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I ran across this article about a week ago.  It is titled:

My Life As An Insurgent, And Why I Quit

This anonymous Iraqi man states that he did not originally think of fighting the US troops inside his country.  He did not like seeing them on Iraqi streets, but then, he did not like Saddam either.  He wished that Iraqis had made the change of disposing Saddam, instead of the Americans.

But it all changed on April 28, 2003.  In his words:

I joined al-Qaeda on April 28, 2003, after several U.S. soldiers killed more than 13 Iraqi civilians from the rooftop of an elementary school in Hay al-Nazzal, south of Fallujah. The Iraqis were staging a demonstration and demanded that the Americans leave the school.  The Americans killed the civilians and then refused to let us remove the dead bodies. It was then that I felt the rush to fight.

.... I met several young men who were thinking of attacking the school. At 1 am, eight of us went to the school carrying RPG7s and AK-47s, which we found at deserted Iraqi army bases. We were surprised to find another group preparing an attack.

That other group was al-Qaeda.  They were foreigners and Arabs, for the most part, who came to Iraq to fight the Americans and the American occupation.  This Iraqi insurgent reports on various engagements with US troops, and that his brigade numbered about 120 fighters in Fallujah.  Very few are still alive.  He claims that he had more than 60 engagements with the Americans while he was with al-Qaeda.  

Later on, he breaks with al-Qaeda because he does not agree with killing civilians, either Iraqi or American.  He only wanted to fight US troops.  

But what I want to focus on here is the underlying reason why this man joined the insurgency in Iraq and ended up fighting with al-Qaeda:  it was the killing of non-violent demonstrators that day in April 2003.

On April 28, 2003, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne opened fire on civilian protestors outside of a local school.  The US troops had taken over the school as a base.  

From a report from Human Rights Watch:

By all accounts, a protest demonstration against the U.S. occupation in al-Falluja began around 6:30 p.m. on April 28th.  Approximately 150 people gathered in front of the Ba`th Party headquarters on the main street, where U.S. troops in al-Falluja were based.  The city hall is next door.  According to participants in the demonstration, the protest was peaceful and no one had guns.  They chanted slogans like "God is great! Muhammad is his prophet!"  They also chanted a slogan heard often at protests around Iraq: "No to Saddam!  No to the U.S.!"

The US forces claimed that the locals were shooting at them.  According to the report by Human Rights Watch, they interviewed 20 people who were part of the demonstration.  They all claimed that no one had guns.  They do say that people removed from the scene where probably firing into the air.  They did acknowledge that there was some rock throwing.  Here is a part of their report of the shooting:

Human Rights Watch separately interviewed the wounded brother Usama, who gave a corroborating account:

After the shooting started, I heard some shouting from my brother Muthanna's house.  His children and his wife were shouting, and he was also shouting loudly.  I decided to go out and see what was happening.  I entered his house and saw him in the garage.  He told me that he was shot inside his house in the foot, and that his foot was gone.

I pulled him out into the street to bring him to another house.  But he is very heavy, so I stopped to rest.  Walid came out to help me, and I saw Walid fall to the ground [after being shot].  I carried Walid and took him inside the house.  I could not carry Muthanna myself, so I ran to my house to get my taxi.  I opened the garage door and started bringing the car outside.  Two bullets grazed the back of my head as I was trying to reverse the car backwards.  After that I got out of the car and started to crawl. I was pulling myself along and turning over until I reached the middle of the street.  During this time, they shot more than thirty bullets at me.

There were 13 people killed and many more injured.  

The US troops have a different story about the events of that evening.  They say they were fired on from the crowd of protesters.  All of this happened after local officials had told the US forces they did not want them inside the city, and certainly not at their school, where they could look in the windows of the local homes.  No matter, the US military decided to stay anyway.

I recently wrote a post on "Our military has an honesty problem" because there has been a very serious case recently when the US military was caught changing their stories.

The US military often does change its story, when presented with some actual facts from human rights groups or journalists.  Tom Engelhardt did an article on some of the more well-known instances of US killing of civilians and how the report on the incidents evolved.  The "shock and awe" we saw on our TVs in 2003 resulted in only the killing of innocent civilians.

But it really does not matter what the US military has claimed.  What matters is how it is perceived by the people on the ground.  What matters is how it affects them and what they decide to do about it.  And some of them decide that they will take up arms and fight, like the man who decided to become an insurgent.

From a report by Reuters:

The shooting outraged local people who, like many other Iraqis, welcomed the removal of Saddam Hussein by U.S.-led forces but now want the American troops to leave. It is likely to fuel anti-American sentiment elsewhere in Iraq.

