Interview with Bill Tierney

Jane Chastain was the nation's first female television sportscaster, on both the local and the national levels, and spent seventeen years covering sports. She is now a political commentator for Crawford Broadcasting, a chain of radio stations throughout America, a regular panelist on the cable television show CNN & Company, and a regular Host of the Judicial Watch Report. Ms. Chastain is also the author of I'd Speak Out on the Issues If I Only Knew What to Say.

Jane Chastain: Captain James Yee, the Muslim U.S. Army Chaplain arrested in the wide-ranging Guantanamo Bay espionage probe, will likely be charged next with dereliction of duty and mishandling classified information. What happened to the charge of espionage? What about the man responsible for screening Muslim military chaplains? We are going to talk not only about those chaplains, but also about what is happening with the translators down at Guantanamo Bay. We have with us a man who was a translator himself. Bill Tierney, in fact, was on the lead United Nations Special Commission inspection team and spent some time at Guantanamo Bay. Bill, thanks so much for being with us today.

Bruce Tierney: Hi, Jane.

Chastain: Bill, there was a shocking story that was published on WorldNetDaily.com this week. I do not know if you saw it, but with the shortage of Arabic translators that we keep hearing about, apparently the military turned down nearly 100 Arabic-speaking Jews following 9-11 who could have been employed as translators down at Guantanamo Bay. Are we carrying political correctness too far in our military?

Tierney: It is a bullet with which we are shooting ourselves. That is how bad it is and it has got to stop. It is almost as if there is a spell over a whole swath of the senior leadership in the military, and they just go into a robotic mode when it comes to the issue of actually calling a spade a spade -- or a jihadist a jihadist -- because it might hurt their career. While I was in Saudi Arabia in 2000-2001, after Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount occurred, I was listening to Saudi radio all the time in order to improve my Arabic. The continual drumbeat was that "it's the duty of Muslims to fight against Israel and those who support Israel." We hire Muslim-Arab translators. They go to the mosques and they hear this and they come in and work with extremely sensitive material. But no one wants to say, "Hey, there is a problem here!" Because, my goodness, it might be harmful for your career.

Chastain: Bill, apparently the military is not only looking for Arab translators, but it also appears that they are insisting that those translators be Muslim. What is wrong with this picture?

Tierney: Well, I do not know whether they are insisting they be Muslims, but I do know that there is such hypersensitivity because we refuse to call this a war against jihad. We call it a war against terrorism because we do not want anyone to be offended. Our enemies use this to their advantage. They act offended at anything that goes against their way of operating. And we are being suckered by it. For example, there was an Israeli who spoke Arabic at Guantanamo Bay when I was there. I spoke with him. His Arabic was very solid. He was an asset and he was involved with the processing detainees as they came in. A Muslim there complained about him, saying he was being too rough. He was removed immediately.

Chastain: Did you see any evidence he was being too rough?

Tierney: No, I was not there. But as an interpreter, you are not physically involved. That is not your job. It is your tone of voice. It is how you say, "Sit down!" So what? I mean, come on. These guys are trying to kill us; they are enemies in a war. And we are worried about the tone of voice? The Marines were actually controlling them -- who were physically controlling them. Now, to follow up, if he is removed, someone else has to come in and take that place. The people who were behind the dismissal normally have someone they want. I saw this kind of thing happening in Saudi Arabia.

Chastain: Okay Bill, let me just paint the picture here of what we are dealing with. You have got a military person who does not speak Arabic. He is completely dependent on his translator to make sure that his words are communicated, and nothing more.

Tierney: Right.

Chastain: But if he does not speak any Arabic, how can he be sure what is going on between Muslim and Muslim?

Tierney: There is a real problem when a Muslim interpreter goes in with a detainee who is also Muslim. We, as a nation, and as a military, continue to operate under the delusion that the jihadists are just some fringe element that hijacked Islam. The reality is that what we would call a good Muslim -- in other words, someone who is moderate and takes a moral code - may be a bad Muslim. When this person sits with a detainee, the detainee will say, "I am doing what God has ordered and I put my life on the line. Not only are you helping the "infidels," you are taking a check from them. How can you possibly do that?"

Chastain: So you are saying that the detainee, in some cases, will begin working on his Muslim translator.

Tierney: Yes. I know this has happened.

Chastain: And the military person in charge of the interrogation may be none the wiser.

Tierney: Exactly.

Chastain: Well, Bill Tierney, we appreciate the fact that you are here with us. We think it is very important that, yes, everybody working with the detainees be sensitive. But the fact that we have allowed political correctness to rule the day could prove to be dangerous to the United States of America.