FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A "Holey" Instrument of Peace in Iraq

by ROBERT WEITZEL

On October 23, 2006 a U.S. soldier or marine peered through the telescopic sight of his M24 sniper rifle and trained it on the face of Nora, a five-year-old Iraqi girl. Her pretty face was close enough to kiss. Instead, he squeezed the trigger and sent a 7.62 round slamming into her skull. The medical report read, “Nora sustained an explosive bullet injury to her head that smashed the skull bones and ruptured her cerebral membrane.” Nora survived the sniper’s bullet.

During the battle for Falluja in 2004, U.S. snipers positioned themselves on rooftops covering the entrance to the only hospital still in operation, creating what locals called “sniper alley.” Iraqi men, women, and children seeking medical treatment were fired on. Ambulances delivering patients and supplies were fired on. Unlike Nora, many did not survive the sniper’s bullet.

On May 30, 2006 Nabiha Nisaif Jasiam and her cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassen were shot from behind by a U.S. sniper as they drove to Samarra General hospital. Nabiha was about to deliver her third child. Neither survived the sniper’s bullet.

No U.S. president or general or lowly lieutenant acknowledged, much less apologized, for these illegal and immoral shootings. No sniper was held accountable.

On May 19 the commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, Maj. General Jeffrey Hammond, apologized to community leaders and imams from the Baghdad neighborhood of Radhwaniya after it was discovered that a U.S. sniper used a copy of the Quran for target practice.

Gen. Hammond told the angry crowd, “I come before you here seeking your forgiveness. In the most humble manner . . . I say please forgive me and my soldiers. The actions of one soldier were nothing more than criminal behavior.”

Sheikh Hamadi al-Qirtani, speaking for the tribal sheiks of Radhwaniya, called the sniper’s behavior “aggression against the entire Islamic world.” The Association of Muslim Scholars condemned “this heinous crime against God’s book” and warned Gen. Hammond, “God preserves his book and [is] the Great Avenger.”

We need some perspective here!

Nora and the other innocent Iraqis shot by snipers are made of flesh and blood and a brain capable of remembering yesterday and hoping for tomorrow. They are their god’s “Islamic World,” the living testament to faith in a sacred covenant. It is these human beings who are the victims of a “heinous crime” and deserve to be avenged by their god, if not at least apologized to by Gen. Hammond.

Holy books, on the other hand, are made of cardboard and paper and ink. They are made for profits (pun absolutely intended). These books are not manna from heaven. They are manufactured here on Earth and there is nothing sacred about their physical presence. Whatever “sacredness” there may be in holy books can, like little Nora, survive a sniper’s bullet. If it cannot, then it is most assuredly the creation of men, not of gods.

To seal his apology at Radhwaniya, Gen. Hammond ordered a soldier to kiss a new copy of the Quran and present it to the community. That done, he assured them, “I have punished this soldier. [He] has lost the honor to serve the United States Army and the people of Iraq here in Baghdad.” The soldier was sent home to his family.

Is it any wonder that the Vietnam War lasted for more than a decade and claimed the lives of 58,200 Americans and over two million Vietnamese? During that war, soldiers and marines had to shoot themselves instead of a book in order to lose the “honor” of serving the U.S. military and the people of Vietnam and get sent home to their families.

With that in mind, consider this proposal for a “holey” workable Iraq peace plan: Mothers write to your son, wives to your husband, and kids to your dad. Beg him to drill a few 7.62 holes into a holy book of his choice, turning it into an instrument of peace. Have him respectfully submit this symbol of peace to his commanding officer with a notarized photograph to the unit chaplain or local imam. He will no longer be allowed to “serve” the people of Iraq and will be safely home in a week. The war will be over by Christmas.

It seems unlikely that either the Peaceful Prophet of Islam or the Prince of Peace of Christianity will have a problem with 140,000 holey holy books if it means saving twice that many lives and the ending of an immoral war and suffocating occupation.

The Peaceful Prophet said, “Whoever kills a single soul . . . it is as though he had killed all of humanity,” while the Prince of Peace made it clear, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethrens, ye have done it unto me.”

Neither Prophet nor Prince ever said anything about “killing” a book. It is the “living testament” that is sacred to them, not something made of cardboard and paper and profits.

ROBERT WEITZEL is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI.  He can be contacted at: robertweitzel@mac.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail