WICHITA, Kan. – A Kansas soldier held captive in Iraq has been identified by family as Pfc. Patrick Miller of Park City, Kan.
The father of two was among five captured soldiers thrust in front of an Iraqi TV microphone and peppered with questions Sunday. The footage also showed at least four bodies.
The soldier's half-brother, Thomas Hershberger, 27, of Derby, said his mother spoke to Miller's wife Sunday. She had received confirmation from the military that Miller was being held by the Iraqis.
Hershberger said his brother had a 4-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter.
Hershberger said he hoped the media coverage would protect his brother from harm.
"The more of an asset he becomes," he said, "the less likely he is to be hurt."
The video footage aired on Iraqi TV showed Miller answering questions in a shaky voice, his eyes darting back and forth between the interviewer and another person who couldn't be seen on camera.
Asked why he came to Iraq, he replied, "I come to fix broke stuff."
Prodded again by the interviewer, he was asked if he came to shoot Iraqis.
"No, I come to shoot only if I am shot at," he said. "They (Iraqis) don't bother me, I don't bother them."
U.S. officials confirmed Sunday that 12 soldiers were missing after Iraqi forces ambushed an army supply convoy around An Nasiriyah, a major crossing point over the Euphrates northwest of Basra.
The scenes of interrogators questioning four men and a woman were broadcast by the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera with footage from state-controlled Iraqi television. Each was interviewed individually. They spoke into a microphone labeled "Iraqi Television."
A senior defense official said the Pentagon did not know precisely how many captives there might be and would not identify the unit. Some of the prisoners are from Fort Bliss, Texas, said Jean Offutt, a U.S. Army spokeswoman at the base.
Several families of the soldiers had gathered at the base Sunday evening, she said. "The mood, of course, is very tragic."
The 507th Maintenance, part of the 111th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, is stationed at Fort Bliss, and at least two of the interviewed prisoners said they were with the 507th.
Al-Jazeera quoted unidentified Iraqi officials as saying the Iraqis are using a defensive tactic of falling back, allowing their enemy to overextend itself and become vulnerable to attack behind the lines.
President Bush, returning to the White House from Camp David, said he did not have all the details of what he called a potential capture but added: "We expect them to be treated humanely, just like we'll treat any prisoners of theirs that we capture humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals."