I ran across this article about a week ago. It is titled:
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.
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.
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).
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.
There will be blow-back.
We will pay a price.