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This Soldier’s Witness to the Iraq War Lie - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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A few weeks before I deployed to Iraq as a young American officer, in the spring of 2003, my French-born father begged me to watch

, Gillo Pontecorvo (Gillo Pontecorvo) performed a dramatic reenactment of Algeria’s rebellion against French colonial rule in the 1950s. There are many political and aesthetic reasons to see this masterpiece of the film, especially since it depicts the evocative old town of Algeria's capital, namely Casbah. One winter morning in 2014, more than ten years after I watched this movie for the first time, I walked through the rain-washed alleys of Casbah and walked into this newly-built French city. In scenes in black and white movies, such as the landmark Milk Bar Cafe, Algerian female guerrillas released a bomb that killed French civilians and killed people. The subsequent unforgettable French military response in the film included arbitrary arrests, torture and "false flag" explosions, which only provoked riots in Algeria.

It was the moral hazard of these rebellions that my father hinted at. "Keep your eyes open," he told me. This is a prescient warning, even if my analogy with Algeria is not perfect and will be overused, it is still the background of my deployment. When American soldiers soon faced guerrilla and civil war in Iraq, they were under-equipped intellectually and militarily, so the battle of Algiers would be

. To this day, the cadets of West Point Military Academy have used this as a warning story.

However, it was not until one morning in the summer of 2003 that I realized the entire content of the film in Iraq. At that time, I received an emergency call about an Iraqi intelligence officer who was arrested. My commander asked me to go to Baghdad Hospital to be interviewed because his wound was not clearly treated.

I put on a Kevlar vest, grabbed a carbine and went to the so-called Green Zone in the city center, which became more and more dangerous due to bomb attacks and continuous ambushes by insurgents.

My own experience of this kind of belligerence is mostly out of reach-although my experience is by no means personal. As an intelligence officer, I reported to Iraqi sources and informants about the insurgent groups and foreign fighters, and sometimes provided detailed information. The U.S. military would use this information to conduct raids, find weapons, explosives, insurgents, or want the previous regime. character. Since I read the post-event reports of these operations, I have learned the names and ages of the arrested. Sometimes, I even saw pictures on their faces. This established a sense of intimacy, and there was a causal relationship between my actions and my destiny.

In gathering intelligence to drive these attacks, I tried to review and verify the voices I heard. After several rounds of questions, I discarded 90% of the information. Most of them are completely fabricated by Iraqis in order to seek economic rewards or favors from the US military. Others try to lure American soldiers to help them solve personal problems or eliminate their political, commercial or sectarian rivals. The rest of the information sometimes proves to be valid. The seizure of militants, weapons or bomb-making materials did save lives.

However, sometimes, we did not fully confirm the information before the attack, or we got the location wrong. After this misleading pre-dawn attack on innocent Iraqi civilians, I remembered Pontkovo’s film and asked myself: “How many new insurgents have we just created?”

All of this deviated from the focus of my initial deployment, which was interviewing former Iraqi officials about suspected weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. However, once the insurgents began to attack the US military, Iraqis and international organizations, US military commanders demanded more intelligence resources to penetrate the insurgent’s network, especially since the search for Saddam’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. No more.

Even so, I still continue to chase any lead I get on WMD. I thought this was the appeal of the detained Iraqi spy. Instead, when I arrived at the hospital in the Green Zone, I found myself sitting across from a man who was one of the biggest suspects behind the US invasion of Iraq.

When Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir Ani was sent to the Iraqi Embassy in Prague in the late 1990s under diplomatic cover, he was quickly monitored by Czech security services. One morning in early April 2001, an Arab informant working for the Czech reported that Aini Ani met with an Arab student at the Iraqi Embassy. According to the report, the student was identified as the Egyptian Mohamed Atta (Mohamed Atta), and soon after he became the leader of the hijackers who carried out the terrorist attacks on Al Qaeda on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11. , 2001.

