The Command Post
April 25, 2003
Volunteer fighters in Iraq disappear with little news of whereabouts

Of the thousands of Lebanese and other foreigners who ventured to Iraq to fight the coalition very few survived and have returned to their homes. Even fewer are willing to talk about their experiences. The Daily Star has found one.

“However, upon arrival in Baghdad, our enthusiasm started to wane. Despite air raids and heavy explosions and rocket firing that could be clearly heard in all parts of the city and images and news of hundreds of injured or dead civilians, people, in general, were acting normally and seemed uninterested with what was going on around them,” the volunteer said.

“It was my first shock. I expected to see people rushing around, constructing street barricades and digging holes in preparation for defending the capital city of Baghdad against the coming invasion or siege. The general scene was far from that.

“We were hosted at our Iraqi friend’s house for the first couple of days doing nothing and getting less and less enthusiastic. My Lebanese friend grew more restless and wanted to do anything that would justify his presence in Baghdad.

“The advice from the members of our host family was not to be foolish and to return to our country. It sounded more like a warning than advice. The older man in the family blamed their son for helping us come to Iraq,” he added.

“My Lebanese friend decided to go on his own and look for an opportunity to participate in the actual fighting, as he put it. Two days later, I saw him carrying a machine gun walking with a small group of people, all in civilian clothes, armed with light weaponry including anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades.

“Since that day, I haven’t seen him nor heard from him again. I hope he is safe wherever he might be now. Since my return, I cannot look straight into his mother’s eyes,” he said.

Posted By Cranky at April 25, 2003 09:15 PM | TrackBack
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Sounds like the 'Law of Unintended Consequences' is still in effect.

Posted by: Master Goldsmith at April 25, 2003 09:40 PM

The CIA were actually competent or as ruthless as they were portrayed in the movies/fiction/Chompsky diatribes, they would be hunting people like this down and killing or capturing them.

Posted by: Jeremy at April 25, 2003 09:41 PM

D'oh. Insert an "If" at the front of my first post.

Posted by: Jeremy at April 25, 2003 09:42 PM

I'm having an extremely hard time feeling anything but severe contempt for this man and his co-horts. They traveled to Iraq to protect the regime that tortured and murdered millions of Iraqis.

Posted by: Cranky at April 25, 2003 09:50 PM


Maybe they *have* been, and that's why so few of them are returning.

Posted by: Joseph H at April 25, 2003 10:48 PM


We can only hope. Like it or not, this is a dirty world. From a moral standpoint, you would hate to see loose cannons running around snuffing people. But from a practical standpoint, like they say in Texas, "he needed killin'." Anyone caught fighting alongside Sodom's men, especially from other countries, I won't be losing sleep if they get terminated. They are enemy combatants, plus they are interlopers and it is time to thin the herd of these terrorists.

Posted by: Elvis at April 26, 2003 12:27 AM

Many of the US lives lost were to suicide bombers. In every instance I can recall they were non-Iraqi Arabs. Much of the serious resistance put up by the Saddam Fedayeen were non-Iraqi Arabs.

There was a Fisk piece blogged here about imported Arabs bemoaning the lack of fighting will among Iraqis proper, and wondering why it was only the non-Iraqi Arab imports who thought it was so important to stop American aggression.

It is, from a perspective of global humanity, a damn shame that the Arab world produced all these nihilists. From the perspective of global pragmatism (which includes a dose of humanity) it is a good thing that they all got themselves either killed or disillusioned.

Posted by: DontTread at April 26, 2003 01:15 AM

It wasn't the CIA, it was the locals. You know, the poor guys that lived for years under Saddam's reign.

Imagine: You were here to help Saddam and his Baath party? I have a present for you...BANG! or sssslicccce or Klunk! And another good Jihadi finds paradise and his 72 white raisins.

Posted by: Anon at April 26, 2003 02:19 AM

Sounds like my little dung beetles will be very busy.


Posted by: Malthusiast at April 26, 2003 04:18 AM


Posted by: James A. Wolf at April 26, 2003 01:08 PM

I'm having an extremely hard time feeling anything but severe contempt for this man and his co-horts. They traveled to Iraq to protect the regime that tortured and murdered millions of Iraqis.

They were ignorant and they paid a terrible price for it. It is sad that so many people died for something so pointless as propping up Saddam's regime for another two to three days. It is sad that they died. Maybe the others will learn something from their deaths. It sounds like that is the case.

Our objective in the Middle East is not to kill the "bad Arabs" and help the "good Arabs," it is to convince more Arabs/Muslims to work for peace, freedom, and prosperity instead of war.

Posted by: Michael Levy at April 26, 2003 07:12 PM

Michael Levy, with all due respect I think you're far too soft on these people and far too optimistic about their chance of being reformed.

The problem IMHO is not that these fighters were "ignorant" -- a state we all inhabit at some point, and out of which we can all hope to rise -- it's that they were violent nihilists.

Shaving the worst and most incorrigible 0.01% off their population -- when that 0.01% comes willingly, a moth to the flame -- will do wonders for their society. In an odd way, they really are martyrs for Islam: by their deaths, a better future might open up for the remaining 99.99%, a future that will, in your words, be about "working for peace, freedom, and prosperity instead of war." But for that future to be achievable, it's no tragedy that the most nihilistic and incorrigible 0.01% are no longer around to cause trouble. It's not "sad" that they died -- their lives were dedicated to actively impeding the better world you describe, thus IMHO their deaths are the best of an admittedly bad situation.

Posted by: Quick Frozen at April 26, 2003 08:14 PM


Amen sister! Well put and quite logical.

Posted by: Elvis at April 28, 2003 01:02 PM

I would like to give at least 2 years of volunteer job in iraq soil please if did u know some sponsors call me at (907) 884-7274

Posted by: sofia at May 2, 2003 06:34 PM
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