Deciding to "follow logic" rather than standard protocol, the Pentagon formally has listed seven downed airmen as the first U.S. prisoners of war being held by Iraq.
Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams said Monday that Iraqi officials still have not produced for U.S. authorities the formal notification that it holds POWs required by the Geneva Convention. But military officials nonetheless reclassified seven U.S. pilots who have appeared on Iraqi television from "missing" status to POW status.Williams said the United States would continue to press Iraq to send "capture cards" for each serviceman caught by enemy forces. The cards are required under international law protecting the rights of prisoners established after World War II.
The classification reduces from 14 to seven the number of U.S. servicemen who were designated as missing in action. The change to POW status does not affect the salaries and benefits received by the airmen or their families, Williams said.
Allied forces have captured more than 105 Iraqi POWs, who have been inspected by the International Red Cross.