By Stephanie Todd
In light of the recent controversy over abuse of Iraqi prisoners, one doctor at BYU”s Student Health Center said this abuse is anything but common.
Former 800th Military Police Brigade Surgeon Bill Dunaway said he didn”t see abuse problems in his camp.
Dr. Dunaway, who now works as a clinician at BYU, served as the head doctor of 600 prisoners at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq from April to July 2003.
“At our camp there just wasn”t bad things going on that I saw,” Dunaway said. “If there was it was just a minimum.”
Dunaway recalls multiple times the colonel of the camp lectured military personnel threatening that “if any American soldier touched an Iraqi prisoner that the American soldier was going to prison.”
Dunaway stumbled upon one incident at Camp Bucca where a few military police were roughhousing Iraqi prisoners. The military police got in “major, major, major trouble” Dunaway recalls and said he was impressed with how much trouble the men got in.
Dunaway recognized there is no excuse for bad treatment of prisoners, but he could see how the guards” circumstances could influence their behavior. The military police worked twelve-hour shifts, seven days per week, doing what Dunaway described as a thankless task. The physical circumstances were tough. Dunaway described the living conditions as worse than Desert Storm where he was twelve years earlier.
“I”m just sad for everybody,” he said. “Sad for the soldiers, the prisoners, the soldiers” families.”
Such empathy affected the way Dunaway treated others. He said he tried to treat them how he wanted to be treated or how he wanted his kids to be treated.
“That was the attitude I carried,” said Dunaway. “Every prisoner I saw I always gave them medicine. ”Try this to see if it makes you feel better.” I showed them that I care, that I”m listening.”