Bloggers' Roundtable With Gen. Douglas M. Stone
Tuesday, September 18, 2007; 9:28 PM
Editor's Note: This is a rush transcript.
Q: Charlie Quidnunc here from Whizbang --
Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone ( Commander, U.S. detention facilities in Iraq ): Hello. Major General Doug Stone. Can I help you?
Charles "Jack" Holt (Chief, New Media Operations, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs): General Stone, Jack Holt here with the bloggers roundtable. Welcome to the bloggers roundtable again, sir. Thanks so much for joining us.
Stone: Jack, it's good to be with you again.
Holt: Thank you, sir. Do you have an opening statement for us today?
Stone: Well, you know, I can -- how long do you usually reserve opening statements for?
Holt: Just as long as you think it's necessary.
Stone: (Laughs.) Well, you know, given that I can't exactly remember we were last time, let me give you kind of a quick thumbnail. We just crossed 25,000 in detention today. The statistic has changed a little bit. We've dropped two points. We're now down to 83 percent Sunni and the balance being in Shi'a; that's I think because of the major push here in the Shi'a parts of Baghdad by the corps, where we weren't doing that before.
We are now almost full-bore into all of our new programs -- the transition in barracks, where we do some initial -- not "some" but a lot of initial assessments to understand who we've got and what their orientation towards religion, their skill, their education, their morale and motivation of what got them here. We are assigning them to certain theater internment facilities based on, you know, what our assessment is of being able to take them from, if they are on the extremist end or just under the unemployment end, to kind of get them modeled back and bend them back to our will. We have our education courses going; probably just under or just at 7,000 now are in basic ed from one to five.
Our religious enlightenment courses are really up and running now. Vo tech has just started, and our work programs are going very well.
Our follow-on assessments are exciting. We're finding that we can bring some of the edge off of the folks, put them back through our assessments and determine that we've been able to, you know, bring them back to a point where we can at least evaluate them. Now, I'm not talking about anybody that comes in, in the last month or two, but we're talking about guys that have been here for a couple of years now.