In an ongoing series on Christian Science Monitor, as well as in an interview with ABC News, reporter and former hostage in Iraq Jill Carroll speaks out about her experiences, and gives details about her captors, her actions and some valuable insight into the lives of jihadists.
Of course, this is probably all fluff as compared to the expert opinions of the 101'st Fighting Keyboardists, or the vastly knowledgeable talking meatsticks over in cableland. But nonetheless, this "crazy lib'rul blogger" thinks it may be important enough to give the rest of us some additional information straight from the mouth of someone who was (1) actually in Iraq, (2) was actually kidnapped by jihadists and (3) found a way to get released by her captors.
I caught a few minutes of the interview this morning on Good Morning America, and what she had to say was very interesting. The ABC News link has some good detail (some of which I'll reproduce below), while the CS Monitor link has a 10 part series (only parts 1 and 2 are currently available) with what I presume to be enough detail for a book.
In any event, Carroll talks about her captors - indicating that she was able to stay alive by telling them that she would, as a reporter, tell their story if she is freed. She talks about how they were "inspired" by Zarqawi. She talks about the family and children who were in the houses with her (she says she was moved to around 7 different homes during her captivity), how she passed the time and the circumstances surrounding her ultimate release after over 80 days in captivity.
"I was bending down and kind of being shoved over, I was looking out at the crack of the door. ... I saw Allan was there, and I saw them kill Allan," she said. "Then, they got in the car, and we drove off. They were screaming, 'Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!' They were overjoyed, like they had won the lottery."
She mentioned how the captors forced her to eat and seemed eager to impress her. She also indicated that they were "obsessed" with the cartoon Tom & Jerry and what they watched on TV to pass the time:
Carroll said everything she did in captivity was a survival strategy, even what she chose to watch on TV.
"I was like, 'News is out. Politics is out. Anything with Iraq was out, 'cause I didn't know what was going to make him mad."
"Anything that is inappropriate, for a pious, pious person, no scantily clad women. I don't want any of that stuff. I don't want to see any violence. I didn't want to give him any ideas," she said.
Finally, she came across an English-language channel from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
"I came across 'Oprah'. ... I thought, 'OK, this is good. She won't have anything weird on. She won't have anything bizarre. No naked women running around, or, whatever," Carroll said. "So we watched 'Oprah'."
Oprah....who would've thunk it? Maybe she would make a good president (well, certainly better than the current one we are saddled with)....
On a sad but very telling note, she talks about how a 5 year old boy in one of the houses wanted to grow up to be a holy warrior and how one of the men was bragging about how his wife wanted to become a suicide bomber.:
Throughout the experience, Carroll also noticed a few small children in the houses, including a 5-year-old, whose parents helped capture and guard Carroll.
"He was really cute," she said, talking about the 5-year-old. And he wants to be a holy warrior," she said. "It was this entire family unit. ... If you're going to combat insurgency, you have to kill the entire family or something. Or imprison the entire family. That 5-year-old boy is going to grow up and pick up a gun one day and start shooting. Obviously, he's being trained for that."
One night in the kitchen, one of the men explained proudly that his wife wanted to be a suicide bomber; she blushed from his praises.
"And she had three little kids sitting there playing ... and they're making dinner and she's four months pregnant. I was stunned, I didn't know what to say," Carroll said.
Carroll is right - what do you say when you have a pregnant wife who is aspiring to be a suicide bomber or if a 5 year old boy is being trained to become a "holy warrior"? Is this the whole "hearts and minds" thing that Bush and Cheney did such a good job of winning over? And how many more little boys or pregnant wives are out there thinking and doing the exact same thing?
To pass the time, she would memorize parts of the Koran which her captors were reciting to her - figuring that by not desecrating the very thing that her captors hold dear she may ultimately save her life.
Carroll's captors began teaching her the Koran, which she agreed to because she saw it as a way to save her life.
"This is the center of their universe. Nothing is more sacred or more important to them. How are you going to say no to something that is that important to them?" she said.
So Carroll would memorize passages from the Koran as they read to her for hours at a time.
That still left plenty of time for her to think. At first, Carroll thought about making an escape but options were limited. She found a way out of one of the houses she was in but knew it was a last resort because she would be a target once she left.
She then came up with ways to keep her mind busy while she sat around with nothing to do for most of the day.
"I would sing a lot of songs to myself. I had actually memorized a couple of soliloquies by Shakespeare for this very reason -- I always thought someday I would be kidnapped. I knew the worst part would be sitting around trying to figure out how to stay sane," she said.
Lastly, she discusses the events leading up to her release, as well as her reaction to the total jackasses who ridiculed her upon her release by indicating that she wasn't "happy enough". Of course, I'd like to see what kind of whiny blubbering puddle of soiled pants that the tough talking morons over in freeperville or how well Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin or Sean Hannity would do if they were captured for even one day.
Carroll discusses how, at first, one of her captors indicated that they were going to kill her and when she responded with a laugh and a comment to the effect of "I've watched you for months - you wouldn't want to kill me - you are too nice of a person", she was told "yes, you are right - we are not going to kill you, we will be releasing you".
When the day came when her captors told her she would be freed, she didn't believe it.
"I was like, 'oh yeah, right, oh sure.' I heard that before," Carroll said. "I remember consciously saying to myself, 'Jill, don't get your hopes up. Just forget about it.'"
Several days later, on March 30, she was given new clothes and put in a car. She still thought they were going to kill her until one of the insurgents began to offer her money.
She said he began doling out $100 bills, including one for her mother and father, to say they were "sorry" for her trouble. She recalled thinking it was "weird" that each bill was about paying their debt to her for her time.
She was then pushed out of the car and left to wander the streets of Baghdad.
"I was in these high heels, and the scarves were flapping in my face, and I couldn't see," she said. "Everyone thinks that it's like crossing a finish line or something like, 'woohoo, I'm done.' But it isn't that way, at all. ... You're dazed."
I highly recommend checking out the links. There are 3 or 4 ABC News articles which are not too long of a read, and if you can find the time, I would suggest checking out the CS Monitor series.
At least we will know some of what is going on inside the minds of those who we are up against in Iraq from someone who was actually there and an intimate part of it for nearly three months.
Certainly we will learn more from this than we will from any of the garbage that is being force-fed to us on a daily basis by those whose arrogance and stupidity is only exceeded by their general ignorance, true cowardice and insecurity.