.....  "They are stealing our oil and they are slaughtering our people," said Shuker Abdullah Hamid, a cousin of one of the victims, 47-year-old Tuamer Abdel Hamid.  "Now, all preachers of Falluja mosques and all youths...are organizing martyr operations against the American occupiers," said a man cloaked in white, using the term often used to describe suicide attacks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the case of an attack in Afghanistan in February 2010, the father of the two men killed said that he wanted to be a suicide bomber against the Americans.  He was quite elderly.  The US Special Forces had come to his home at night, while there was a large gathering of relatives for a baby-naming celebration.  

The US forces killed three women (two of them 7 months pregnant) and two men.  They returned to the scene and removed the bullets and said the women were killed in honor killings.  They have since retracted that story, and admitted they killed five innocents (two of whom worked for the Afghan government that our troops are supposedly fighting to protect against the Taliban).

Interestingly, that night raid came just weeks after I wrote up a post on raids and attacks on Afghan civilians in 2009 and early 2010.

But the lesson is this:  if you kill unarmed civilians, their fellow citizens will take up arms against you, one way or another.  And if you can make these "mistakes" while actually on the ground looking at the people you are shooting, then just imagine how very wrong things can go when you are shooting from a drone up high in the sky.

And we are doing that a lot.

And there will be blow-back.  

And while President Obama was making a disgusting "joke" about predator drones last night at the White House correspondents dinner, a car bomb failed to go off in Times Square.  The Pakistani Taliban have claimed credit for the attempted bombing, and said it was in retaliation for the drone bombings in Pakistan.  I am grateful the bomb in Times Square did not go off.

This time.

There will be blow-back.

We will pay a price.

Originally posted to dancewater on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:19 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Quote from Chris Floyd: (11+ / 0-)

    "We don't know the half of it, the tenth of it; we wander in the fog, hearing the distant ghostly moans, but never knowing where they come from, or what they mean."

    Report from an Afghan man on the scene of the night raid in February 2010 that killed five innocents:

    War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

    by dancewater on Sun May 02, 2010 at 06:18:22 PM PDT

  •  Jeez, danncewater, yer so intense. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Shaviv

    You need to lighten up a little. Say, did you hear the one about the priest, the minister, the rabbi and the Predator Drone?

  •  Well, Obama WAS addressing the Jonas Bro's... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Shaviv

    ...on a serious note, while there will be and has already been blow-back, I think I'm going to hold off a bit on accepting the Pakistani Taliban's claim of responsibility.  Arab terrorist were absolutely the perpetrators of the murder of 168 of my federal coworkers, their customers, and other occupants in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building...until they weren't.  That's not to say that the failed Times Square bombing isn't blow-back nor that revenge can't come to our shores, but I'm more worried about what the callous failure to protect innocent lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan that you so ably cite will mean in those countries...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:25:13 PM PDT

    •  they put out a video (4+ / 0-)

      and it has been pulled from You Tube.  It has yet to be verified.

      Do you think that making jokes about predator drone strikes is okay?

      War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

      by dancewater on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:41:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  they are claiming credit for the bombing attempt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lao hong han

      see here

      Thank God they are incompetent.

      War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

      by dancewater on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:51:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dancewater, I'll reply to all here... (0+ / 0-)

      A)  the Pakistani Taliban can make any sort of claim they want to.  It is not unheard of for all sorts of groups having nothing whatsoever to do with a particular event claiming responsibility for it.  That doesn't mean they are responsible, and I will wait for the investigation to unfold rather than leap to the same sort of conclusion that right-wingers did in 1995 regarding the Murrah bombing.

      B)  I am the parent of teenage daughters, and I thought Obama's particular Predator reference to the Jonas Brothers was amusing.  Sorry if you don't have an appreciation for my sense of humor; you would no doubt be shocked...SHOCKED, I say... at learning that I laughed out loud at the comment of former NBA player/basketball commentator Charles Barkely when he said, when asked about how he was going to handle young men hangin' around his house because of the presence of his teenage daughters, "I'll probably kill a few of them and leave them laying in the yard as a warning to the others".

      You can choose to disrespect, reject, repudiate, or be repulsed by my sense of humor.  You can even cast judgement against me and my dark, misguided sense of humor, if you so choose.  I, on the other hand, am free to suggest that you in the future purchase looser undergarments...  

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

      by Jack K on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:44:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I suspect that this article (0+ / 0-)

    is propaganda, aimed at liberals. "Why I Used To Be a Badguy, But No Longer Am" is such a cliche of the trade.

    There is no such thing as "Al Qaeda", in Iraq.

    There isn't really even an "Al Qaeda in Iraq".  

    •  why don't you read the article? (5+ / 0-)

      and I have never found IWPR to be really off-base in their reporting.