The CIA and the FBI later made a hole

; The Czech President himself subsequently

it. First of all, the informant only saw his photo published in the news after September 11, and then identified Atta as the person from the April 2001 meeting. The FBI’s records of Atta arranged him before and after the hypothetical Prague meeting, in Virginia and Florida, respectively, and the agency found no evidence of international travel. But none of this stopped the Iraq war hawks in the Bush administration

The so-called Prague Connection proved that Saddam Hussein was suspected of participating in a terrorist attack on American soil and used it as the culprit in the 2003 invasion.

At the Baghdad Hospital, I joined an FBI agent and asked the bedridden Aini about his time in the Czech Republic. The short man had whitish pain on his face, and pain, making him the epitome of the monotonous regime worker I knew in Iraq. He answered our question directly. In the end, the hours-long meeting did not provide evidence that the Prague meeting was inconsistent with the debunked conflicts that had already emerged.

. Al-Ani has never met Mohamed Atta, or even heard of him, until after September 11 he saw the news report. He is not in a small town seventy miles away.

However, compared to this private incident, what is more disturbing is that he recounted the reason why he was arrested by the US special operations forces that summer and the reason why he was hospitalized. At night, American soldiers snatched his hand from his home in Baghdad, tied his wrists, covered his head, and forced him to lie on the floor of a Hummer in order to travel to the detention center for a long time. Within fifteen minutes of riding in the car, he felt an unbearable burning sensation. The Hummer's engine is located in the front and conducts heat to the back bed, with al-Ani lying face down on the bare metal. He twisted and twisted in pain, but his American guard thought he was still resisting. One of the soldiers stepped harder on his back with his boots. He told me: "Jesus, Jesus, please." He cried and said, hoping that this kind of quotation in English would make them tolerant.

In front of us in the hospital, he raised his robe to show us the result: severe burns, dark patches covering his stomach, thighs, feet and palms. As a result, Al-Ani will endure a three-month hospitalization, which involves multiple skin grafts, thumb amputations and finger insufficiency.

After the meeting, I relayed his statement of these injuries to my commander in chief, who later reported the incident to

Ill-treatment of detainees. The U.S. Department of Justice also includes the FBI’s

The content of the same interview in the Inspector General’s 2008 report on the interrogation of detainees. And, for several years, the U.S. Army

The conclusion of the incident was that Al-Ani’s injury was consistent with his story, and that “[Assault], “Cruel and Abuse” crimes were confirmed.” Despite this, the Army dropped the case. .

As far as I know, no one has been disciplined for Aini’s abuse.

Ironically, the Iraqi man was initially used as a prop for the US invasion and then subjected to disfigurement and violence by the soldiers who carried out the invasion. But his story affects me in other ways. The abuses we have seen in American policing work are deeply rooted, and their roots come from the United States, but I am convinced that this is also partly due to the Iraq War and the militarization of law enforcement in other US countries/regions.

. The Iraq disaster has spread to almost every aspect of American life and has deepened

This splits us, incites widespread contempt for "professional knowledge," which opens the door to seditiousness and exacerbates the hollowing out of our infrastructure and institutions in a way that puts the country dangerously vulnerable to future shocks.

The collapse in Iraq was described by reporter Robert Draper in his recent book on the decision to expel Saddam.

He rightly called it the greatest tragedy in the United States in the 21st century, and the September 11, 2001 attack. His explanation was that certain government officials were peculiarly focused on using these attacks as a reason for invading Iraq. Therefore, the disfigured Iraqis I briefed are the key, early part of the project's "connection point."

According to Draper, Aini Arnie became a matter of particular concern to two officials in the Bush administration: Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. An analyst from the Central Intelligence Agency told Draper that Cheney had a "strong attitude" towards the "Prague connection." Wolfowitz became "obsessed" with this.

Wolfowitz was particularly fascinated by me. In the years leading up to September 11th, he will

Regarding Saddam's involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Since the attacks on September 11, the smoke has hardly been eliminated, when he was already asking US intelligence agencies for any signs of Iraqi hands. In the following months, the frequency and intensity of these inquiries increased, especially after the Czech intelligence report came to light, even if the defense officials’ requests exhausted and angered the intelligence analysts.

A CIA analyst related to Draper said: “Wolfowitz asked the same question in different ways, partly because we didn’t give him the answers he wanted and partly proved that we were moron."

