Reuters – 8/15/08
Reuters reporter Peter Dieter recently held an interview with Gen. Hubert R. Creager (Ret.), former chief military tribunal judge at Guantanamo, Cuba, holding facility for many Taliban and other enemy combatants of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dieter found the general at his home in Gaithersburg, MD. Excerpts of that interview:
PHD: “Uh, General. You don’t need your uniform. There’s no camera crew. This is for newspapers.”
HRC: “I still like wearing it, if that’s okay with you, Mr. Dieter. I wear it every chance I get. I’m proud of my uniform, and I’m proud of my country.”
PHD: “SURE. Sure thing, Sir.”
HRC: “Is it on? Is it running? I don’t want to get caught like Jesse Jackson, saying some stupid shit while the tape was rolling that later ends up in print, ha ha. How’s your coffee? Ok?”
PHD: “Yes, it’s fine…ready?…uh, General, could you get your dog, please?”
HRC: “ROY! STOP! GIT YER ASS ON OVER THERE…ya good for nothin’…LLLAY DOWN!
“He used to do that to everybody who came over here, then we had him fixed after he went after the wife of the Chairman of the JCS, but sometimes he still…Iiiiiiiii don’t know. We thought, ‘take him to the country, let him run,’ but hell, this IS the country.
“He’s a good dog, don’t get me wrong.”
PHD: “Yes,Sir. I’m sure he is. If we could move on to other things…I have an interest in the trial of Thunderclap, you may remember, the Sioux Indian comedian who was sent to Gitmo after an incident aboard a United Airlines flight in 2003.”
HRC: “Mr. Dieter, we don’t say, ‘Gitmo’…that’s something you journalists came up with. For the record, it’s ‘Camp Delta’. And yes, I remember Mr. Thun…”
PHD: “But wasn’t it Camp X-Ray before that? And wasn’t it the troopers stationed there who named it ‘Gitmo’?”
HRC: “Don’t interrupt me, Dieter. Yes. It was……Mr. Thundercloud was delivered to us in May of 2003 in the custody of a U.S. air marshall, and was then in-processed just li…”
PHD: “Why did they change the name?”
HRC: “What? Goddammit, don’t interrupt me. You asked me a question. Let me answer it. Where was I? Turn that thing off.”
PHD: “They changed the name because it reminded people of skeletons, right? Were you in on the name-change?”
HRC: “Where did you hear that? That’s preposterous. We deny it. I thought you wanted to know about Mr. Thundercloud’s trial.”
PHD: “That’s ‘ThunderCLAP.”
HRC: “Yes, I know. That’s what I said…I remember his showing up for court in a Hawaiian print shirt and his breezy, cocky, I-don’t-give-a-shit civilian attitude. He tried to turn the whole proceedings into a kang…into a farce. Had all those Muslims in an uproar by the time he left.
“Generals Harlan (US Army, Ret.) Hatchet (Gen. USMC, Ret.), and I pressed for execution before Gonzales (fmr. US Atty. Gen.) left office, but Moorehead (Gen. USAF) and Davis (Col., US Army) blocked our motion.
“Don’t use those names. Don’t use ANY of those names. That’s just the way the vote went…for your info…off the record…just so you know the patriots from the pansies on the panel. They’ve got a whole new crew, now. We all got swept out with Gonzales.”
PRH: “You wanted him executed for telling jokes on an airplane?”
HRC: “Do you think that bringing down a U.S. airliner with 268 passengers on board is a laughing matter? You can’t fuck around in the air anymore, son. They say he once brought down a house…a walking time bomb.
“That flight was over NEVADA for Christssake. Don’t you realize the implications of that, Boy? Stella Burnheart was on that flight!”
PHD: “Excuse me, General, but do you think you could refer to me as ‘Mr. Dieter’. I’m a grown man. Who is Stella Burnheart?
HRC: “The only thing that saved your boy’s ass was his status as a Vietnam war hero…now there’s an oxymoron for you…”
PHD: “My Boy? He’s not my ‘boy’. I don’t even…”
HRC: “Don’t interrupt me, Dieter…and some left-wing ACLU who-de-do lawyers in Washington. We held him for as long as we could, but we had to let him go. Our hands were tied. We tried our best.”
PHD: “He’s NOT my ‘boy’. I don’t even like the guy. His humor is sick. It’s not even humor. I just wondered if you actually thought you could execute a U.S. citizen without due process of law…”
HRC: “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Why are you carrying those ‘Get Out Of Gitmo Free’ cards?”
You think that’s funny?”
PHD: “Mr. Thunderclap had them made up and asked me if I would give them to you for distribution to the inmates…look, there’s an attorney contact on the back…specializes in wrongful suits…and again here, in Arabic…if you could…y’know…someway…”
HRC: “You think that’s funny?”
PHD: “No. No. No. I’m just…he said you might still…
“They say you retired under a clou…that you and the others retired under pressure. Is that true?”
HRC: “NO! That’s a barn load of horse hockey. I retired to spend more time with my family, after giving 40 distinguished years in uniform to this great country…which you wouldn’t know anything about, because you’re a Nazi, aren’t you, Dieter?”
PHD: “Sir, I am a naturalized U.S. citizen. I work for a respectable news agency.”
HRC: “I’ll bet your daddy was SS. Dieter? SURE. Why is it you still talk with a thick German accent? I fought the Nazis in the Big One, Dubya Dubya Two. Battle of the Bulge.
“So cold out your balls…DON’T interrupt me, boy…that was a good war, when you could shoot a prisoner right on the spot and no questions asked. He dies, or you die. Simple. None of this hide-among-the-civilians ‘enemy combatant’ shit. A prisoner of war is a prisoner of war, regardless of what else you might want to call them.”
PHD: “Excuse me, General. I’m not a Nazi. And, isn’t that exactly the point the Supreme Court was trying to make? Prisoners have rights?”
HRC: “Whaddaya trying to say? We don’t need no goddamn supreme court in this terror business. A prisoner gives up his rights when he picks up a gun. You Nazis weren’t soft on the Jews and they weren’t even blowing anything up.”
PHD: “Sir, I’m not a Nazi. And, prisoners don’t have guns.”
HRC: “What’d your daddy do? We have expediencies to handle the enemies of our great country, fully in accordance with the, uh…with…our practices…our legal judicial parameters…to effectually achieve our maximum desired outcomes...in the larger interest of our national security. I did what they asked me to do.”
PHD: “That sounded scripted, General. Don’t they call that ‘extra-judicial’ practices? You can’t just hold people and torture them indefinitely.”
HRC: “Why not? Hell, boy, it’s all judicial. Every one of them dogs gets their day in court, juuuust like your boy Thunderbolt.”