Iraq: MG Douglas Stone Posted by: McQ
on Monday, August 06, 2007
Probably one of the more fascinating interviews yet on the Blogger's Roundtable, we had MG Douglas Stone this morning who is the Deputy Commanding General, Detainee Operations at MNF-I.
He's the guy involved with all of those who are arrested or captured for insurgent and terrorist activities. Stone's organization is engaged in doing a number of things with the detainees, to include processing them for release if they meet certain criteria. They also prosecute cases in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) through 4 panels of judges (mixed Sunni and Shia) and presently have about a 68% conviction rate. They provide only 30-40% of the CCCI's work load, so it is dealing with Iraqi only cases the majority of the time. MG Stone says their assessment is the CCCI works impartially and well. He said being a judge on that court is dangerous -26 have been killed. But he says those who are there seem to be dedicated jurists interested in dispensing justice according to the law.
But while all of that while interesting much more fascinating are some other aspects of his work. He said the insurgents/terrorist break down into four groups in Iraq.
The first and by far the largest are those who were simply unemployed and this provided work. The second largest group are those who became insurgents based in fear of threats made against them or their families. The third largest group is the nationalist group and finally, the fourth are the jihadists.
The program they have actually involves multi-layered assessments including moderate Islamic imams, psychologists and security professionals. The detainee is interviewed and an individual assessment is made as to his potential threat. Those who've served their time, or are caught on a more minor infraction may be released through the pledge and guarantor program where they actually swear out a pledge not to again engage in insurgent activities and a member of their family signs a guarantee in the form of a promissory note which guarantees their behavior. It works very well in an "honor/shame" society. If the detainee is picked up again, all his past conduct plus the new charge is then prosecuted.
They've also developed rehabilitation programs with classes, a VoTech, etc.
Presently, the Iraqi detainee population is about 80% Sunni and 20% Shia. The Sunni, until recently, have been the toughest to "turn". However, as we see in many of the Sunni provinces now, that's even beginning to change in the prison population and AQI is being rejected. The Shia, for the most part, are not a significant problem.
They are in the middle of what MG Stone called a "Motivation and Morale Study" which is the 1st in-depth study of an enemy while engaged with them since Vietnam. Its purpose is to determine the motivation of the insurgents and find a way to turn them. These lessons are pushed up the chain of command to be consolidated and then pushed back down the line allowing the CF to adapt and change tactics as necessary.
MG Stone said the first two groups I mentioned, the unemployed and the fearful, are not at all difficult to turn. The nationalists and jihadists are the worst.
They metric they use to ensure they are on the right track in rehabilitation before release is the recidivism rate. At this point they are 90% successful. He says 10% may not sound like much but in this case, they're not satisfied with just a 90% rate.
But it is the bottom two groups which concern Stone. Most likely the nationalist group will be less likely to continue its insurgency once the CF leaves Iraq. But the last group, the jihadis will not. And MG Stone says we must learn and adapt to their motivation and tactics, and until we do, we mustn't leave.
Why? Well when asked if he had one final thought he wanted to leave us with he said the same thing he had told all the other commanders in Iraq, speaking specifically about the jihadists, "They are going to search us out when we leave here and they are still arrogant enought to think, at this point, that they can win".
A point to ponder.
As these people are arrested and processed an attempt to rehabilitate is made (except for the latter group which is normally composed of foreign fighters).