Um Saad, a middle-aged woman living in the Sunni district of Khadra in west Baghdad, blames the Americans for the death of her husband and two of her sons and threatens revenge.
"They are monsters and devils wearing human clothes," she exclaims vehemently. "One day I will put on an explosive belt under my clothes and then blow myself up among the Americans. I will get revenge against them for my husband and sons and I will go to paradise."
I might not use the same methods, but if you kill a member of my family, I would take my revenge as well:
Her eldest son, Saad, wanted to enter the military academy just like his father. Um Saad said she did not want to lose him and instead he went to the police academy and had graduated as a police lieutenant when Saddam Hussein was overthrown in April 2003. She wanted him to resign. "After the fall of Iraq the police were the second target [of Sunni guerrillas] after the Americans."
Saad equivocated over resigning since he held the Americans responsible for killing his father, but the family needed his salary. He finally decided to leave the police, but before he could do so, on 25 October 2003, his police station at Khadra was hit by a large car bomb. He was uninjured by the blast but, as he ran with his pistol drawn to help a friend, American soldiers at the scene thought he was attacking them. "They shot him dead with six bullets in the head and many more in the body," says his mother.
As we sit back in our relatively comfortable world, do we even consider the consequences of our actions? Does anyone here understand what it takes to drive someone to willingly strap explosives to their body to exact their pound of flesh? 20 years from now, people here will wonder what we ever did to make these people hate us so, just like most Americans do today; sitting around, scratching their heads saying "these people hate us for our freedoms".
Horseshit. They hate us because we treated them like nameless, faceless people in the past, ever since we realized they have more of the precious liquid we so desperately need than anyone else. We still do, as we kill them indiscriminately in the name of "freedom and democracy". We have destroyed any chance of "winning these people's hearts and minds" and it's time to leave before we do even more damage. The blowback from Iraq will haunt us for the next 50 years.