Remember the deck of cards which represented the 55 most wanted members of the former Iraqi government? A Wisconsin Army National Guard unit is handling some of those major players from the Saddam Hussein regime.
Dave Barth of Neillsville is a platoon Sergeant with Arcadia-based Charlie Company, 1-128th Infantry Battalion. “Right now we’re involved in detainee operations,” says Barth, who’s home on a two-week leave. “My platoon is tasked with movement of high volume detainees from a detention facility to the courthouse.”
Those detainees are names and faces which may be familiar: “Tariq Aziz, Ali Hassan – his nickname is “Chemical Ali,” says Barth, who says a couple of Saddam’s half-brothers, and members of his security detail are also among the detainees.
There is some fear that these old Ba’ath Party leaders may still have connections on the outside that may try to free them. “Every new group that comes in, they’re going to test you,” says Barth. “They’ll push you and tell you the way they think it should be, and right straight you tell them there’s a new sheriff in town, and this is the way it’s going to be.”
Barth has been very impressed with the professionalism of the Iraqi armed forces. He says there is a sense that things are getting back to normal in the country, and his troops are playing a big role in moving the country from a dictatorship, to a one ruled by laws.
WCCN’s Paul Knoff (1:12) AUDIO: WCCN’s Paul Knoff reports (1:12 MP3)