A Study in Restraint

On a hot day in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, US soldiers treated their captured enemies with calm professionalism, despite serious provocations. So writes Air Force Magazine Executive Editor John A. Tirpak in his firsthand account of how a group of soldiers handled several detainees being transported aboard a C-130 from Jalalabad forward operating base in eastern Afghanistan to Bagram Airfield during his recent Afghanistan trip. During the process of loading the detainees on the aircraft, one of the detainees, despite being blindfolded and handcuffed, attempted to take a weapon away from one of the soldiers. “Under the circumstances, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see that detainee thrown to the floor and held down with a knee or boot, at gunpoint,” writes Tirpak. But that’s not what happened. “At all times, the soldiers treated the detainees with firmness but civility,” he states. From time to time, we’ve seen the sad evidence that soldiers in this war, perhaps frustrated by its length and the losses they have suffered among their comrades, have resorted to treating the enemy in humiliating ways. “All I saw were soldiers treating their enemy professionally, despite being given incentive to do otherwise,” writes Tirpak. To read his full account, click here.