in 2006 and my old blog on Yahoo. With Jan. 11 apparently being the “International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo,” I felt the need to revisit this. I added the links to the stories that were relevant when this was written.

First off, let me say that these are my opinions.

I just came from seeing the film “The Road to Guantanamo” at the AFI SilverDocs film festival…..and I’m completely disgusted.

The movie portrays the story of theee individuals who were “mistaken” for Taliban/Al-Queda members in 2003 and sent to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), Cuba. While they were there, they are alledgedly subjected to torture during interrogations (or, as the film would have you believe, anytime someone just needed someone to beat up on). Ultimately, in 2004, they are released back to their native country.

I volunteered to work at the detention facility in Gitmo last year, and spent six months there as a guard in the facility and as an admin clerk. I will be the first to say that at NO time during our training were we EVER told that it was alright to torture, beat up on, or demean any of the detainees there. In fact, exactly the opposite-our instructors from the Army went to great lengths to ensure that we would treat the detainees with the utmost respect for their culture and religion. Even when taking a class in unarmed self defense (yes, DEFENSE!!!), we were constantly and consistently taught to use the least amount of force necessary to gain control of whatever situation we were in.

The movie gives a view of the facility’s “internal reaction force (IRF)” that shows them beating up a detainee who calls a female guard a “bitch.” The IRF team is shown carrying out a beaten and bleeding detainee. I can say that at NO time did the extraction of a detainee EVER involve beating, kicking, or otherwise injuring the detainee.

….finally, the REAL reason why I’m upset: At various parts of the movie, the audience was actually CLAPPING AND CHEERING for the detainees when they were being non-compliant, and laughing when a government official defended the legality of the facility.

It bothers me when the alleged-and I can say that because nothing has been proven-actions of a few are allowed to taint the reputations and experiences of a collective. It severely bothers me when three foreigners committing suicide gets more press than 10 American servicemembers getting beat up for simply doing their jobs. And it PISSES ME OFF that I live in a world that will readily accept the fact that U.S. servicemembers and civilians are beating up detainees at will…but isn’t ready to hear the fact that on any given day, the guards and workers in Gitmo (and the detention facilities in Iraq) are subjected to harrassment from the detainees in ways that no person would ever comprehend or understand. The world is not ready to hear about Americans being spit on, called every name in the book, and having bodily fluids thrown on by individuals who claim to be so devoutly religious that they pray five times a day.

People always say that there are two sides to a story. In Gitmo, there’s three-their side, our side, and-somewhere in the middle-the truth. Their side has been told for years-we see it every day on TV and in the news-and honestly, I’m sick of it. It’s time that someone came forward and told OUR side-the side of the men and women who have-and continue to-bound themselves by honor to defend a principle that a majority of people in this country take for granted-freedom.




Written by Coby Dillard

January 9, 2008 at 8:04 pm

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2 Responses

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  1. D.

    The movie always bothered me because its documentary format is used to present fiction. It lends it a reality which many movie watchers would take more seriously than they should.

    That said, I’ve written about the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo, and specifically about the Army’s opposition to such methods. What I’ve gathered from reading News coverage is that it’s the CIA, not the army, who have been given implicit or explicit orders to abuse detainees.

    While obviously you have some valuable first hand experience there, do you think that it would have been impossible for people to engage in such behavior without your knowledge? Where do you think the coverage of the abuse is coming from?


    January 11, 2008 at 11:50 pm

  2. DNA,
    Completely possible, and I don’t profess to know what the rules of any other government agency’s rules are regarding interrogations.

    My issue is that what’s portrayed in the media and at protests (such as one I was at today) is that it’s the military doing it, which is wrong.


    January 12, 2008 at 12:06 am

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