PORTRAIT OF THE SUICIDE BOMBER AS A YOUNG MAN….I don’t have anything special to say about this, but just wanted to pass along a piece in the LA Times today about a military effort to profile foreign-born suicide bombers in Iraq. Recent interrogations of 48 men indicate that most of them come from “large, lower-income families in which they struggled to be noticed,” primarily from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria.
Most described their upbringing as religious but not extremist, [Navy Rear Adm. Gregory] Smith said. Many said their fathers were harsh and often abusive. Most reported little or no previous military experience. Before they were recruited, many worked as taxi drivers, construction workers and in other low-paying jobs. Others were students.
Their recruiters preyed on their desire for recognition, acceptance and friendship, Smith said….The recruits were often shown videos of Americans purportedly abusing Iraqis and were urged to help avenge the mistreatment by killing Americans, Smith said. Insurgent strikes against U.S. forces also were shown.
….But when they reached Iraq, those destined for suicide missions were sequestered in safe houses with copies of the Koran and few other amenities….Some spoke of their disillusionment on discovering that most of the attacks carried out by insurgents were directed against the Iraqi people rather than U.S. forces.
“Again and again, we heard this reality bothered the recruits,” Smith said. “They had not come here to kill Iraqi civilians. . . . They felt misled.”