Academic journal article Military Review

At What Cost, Intelligence? A Case Study of the Consequences of Ethical (and Unethical) Leadership

Academic journal article Military Review

At What Cost, Intelligence? A Case Study of the Consequences of Ethical (and Unethical) Leadership

Article excerpt

We must remember who we are. Our example is what will cause us to prevail in this environment, not our weapons.

- Major General Martin Dempsey, commander, 1st Armored Division, 30 October 2003, email to his brigade commanders1

Tough up, man. This is how the Army does things.

- unidentified Interrogator, Forward Operating Base Tiger, In response to a military policeman's concern about enhanced interrogation techniques2

THE SUMMER OF 2003 was a hot, frustrating time for coalition forces in Iraq. In Baghdad, Soldiers experienced temperatures over 1000F for 91 consecutive days.3 Far worse, contrary to the expectations of most Soldiers and their military and political leaders, the Iraqi insurgency was not only active but growing rapidly in size and lethality across the country. In July, coalition forces experienced twice the number of attacks they had experienced in June.4 And in August, the country witnessed the rise of "vehicle-borne explosive device" attacks, including a suicide car bombing on 1 1 August 2003 in Baghdad that killed 1 1 people and closed the Jordanian Embassy. U.S. Soldiers' hopes for returning home by Christmas had evaporated in Iraq's summer heat.

It was in this environment that a military intelligence (MI) captain working in the CJ2X (intelligence) section of Combined Joint Task Force-7 (CJTF-7) sent a 14 August 2003 email to the human intelligence (HUMINT) section leaders of CJTF-Vs major subordinate commands.5 In the opening salvo of what would become a battle for the soul of CJTF-7 's HUMfNT community, the captain requested a "wish list" from subordinates of interrogation techniques they "felt would be effective."6 He stated, "The gloves are coming off . . . regarding these detainees." He said that "the Deputy CJ2 has made it clear that we want these individuals broken."7 He concluded, "Casualties are mounting, and we need to start gathering info to help protect our fellow Soldiers from any further attacks."8

This email evoked strongly worded, antithetical responses from the two ideological "camps" of CJTF-7 's HUMINT sections. One camp (to which the CJ2X captain clearly belonged) included Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lewis Welshofer, Jr., of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, and an unidentified HUMINT leader of the 4th Infantry Division.9 The other camp was represented by Major Nathan Hoepner, the operations officer of the 501st MI Battalion Task Force, 1st Armored Division. The units of all three of these officers operated in the "Sunni Triangle," the most dangerous part of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) I.

In his reply to the CJ2X captain's email, Welshofer wrote that "a baseline interrogation technique" should include "open handed facial slaps from a distance of no more than about two feet and back handed blows to the midsection from a distance of about 18 inches."10 He also added: "Close confinement quarters, sleep deprivation, white noise, and a litnany [sic] of harsher fear-up approaches . . . fear of dogs and snakes appear to work nicely. I firmly agree that the gloves need to come off"" The unidentified 4th Infantry Division HUMINT leader submitted a "wish list" that included some of the same techniques, but added "stimulus deprivation," "pressure point manipulation," "close-fist strikes," "muscle fatigue inducement," and "low voltage electrocution."12

In his returning salvo from the other camp, Major Hoepner replied:

As for "the gloves need to come off ... we need to take a deep breath and remember who we are . . . Those gloves are . . . based on clearly established standards of international law to which we are signatories and in part the originators . . . something we cannot just put aside when we find it inconvenient . . . We have taken casualties in every war we have ever fought - that is part of the very nature of war. We also inflict casualties, generally many more than we take. That in no way justifies letting go of our standards. …

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