Saturday, November 29, 2008

Story Behind an Odd Picture

This odd picture (which I saw at Mrs Who's place) reminded me of an even odder story.

Matt, a young man who used to be in a Sunday school class I taught, was a member of the 3rd Infantry Division during the initial invasion of Iraq (spring of 2003). After he returned, he told us a few stories about his adventures in the Middle East -- one story in particular gave some insight into the quirky sense of humor our troops are prone to.

It seems one of the interrogators had a Beanie Baby named "Hero" (a bear with an American flag on its chest) that came in handy when they were questioning prisoners. "Hero" was set in a sitting position on the interrogator's shoulder, held in place by his epaulet. Before the interrogator would ask a question, he'd whisper to the doll seated on his shoulder. Then, turning to the interpreter, he'd pose the question. The 'terp would then relay the question to the prisoner who would answer the 'terp. The 'terp would then relayed the answer back to the interrogator who'd then whispered it to "Hero". "Hero" (being no fool) then informed the interrogator that the prisoner was lying. So the the interrogator then informed the 'terp that "Hero" was becoming angry over Hajji's lying to him. The interrogation grew angrier as it became increasingly clear that the prisoner was lying (as evidenced by his refusal to maintain eye contact with "Hero"). Before very long, the prisoner would have his eyes fix on the beanie baby, swearing by all that's sacred that he was telling the complete truth.

I asked Matt if he thought "Hero" improved the quality of the answers they got from prisoners. He said, "Not sure, but it sure got them talking. We couldn't use much physical violence, but once they realized they were dealing with people who took their orders from beanie babies, they figured we were just liable to do anything."


Hula Doula said...

BAHAHA. Odd picture for sure. Love the story.

Cheese said...

We kept getting stuffed animals to give the kids in Bayji. Unfortunately, all the kids in Bayji wanted us dead so we were left with boxes of them. They ended up in a Heart of Darkness-esque display, with heads on pike and nooses around necks, just as our replacements showed up.
"You guys want to ride along with us?"
"Naw....we're good."

Mrs. Who said...

American ingenuity...gotta love it!

Bou said...

That is GREAT.

Politics of a Patriot said...

LOVE the story!