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SKYBIRD:
Dale Brown’s Ops Report
Copyright © 2004, TDPI

IF IT WAS MY BROTHER, WOULD I CALL IT ABUSE?

Listen to most of the evening news broadcasts, and you'd think reporters have uncovered the American version of North Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prisoner of war camp in the middle of the Coalition occupation of Iraq.

Even more amazing, some of these reporters go so far as to compare the treatment of prisoners of Abu Gharib by the Americans to what Saddam Hussein and his henchmen did while the Ba'athists were in power.

Stop the nonsense already!

AirBattleForce.com Skybird: Dale Brown’s Cameo Shot The photographs of Iraqi prisoners shown around the world are nothing more than staged photos taken in order to compel new prisoners to cooperate. The posing, drawing pictures on naked skin, and stacking prisoners atop one another-described by some reporters as simulated homosexual sex acts-do not constitute "abuse."

The ultimate test is for me to imagine my brother, who is in Iraq serving in the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment, as one of the prisoners in those photos. Would I call it "abuse" then?

"Abuse" to me is what American prisoners of war endured for years at the hands of the North Vietnamese: starvation, physical torture, long periods of total isolation, public displays where they were forced to admit war crimes, mock trials where sentences of death were announced in order to elicit confessions, and no medical attention allowing wounds-many suffered while in captivity, at the hands of their jailers--to fester.

In my military career, I trained at two different prisoner of war training facilities: one in the U.S., designed to simulate a North Vietnamese POW camp; and one in Germany, designed to simulate an East German/Soviet interrogation center. The Geneva Conventions were nowhere to be found in these places. True, the purpose of these training facilities was to teach us how to resist interrogation and survive in a POW camp environment-but the techniques they used were the exact ones used by our enemies. It was far beyond "humiliation" and "degrading treatment"-it was torture, plain and simple.

Were the Iraqi prisoners being subjected to what the Geneva Conventions calls "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment (Convention III, Part One, Article 3)?" Very definitely so. I think the photos were shot that way to convey exactly that message: cooperate with us or suffer the same humiliation.

Does this constitute "abuse" or the term most closely linked with it in the same sentence in news reports, "torture?" Absolutely not. I would certainly be outraged, angry, and demand an immediate end to prisoners performing humiliating acts, but I would not call it "abuse" or "torture," even if it was my brother.

My brother is a soldier. He endures a lot in order to serve his country. At the end of the day, all I ask is that he does his duty with skill and honor. If he has to put up with humiliation and degrading treatment in order to do his duty with honor, so be it. Survival is the most important mission for any prisoner of war; despite the Geneva Conventions and other protocols and treaties, retaining your dignity and humanity in war is usually a distant dream.

I was shocked and surprised when I saw these photos on TV as well, but that was from the viewpoint of a civilian ten thousand miles away in the comfort of his own home. After thinking about the conditions and situation most likely being experienced by our soldiers in Iraq, I fully understood why they staged those photos.

It's war, folks. It's messy, bloody, degrading, shocking, and horrifying. But don't think about it as an American enjoying the privileges of a free society-think of it as men and women in a war zone, doing whatever it takes to collect information that may very well stop the next insurgent attack, uncover a weapons cache, intercept a suicide car bomber, and save dozens of lives. The enemy our troops is facing doesn't care about the Geneva Conventions or humane treatment of prisoners.

I hope these photos and the hype surrounding them in the media doesn't obscure our ultimate objective: to eventually create a peaceful Iraq, one that won't threaten its neighbors, incite terrorism in other nations, or abuse its own people.

Unfortunately, many Americans somehow believe that these pictures tell the real story of why we're in Iraq: so we can show the world how strong and fearsome we are, that we care nothing for the rule of law. That belief is totally wrong. But if our shock and horror is swirled and distorted into international condemnation, all we have achieved and are trying to achieve will likely be lost.

Click here for more on Plan Of Attack!

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Plan Of Attack (MAY 2004)

The unthinkable is about to happen in this high-flying novel of adventure and suspense.

In Air Battle Force, Dale Brown introduced U.S. Air Force aerial warfare expert Major General Patrick McLanahan and his air combat unit of the future. Armed with a force of these robotic planes, the general and a handful of commandos were secretly deployed to the oil-rich nation of Turkmenistan to stop a Taliban invasion. And though the Americans won the battle, the war is far from over....

To punish McLanahan and his fleet of robot warplanes for their audacity, Russian president General Anatoliy Gryzlov decides to do the unthinkable: a sneak attack on America-unlike anything ever believed possible-that devastates her strategic air forces.

McLanahan has collected information that not only foretold the Russians' daring plan, but also gave him the data he needs to plan a counterstrike that could stop the Russian war machine dead in its tracks. But Patrick is no longer in charge of Air Battle Force, and the Russian sneak attack has left the embattled U.S. president with few options: retaliate with every weapon in his arsenal, even if it triggers a global thermonuclear war, or to a cease fire on Russia's terms...

...or listen to a disgraced and discredited young bomber commander's long-shot plan of attack.

"The novels of Dale Brown brim with violent action, detailed descriptions of sophisticated weaponry and political intrigue... His ability to bring technical weaponry to life is amazing."
--San Francisco Chronicle

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