      War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

      by dancewater on Sun May 02, 2010 at 07:39:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you Dancewater (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler, dibsa

        For your efforts to inform the public about Iraq these last seven years here and elsewhere on the Web.  I wonder if the ubiquitous linking of Iraqi anti-American violence to a Saudi construction heir and the government of Iran is reality or just 'outside agitator' type war propaganda.  The Iraqis were never seemed to accept foreign leadership before, even from the late Egyptian President Nasser.

        •  thank you (3+ / 0-)

          but I have to say that I don't think 'al-Qaeda in Iraq' is much connected to Bin Laden.  

          And while Iran is very involved with Iraq, I have not seen proof that they are stirring up violence.  In a couple of cases (at least), they helped reduce violence.

          War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

          by dancewater on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:10:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why I think the article is suspicious (0+ / 0-)

            There never was any insurgent group that could be translated as "al-Qaeda in Iraq".

            Here is the State Department version of it:  

            Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his organization emerged in 2004 to play a leading role in terrorist activities in Iraq. In October, the US Government designated Zarqawi's group, Jamaat al Tawhid wa al-Jihad, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). In December, the designation was amended to include the group's new name Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (or "The al-Qa'ida Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers") and other aliases following the "merger" between Zarqawi and Usama bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization. Zarqawi announced the merger in October, and in December, bin Ladin endorsed Zarqawi as his official emissary in Iraq.
            2004 Country Reports

            Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (al-Qaida of the Jihad Organization in the Land of Two Rivers), is most clearly associated with foreign terrorist cells operating in Iraq and has specifically targeted Coalition forces and Iraqi citizens. In a July 2005 letter to al-Qaida deputy Zawahiri, Zarqawi outlined a four-stage plan to expand the Iraq war to include expelling U.S. forces, establishing an Islamic authority, spreading the conflict to Iraq's secular neighbors, and engaging in battle with Israel. The United States also refers to the group as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI).
            2005 Country Reports

            So, "Group of Monotheism and Jihad" starts in 2004, and in October becomes "Organization of Jihad's Base in the Country of the Two Rivers."

            As I remember it, that protest and shooting in Fallujah was a pivotal event in the Sunni insurgency.

            But how was this guy happening to meet up with a group that wouldn't exist for another year; wouldn't be called, by Americans, what he calls it for another year and a half and wouldn't have an official name anything like what he says, ever?

            •  while I have never found IWPR to be off base (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dibsa

              in their report, the exact opposite is true for the US State Department.  I would not be at all surprised if they did not figure something out for a year or two - or maybe never.

              Regardless of what they called themselves, there were many foreign Arabs coming to Iraq to fight against the US forces right from the start.

              War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

              by dancewater on Mon May 03, 2010 at 12:27:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  For your information (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Garrett, dancewater

              Abu Ayoob Al-Masri who was killed last month in Iraq came to Baghdad nine months before the invasion that's what his wife said during the investigation. Al-Qaeda members came to Iraq per invitation by Saddam. The idiot tyrant opened the doors for everyone who wanted to fight the Americans. And what that former insurgent said is absolutely true because Falluja is a very small and rural town where people are very conservative and narrow minded, plus uneducated

              Your cream of the crop in pet-sitting in Washington State is: MyNeighborhoodBuddy

              by dibsa on Mon May 03, 2010 at 07:57:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Clearly, skepticism is needed (0+ / 0-)

                Abu Ayoob Al-Masri was also captured and transferred to U.S. custody in 2008.

                He was also killed in May 2007.

                He was also wounded in February 2007. He was also killed in February 2007.

                He was also killed in 2006.

                He is also in prison in Egypt. He also left Iraq for Afghanistan.

                In trying to dial in a bullshit detector on all of this, distinguish probable from improbable, I just can't give a lot of credit to those recent Nuri al-Maliki security service claims, which just so happen to back up Dick Cheney's version of events.

                •  you are missing the point of this post (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Garrett, dibsa

                  that is - when we inflict violence on other people, their friends, relatives and neighbors will sometimes pick up weapons and come after us.

                  Now the old guy in the incident in February in Afghanistan may not be able to become a suicide bomber.  But he sure as hell wanted to when he was burying his two sons.  

                  And while he may not do it, or may do it incompetently, it is likely that someone else will do it..... or lots of "someone elses".

                  That is the core truth of this post, not if we got the names right or the time line correct.

                  War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

                  by dancewater on Mon May 03, 2010 at 08:23:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes. Sorry. (0+ / 0-)

                    Sorry for sidetracking it. You said:

                    But it really does not matter what the US military has claimed.  What matters is how it is perceived by the people on the ground.  What matters is how it affects them and what they decide to do about it.  And some of them decide that they will take up arms and fight, like the man who decided to become an insurgent.

  •  Excellent post, Dancewater (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater

    Many thanks.

    Please help the people of Haiti

    by DWG on Tue May 04, 2010 at 03:53:40 AM PDT

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