Wednesday, January 10, 2024

My Memory of the War in Iraq 20 years later: January 2024

 “From: Whitehead, Michael (USA)

Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 5:36 PM

Subject: Alan Prizzey, CBS News, reporting

I saw a familiar face in a crowd of news people at the Woman's Rights Center in Diwaniyah today. He identified himself as Alan Prizzey, CBS news. We ended up escorting them to Hillah and dropping them off with our press person at the Hillah Woman's Rights Center. I guess if I get to hang out with important news personalities that must make me important, too. Or does it?

Convoy briefing prior to departure from the Coalition Provisional Authority -
South Central compound in Al Hillah.

Earlier this week I stopped by the Abu Ghraib prison, which is on the western outskirts of Baghdad. A miserable US MP Company was condemned to supervise the Iraqi guards and prisoners in this former model of Saddam's fascist society. Inside the prison are prisoners who have violated Iraqi law. Outside is a barbed wire encircled Stalag 17 only with tents. At the corners are guard shacks with machine guns. I didn't see any German shepherds. The guards on the camp were MP's, and inside were "security detainees", or persons who have committed crimes against the Coalition forces. If you rob a fellow Iraqi and get caught, you go inside the prison. If you take a shot at a “GI and survive to get caught, you go in the barbed wire camp.

At a meeting ceremony in Al Hillah. I am surrounded by students of the local university.

I haven't been in too many prisons, and I imagine that old prisons, like this one, look even grimmer than usual. An MP assigned there told me that when they first arrived the inmate areas of the prison were covered in several feet of human excrement, and the prison under Saddam had been packed to overcapacity. I'm sure it was a charming place to live and work.

 Two Ukrainian sailors are imprisoned there for smuggling, and they were the purpose of my visit. A Ukrainian Army Officer works here at CPA with me, and he asked to be taken by the prison during our visit to Baghdad so he could check on his countrymen.

 Jan 21 marked the 10 month anniversary of my arrival in the Middle East. I am ready to come home.”

Excerpt From

Messages from Babylon

Michael Whitehead

This material may be protected by copyright.