July 02, 2007

The Killing Fields of Iraq

By Michael J. Totten

Killing Field Baqubah.jpg
Photo copyright Michael Yon

Michael Yon has published a disturbing essay with gruesome photos about what happened to a Sunni Arab village outside Baqubah, Iraq, after Al Qaeda took over.

Everyone had either fled or had been murdered. No one was left alive. Children were beheaded. Al Qaeda even butchered the animals.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 2, 2007 02:03 PM

Michael, you know that the precedent for what you describe concerning this Iraqi village is Algeria. There, Sunni Muslim Arab fanatics slaughtered fellow Sunni Muslim Arabs for about 15 years. Up to about 150,000 Algerians were killed in that 15 year period. Incidents still take place there once in a while. There too they slit the throats of men, women, and children. Nothing new under the sun.

Posted by: Eliyahu at July 2, 2007 02:20 PM

It's not Al Qaeda, Mike. It's the INSURGENCY!!

Posted by: Glenn at July 2, 2007 02:50 PM

I definitely underestimated the Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. As Glenn implies, the media seem to downplay their role, in favour of the 'insurgency,' and- at least in Australia- Al Qaeda is rarely mentioned by the government. Why? I would have thought they would both pounce on news like this (for sensationalism and demagoguery, respectively).

And good call on Algeria, Eliyahu; their culture minister recently described their insurgency as like 15 years of 9/11, except no-one sent their condolences.

Posted by: Justin Colley at July 2, 2007 06:28 PM

Michael Moore's "minutemen" and "founding fathers".

Posted by: Carlos at July 2, 2007 07:11 PM

Children were beheaded.

MJT, remember the Genocide Museum? Maybe this is payback, not Al-Qaeda.

Posted by: Solomon2 at July 2, 2007 09:45 PM


No way did Kurds do that.

First of all, that's not what they do.

Second, the military knew Al Qaeda held that town.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 2, 2007 09:50 PM

MJT, I didn't mean to suggest that the Kurds did it, merely that former victims of Saddam took it upon themselves to execute revenge upon the Sunnis they saw as supporters of the regime.

And no, I'm not absolutely sure from Yon's report that Al-Q was the perpetrator. Iraqis have been blaming Al Qaeda for all sorts of things since America invaded Iraq, for no other reason than getting the Americans riled up and motivated to attack someone. Yon never says that U.S. troops independently confirmed that these were Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Solomon2 at July 3, 2007 03:47 AM

"Takfiri - Those who excommunicate, or 'declare kufr', mainstream Muslim individuals, societies and leaders."


Smith uses the term wryly, to describe Said's role in the propagation of a certain intellectual school which he had invented in his book "Orientalism". He was a cultural relativist and as such allowed himself to promote the idea that only scholars who are from the Middle East (but not Jews, unless they were anti-Zionists) should be allowed to teach and write about the Middle East. In that respect, he acted very much like the "Takfiri" who name who is or is not a bonafide Muslim in Muslim culture. It's a bit like a MacCarthyite doctrine, which decided who or what it meant to be American or unAmerican...

Posted by: Noga at July 3, 2007 05:02 AM

Terrorist Bloopers.


I know you shouldn't laugh when the world's going to s***, but still....

Posted by: Microraptor at July 3, 2007 07:52 AM

Justin, in the US, the MSM refers to them as insurgents because I believe their twisted logic leads them to think that any reference to Al Qaeda "supports" the Bush administration's assertions. Insurgency and civil war is easier to tout as reasons to withdraw than "we're fighting al qaeda and they're mean."

Posted by: Defneocon1 at July 3, 2007 08:38 AM

Michael, when the Dem Party voted in 1973-75 after the Paris Peace Accords to a) not allow US soldiers to go back and fight (no enforcement), and b) reduce funding and support for the S. Viet gov't, the Dem Party voted against American victory. Voting against American victory then meant to accept commie victory and Killing Fields.

Voting against American victory now, by US Iraqi allies, would be voting to accept victory of the most efficient/ brave/ ruthless murderers.

Solomon2's comment is important -- if the US leaves, that means Shia majority militants, including those trained by the US, can "enjoy" payback of Iraqi Sunnis. If the Sunnis pre-2003 were some 30% of 25 mil (7.5 mil), I'd guess some mil have already fled (some claim 2-4 mil. refugees, I don't know). Another 3-5 mil murders seem likely, to me -- ethnic cleansing and genocide throughout Baghdad and continuing against all Sunnis.

The S. Viet pro-democracy leaders were corrupt, incompetent, and cowardly. M. Yon previously told of the arrest of a successful, pro-American Iraq general who was brave, competent -- and increasingly corrupt & power hungry.

The competent & brave/ bold leaders are quite likely to also be corrupt. (Elites in America & Europe are corrupt w/o demonstrating bravery.)

If the US wants Iraq to become democratic, it needs to plan on a longer stay, and be careful of the rise of competent generals--the US needs to more strongly support the "good" good guys.

Posted by: Tom Grey at July 3, 2007 11:22 AM
Update: Yon's latest dispatch:
many readers at home have asked how anyone can know that al Qaeda actually performed the massacre...No one can claim with certainty that it was al Qaeda, but the Iraqis here seem convinced of it.

At a meeting today in Baqubah...the Iraqi official asked that I withhold his identity from publication. His opinion, shared by others present, is that al Qaeda came to Baqubah and united many of the otherwise independent criminal gangs...the Iraqi official related how al Qaeda united these gangs who then became absorbed into “al Qaeda.”

They recruited boys born during the years 1991, 92 and 93 who were each given weapons, including pistols, a bicycle and a phone (with phone cards paid) and a salary of $100 per month, all courtesy of al Qaeda. These boys were used for kidnapping, torturing and murdering people...

...the question of whether or not the murderers were al Qaeda is flawed from beginning. Al Qaeda is not a union, it doesn’t issue passports. What is al Qaeda but the collection of people who claim to be al Qaeda? Those responsible for murdering and burying those bodies in al Ahamir (or al Hamira) had the markers of al Qaeda, the same al Qaeda that had boastfully installed itself as the shadow government of Baqubah. The al Qaeda who committed atrocities in Afghanistan, New York…the list is long. As for al Ahamir, the massacre “walks like a duck.” It happened in duck headquarters. The people here say the duck did it. The duck laughs.
I accept this. Posted by: Solomon2 at July 6, 2007 06:45 AM
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