Posted by: bkivey | 1 July 2011

Hearts and Minds?

The combat actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have to be some of the most under-reported wars in modern history. It seems the major media lost interest when it looked like US and coalition forces, might, you know, win.  Nothing destroys a fact-free narrative like facts.

It’s well-known that American soldiers engaged in nieghborhood sweeps in Iraq in an effort to root out insurgents. I came across this annotated version of one such action, based on a story in The Washington Post. I don’t have the original reference, but, well, read it for yourself. Italics in original.

THE NIGHT THE SOLDIERS CAME


The Washington Post’s Jackie Spinner meets a calm and reasonable Baghdad resident who turned against the US after … well, you’ll find out soon enough. The sequence of extracts below is altered from the original to more closely describe events as they are alleged to have occurred:

By all accounts, Imaad, 32, was a typical, mild-mannered college graduate who spoke English well and had quietly supported the U.S. presence in Iraq — until Jan. 5, the night the soldiers came.

The night they came — for vengeance!

His story about that night, told days later in his small living room, is the story of how the U.S. military made an enemy of one man during a 20-minute encounter.

A 20-minute encounter — with terror!

On the night of Jan. 5, Imaad and his mother, Um Imaad — both of whom declined to give their full names for fear of retribution — were watching a movie in the living room.

In the living room — of impending bloodthirsty murderingness! (reader: quit it. tim: okay)

Imaad said they were startled by a loud banging at the door. He went quickly to open it. When he did, Imaad said, there were about a dozen U.S. soldiers standing with their guns pointed at his head.

Every single one of them?

Imaad and his mother said the soldiers rushed in, ordering them to sit together while they searched the house. “You look poor,” Imaad recalled one of the soldiers saying. “Why?”

Seems an unusual thing for a soldier to say. Maybe he was a Sociology Commando.

Imaad answered in English: “I have not been able to find a job, although I’m a graduate of the College of Arts.” His heart was pounding, Imaad said.

As well it might. For we are about to reach this story’s moment of Hitchcockian ultra-horror:

The soldiers went to search his bedroom. He heard laughing, and then they called for him, he said. Imaad went to his room and saw that the soldiers had found several magazines he kept hidden from his mother. They had pictures of girls in swimsuits and erotic poses. Imaad said the soldiers spread the magazines on his bed and put his Koran in the middle.

Bet you weren’t expecting that, thriller fans! Stephen King, eat your goddamn heart out!

It was a nightmare,” he said. “I will never forget those bad soldiers when they put the Koran among the magazines.”

Sure they did. And then Iyad Allawi shot everybody.

Within 20 minutes, the soldiers left without arresting him or his mother.

Why would they? They aren’t the Taliban. Now we reach a section of the tale that, to be frank, does not reflect well on “mild-mannered” Imaad:

While the soldiers went next door to search his neighbor’s house, Imaad began to slap his mother, he said. “The American people are devils,” Um Imaad recalled her son repeating.

The only violence in this saga is committed by Imaad against his mother — and the Americans are devils?

He left her and went to a mosque to spend the night. “I asked God to forgive me,” Imaad said, “because I could not prevent American sins.”

You might have also asked God about that mother-slapping, pal.

Army Lt. Col. Daniel Baggio, another military spokesman in Baghdad, said he also could not confirm a raid took place that night. “That sort of behavior is not condoned by the U.S. military, and I find it hard to believe U.S. soldiers would do that,” he said. “I’m not saying it didn’t happen. It just seems odd.”

To say the least. Following the exposure of her son’s porn stash and subsequent “crisis”, his mother sought medical help:

Um Imaad brought Imaad pills from the doctor to try to calm him. He looked at the yellow ones, then the red ones and refused to take them. “All these belong to Jewish people,” he said, pushing one set aside. “And these others are from bad or foreign people.”

It’s Iraqi-made sedatives or no sedatives at all for our boy, who shows promise as an anti-globalisation activist.

Imaad said that two weeks after the raid, he was still struggling to return to normal. He was no longer hitting his mother, but he still would not allow her to watch foreign television or buy products made outside Iraq.

Unfair! After all, she let Imaad keep his girly mags.

Imaad said he was embracing his Muslim faith as never before. He spends most of his time at the mosque praying or reading the Koran.

Too bad it doesn’t have pictures.

I used to have a good opinion of the Americans,” Imaad said. “But they are the enemy. They are bad.”

It’s another My Lai! Congratulations for exposing this, Washington Post.

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