Marquel, TPVs NYTimes War What Is It Good For Section correspondent, was searching his closets for some gun powder, when he read U.S. Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel. Most of the political changes that fueled the fight of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, were born directly from some American action. He is our Frankenstein, Marquel thought. But how did we manage to do what was so obviously wrong to anybody with half a brain.
“Wow,” he said, you really don’t like America do you?” He asked.
“Well as a Muslim in America, I wouldn’t dare voice those views,” he said.
“What do you want to know?” He asked.
“I thought these were going to be hard questions.” He said.
“Well it’s not. I was in Iraq then. Do you remember when the US was determined to get rid of the leader of Iraq al Qaeda, a guy named al-Zarqawi?”
“Why did they want to kill him?” He asked.
“Didn’t they know he was the leader of a group and when they killed him, he’d be replaced?” He asked.
“Do you know al-Zarqawi was kind of an inefficient leader?” He asked.
“Do you know who took his place?” He asked.
“Baghdadi, who is a much more efficient leader, and now owns half of Iraq and Syria. And although the US denied it, they kept him in prison for five years and tortured him. He had done nothing.”
“Not if there is a limitless pool of replacements.” He said. “I think you killed him to make Bush look good. You know what? That must makes Iraqis hate you more. We’re not stupid.”
“You should go to my friend downtown. He’ll tell you what kind of friends Iraqis can be.” He said.
“They are the same as everyone else. You be their friend, they’ll be your friend.”
“Americans have not been friends. They have killed us, our families, our babies, our friends, our leaders, everyone. It would be impossible to be friends with America for at least a century.” He said.
“Nothing. You are like poison. Everything you touch gets burnt with American arrogance.” He said.
“Worse. The American Satan is not just words. I think it is important if even one American understood that every Iraqi from the oldest to the youngest, hates America. They hate us with a passion that cannot be extinguished. Do you think you can understand that kind of hate? If so you can understand that there can be no friendship for at least a century.”
He put his arm around me, we hugged, and he said, “I am deeply sorry it cannot be otherwise.”