Missing G.I. Held Hostage

Newsday: Missing GI is held as a hostage

Al-Jazeera television Friday released a grim videotape that appeared to show a missing American soldier held hostage by gun-toting insurgents, marking the first capture of a U.S. serviceman by hostile forces in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad last year.

The tape represented the latest agonizing chapter in a month that has been the most difficult of the U.S. occupation. About 40 foreigners have gone missing or been taken captive and 88 soldiers have died as U.S. troops battled Sunni and Shia insurgencies in Fallujah, Baghdad and the south.

The uniformed soldier, in an audible portion of the video, identified himself as Keith Maupin. Army Pfc. Keith Maupin of Batavia, Ohio, 20, is one of two soldiers listed as “whereabouts unknown” since an ambush on their fuel convoy near Baghdad on April 9.

“My name is Keith Matthew Maupin,” said the man in the video. “I am a soldier from the 1st Division. I am married with a 10-month-old child. I came to liberate Iraq, but I did not come willingly because I wanted to stay with my child.”

The man, dressed in Army fatigues and a floppy hat, is shown squatting on the floor, surrounded by a half-dozen masked and hooded men holding automatic rifles. He appears weary, unshaven and frightened, but displays no obvious injuries. The men make no threatening gestures toward him in the video aired Friday.

“We are keeping him to be exchanged for some of the prisoners captured by the occupation forces,” one of the masked men said on the tape, the Associated Press reported. “Some of our groups managed to capture one of the American soldiers, and he is one of many others. He is being treated according to the treatment of prisoners in the Islamic religion and he is in good health.”

Apparently, “treated according to the treatment of prisoners in the Islamic religion” is synonymous with “tortured” and/or “coerced into providing propaganda for the enemy.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. jen says:

    We’re still at war there right? Why isn’t he being called a POW? Is it a semantics thing?

  2. James Joyner says:

    We’re fighting terrorists, not a nation-state, so the normal rules aren’t being applied by the other side. Guerilla bands don’t observe the rules of war–not that the Iraqi army was doing so, either.

  3. jen says:

    My question was sort of rhetorical. I appreciate that we’re not fighting a nation-state (anymore), but we’re still calling it a war, no? We labelled Hussein a POW. I think our soldiers being held should be called POWs. Civilians are hostages.