The New York Times has a story up on their website today about recruits for jihad in Iraq, and in particular the young men of Jordan who are volunteering to strap on explosives and blow themselves and others to kingdom come in the name of their faith. It’s worth a look:
Abu Ibrahim, a lanky 24-year-old, was on [a suicide bomb] mission when he left this bleak city north of Amman for Iraq last October. But he made it only as far as the border before he was arrested, and is now back home in a world he thought he had left for good — biding his time, he said, for another chance to hurl himself into martyrdom.
“I am happy for [his friends who died carrying out suicide attacks in Iraq] but I cry for myself because I couldn’t do it yet,” said Abu Ibrahim, who uses this name as a nom de guerre. “I want to spread the roots of God on this earth and free the land of occupiers. I don’t love anything in this world. What I care about is fighting.” […]
Interviews with Abu Ibrahim and relatives of the other men show that rather than having been individually recruited by an organization like Mr. Zarqawi’s, they gradually radicalized one another, the more strident leading the way. Local imams led them further toward Iraq, citing verses from the Koran to justify killing civilians. The men watched videos depicting tortured and slain Muslims that are copied from Internet sites. […]
“Most of the young people here in Zarqa are very religious,” an Islamist community leader said. “And when they see the news and what is going on in the Islamic countries, they themselves feel that they have to go to fight jihad. Today, you don’t need anyone to tell the young men that they should go to jihad. They themselves want to be martyrs.”
The anger is palpable on the streets of Zarqa. “He’s American? Let’s kidnap and kill him,” one Islamist activist said during an interview with a reporter before the host of the meeting dissuaded him.
The stories of the men from Zarqa help explain the seemingly endless supply of suicide bombers in Iraq, most of whom are believed to be foreigners. […]
The anger among militants in Zarqa, a mostly Sunni city, is now directed at Shiites as much as Americans, reflecting the escalation in hostility between the two branches of Islam since Shiites gained dominance in the new Iraqi government. “They have traditions that are un-Islamic and they hate the Sunnis,” said Ahmad Khalil Abdelaziz Salah, an imam whose mosque in Zarqa was attended by some of Zarqa’s bombers.
Asked to name his targets, Abu Ibrahim said: “First, the Shiites. Second, the Americans. Third, anywhere in the world where Islam is threatened.”
What can you say? They heard and answered the call Bush made. They aren’t in it for the money like the contractors, or because they were duped by recruiters into joining the US military. They are religious zealots, who have turned to violent extremism as a direct result of hearing stories of slaughter coming from Iraq, like these:
There is plenty of news that is omitted by the media, and will be hidden from the public for years, or for lifetimes. I remember being in Al Asad and sitting around drinking with the military as they talked about their missions and killing Iraqis. They told stories about how they were ordered to shoot and kill anything that moved, and they had no qualms admitting that they had killed innocent people. They would shrug it off saying that it is War and that innocent people will die.
The Iraq War has been a human catastrophe in so many ways, but the longest lasting effect may be the tremendous anger and hatred that many in the Muslim world now have for Americans, and, as the article indicates for their fellow co-religionists. This enmity and hatred will last for generations, and will eventually result in more terror attacks in America.
All that fighting them “over there” has done is give these angry young Arab men a reason to fight us “over here.” Before Iraq, Al Qaeda was an outlaw organization, and Osama bin Ladin merely an outsized criminal. After Iraq, Bin Ladin has become the symbol, and Al Qaeda the vanguard, of an increasingly radicalized movement which has metastasized into a cancer that threatens to devour the Middle East in the years since we deposed Saddam Hussein’s regime.
That’s the mission Bush accomplished. Helluva job, Dubya. Helluva job.