Reading these things in Draper's book made my chest tense. I have seen this single-minded man-made result, not only because of the injury to this Iraqi spy, but also because of the suffering of countless other Iraqis I encountered in 2003. The world will learn

,

, with

. More abstractly, however, Draper’s work angered me because it showed how Wolfowitz, Cheney, and others abused intelligence technology, which is the most important part of my military career. In Draper’s words, “Drunk people use lampposts, and it’s more support than lighting.”

After the US overthrows Saddam, the confusion and denial of the truth will continue.

"Do any of you have worms?" The French paratrooper colonel asked his soldiers for advice

, Drew a metaphor for the uprising. "Tape bugs are bugs that can grow to infinite." The commander continued, cutting off the enemy's head is the only way to prevent it from regenerating.

Of course, this did not happen in the movie. The French eventually hunted down the leader of the Algerian resistance movement, which is more than what happened when American soldiers occupied Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003. I left Iraq. Although the deposed dictator was an object of nostalgia and reverence for some Sunni Sunnis, it was never the main symbol of the increasingly scattered rebellion-then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was ridiculed as "

"After Wolfowitz

"The evil alliance of old terrorists and new terrorists." In the early days, we have been trying to determine who we are fighting, especially with the influx of foreign Sunni radicals, this chaos has been politicized and useless. Farago’s acronyms are summarized, such as former regime elements (FRE) or anti-Iraqi forces (AIF), and these materials have been distributed to us for our use in the report.

All the time, another foreign power is taking advantage of our chaotic state. By the summer and autumn of 2003, I had deceived the movements of Iranian intelligence personnel, Islamic Revolutionary Guards forces, and even Hezbollah militias in Iraq from Iraqi sources. The expansion of Iran’s influence in Iraq is another unforeseen consequence of the 2003 invasion. Five years later, when I returned to Baghdad as a civilian advisor, I faced a salvo of rockets provided by Iran almost every week.

At the same time, I tried to forget Ahmed al-Ani and the countless other Iraqi contacts, informants and sources I met. They are sonar devices used in the American occupation, designed to make a country and a society that we only know vaguely sound loud. To be sure, it includes whistleblowers, scammers, scammers, stubborn liars, troubled Baathists, possible Iranian double agents, and people about to rebel, but they also include physicists, religious scholars, students, The lives of tribal elders, mothers, and these artists have been changed because of our invasion, but sometimes they still provide us with tips, clues, intelligence, and occasionally missing insights. Nearly two decades later, their shapes are still clearly visible on the outline, but their characteristics and life details are still blurred and distorted, just like the depths that a diver passes over the upper surface.

The pain of memory continues to exist, and countless American soldiers who followed me in Iraq have suffered moral harm, often suffering more serious bloodshed and trauma. These are the inevitable results of the war. The same is true for the ethical corruption of open professions.

"Should France stay in Algeria?" The French commander in the Pontecorvo film asked a group of reporters who tended to question his cruel approach. "If you answer'yes', then you must accept all necessary consequences." Likewise, no one should be surprised when a foreign military presence causes nationalist outrage and armed uprisings, especially when the occupation is planned to dismantle When governing institutions and depriving people of all their rights. Robert Draper described a scene when the coalition forces liberated Basra in April 2003, and President Bush was watching a TV video.

Of Iraqis, "Why don't they cheer?"

Most members of the US military will bear the psychological and physical risks of being sent to war, and most will assume their responsibilities as the moral promoters of war. However, what they expect to be rewarded is the assurance of the leaders that they

, And only after exhausting other means, and only for causes that are of vital importance to the national interest, are they required to perform the arduous task of violence. The false excuses for the mass invasion of weapons of mass destruction and the connection with al-Qaeda, and the ambition of barbaric ambitions in the Middle East, do not reflect any justification for the invasion of Iraq, which makes it the most serious of our time and now. Tragedy. An essential lesson for the future.

I hope this is something that our citizens and leaders will never tire of learning, avoiding Draper’s narrative, unwritten history, and the testimony of veterans and Iraqis, so as to avoid another devastating scene. Adventure.

I am not optimistic.

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