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Macleans is carrying an except from a new book by a soldier who felt it necessary to desert the US Army after his experiences in Iraq made him question why they were there and who the real terrorists were. Here’s an excerpt from the excerpt:
“It struck me then that we, the American soldiers, were the terrorists. We were terrorizing Iraqis. Intimidating them. Beating them. Destroying their homes. Probably raping them. The ones we didn’t kill had all the reasons in the world to become terrorists themselves. Given what we were doing to them, who could blame them for wanting to kill us, and all Americans?” — The Deserter’s Tale
This soldier recounts arresting every Iraqi male over five feet tall and sending them to detention centers from which, to his knowledge, none ever returned. His squad was given the job of raiding random Iraqi homes in search of weapons, contraband and terrorist cells. No weapons were found during the hundreds of midnight raids he took part in, yet the violence of the raids increased with the growing frustration and paranoia of the troops.
I suppose that’s hardly surprising. We’ve heard quotes from guards at Abu Ghraib that ended with the same moral: “If they didn’t hate America before they came to Abu Ghraib, they do now.” Hardly the behaviour of liberators. How can you win ‘hearts and minds’ when you’re kicking them in the teeth?