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“They view it as: I put American soldiers in prison over Iraqis.”

Posted by gnn1 on Monday, 6 August 2007

Joe Darby thought he was looking at some US soldiers horsing around. Then he looked at another photo; and another. People he knew, some for years, were captured, in photos, torturing Iraqi prisoners at the now-infamous prison.

It took him three weeks to tell anyone in authority what he saw. He was afraid of repercussions from his fellow soldiers; literally afraid for his safety and life.

“At night when I would sleep, they were less than 100 yards from me, and I didn’t even have a door on the room I slept in.

“I had a raincoat hanging up for a door. Like I said to my room mate, they could reach their hand in the door – because I slept right by the door – and cut my throat without making a noise, or anybody knowing what was going on, and I was scared of that.”

When he turned in the photos, which had been given to him on a CD by none other than Charles Graner, one of the participating soldiers, he was promised anonymity.

And then Donald Rumsfeld thanked him. Publicly. By name.

So much for anonymity.

The accusd soldiers had already been removed from the base. And the funny part was, it wasn’t his fellow soldiers that gave him a hard time. They thanked him. They shook his hand.

It was we Americans, here at home. His neighbours, people in the town where he lived with his wife–where she was still living–called him a traitor. Someone ‘decorated’ his home with graffiti forcing his wife to flee to her sister’s.

Says Darby:

“You have some people who don’t view it as right and wrong. They view it as: I put American soldiers in prison over Iraqis.” [emphasis mine]

To protect his safety, he was quickly taken from Iraq and, for six months, ‘lived under armed protection’.

He is still afraid of repercussions from the convicted soldiers.

[Graner] ‘had a stone-cold stare of hatred the entire time – he wouldn’t take his eyes off me the whole time he sat there. I think this is a grudge he will hold till the day he gets out of prison.’ (regarding his testifying during Charles Graner’s trial).

He hasn’t been able to return to his former home. He and his family have had to move to a new town. Despite that

“I’ve never regretted for one second what I did when I was in Iraq, to turn those pictures in,” he says.


One Response to ““They view it as: I put American soldiers in prison over Iraqis.””

  1. Omaima Gassim said

    Dear Joe,
    I am so proud of you, as an American, good one, not all of Americans are like the ones in Iraq, or elseware where similar stories are running on.

    I wish you all the best, and so sorry for what you have to face as the price of having a brave and kind heart, may God bless you, and your family, I do pray for you, and you are not at alone

    Sudanese, Lives in Cairo, and works for Iraqi Refugees

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