Let me say one more thing about the reaction of some in the American Muslim community to Humayun Khan’s participation in the Iraq invasion.
As a community, we are quick to make condemnations against acts of terrorism on Western soil, while making it absolutely clear that those acts have nothing to do with Islam. Sometimes we even broadcast the fact that the purported individuals involved in the act were not observant Muslims, i.e., they drank, went to bars, hired prostitutes, etc. That’s fine as it goes (though there’s the issue of why Muslims are expected to condemn every criminal act done by loonies and vile criminals in the name of Islam when no other community has that burden).
But if we are going to be so insistent on condemnation on one side, where is the condemnation on the other? We are true Americans after all, as we love to emphasize at every opportunity. So where are our condemnations of those who commit and are accessories to illegal, criminal, inhumane, murderous acts in the name of America?
Though American Muslims may not realize this, Muslims in the rest of the world are dumbfounded by how our community can praise and memorialize a US infantryman who was active duty in Iraq. Are we just that willfully ignorant of what took place in Iraq at the hands of US forces? Because if we were fair, we would recognize that the havoc unleashed on Iraq was nothing but pure terror a hundred thousand times over.
For the sake of education, let me quote some statements from American vets on what they were doing in Iraq.[Source of quote in comments. A must read] Garret Reppenhagen served in Iraq from February 2004-2005 in the city of Baquba, 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) northeast of Baghdad. He said his first experience in Iraq was being on a patrol that killed two Iraqi farmers as they worked in their field at night.
“I was told they were out in the fields farming because their pumps only operated with electricity, which meant they had to go out in the dark when there was electricity,” he explained, “I asked the sergeant, if he knew this, why did he fire on the men. He told me because the men were out after curfew. I was never given another ROE [rule of engagement] during my time in Iraq.”
Emmanuel added: “We took fire while trying to blow up a bridge. Many of the attackers were part of the general population. This led to our squad shooting at everything and anything in order to push through the town. I remember myself emptying magazines into the town, never identifying a target.”
Emmanuel spoke of abusing prisoners he knew were innocent, adding, “We took it upon ourselves to harass them, and took them to the desert to throw them out of our Humvees, while kicking and punching them when we threw them out.”
I cite this because Humayun Khan was based in Baqubah in 2004 where he was killed. These are the kinds of things he was involved in as part of his unit along with all the other infantry battalions stationed there.
I highly recommend reading the veterans’ testimony of their actions during the Iraqi invasion. They detail how they were ordered to kill indiscriminately, to torture people they knew were innocent, to use children as human shields. And these were just the ground operations, not even the indiscriminate aerial bombings that leveled the country and extinguished hundreds of thousands of lives and left Iraqi mothers giving birth to children with horrifying birth defects because of the radiation of the depleted uranium the US used in its bombs.
So let me issue a condemnation.
As an American, I condemn in the strongest terms what the US military and American troops did to Iraq and its people. These criminal acts do not represent what I believe in as an American. I mourn in solidarity with the people of Iraq, who are still suffering from the aftermath of the invasion. May God bring peace to that land and bring swift justice to those who invaded as well as those who continue to occupy and terrorize the Iraqi people to this day, e.g., ISIS.
Edit: And for those who say that troops can’t be held accountable because they were just following orders, how does that make any sense? Certainly we hold ISIS terrorists accountable even though they are taking orders from their central command. Can we honestly ignore the fact that these soldiers were asked to shoot innocent Iraqis, people they knew in many cases were harmless civilians, and they complied? The fact that one is given an order is no excuse to murder another human being!
Edit 2: I also have to wonder what the American Muslims praising Humayun Khan for his “service” have to say about the IDF combat troops, snipers, and infantrymen who have been terrorizing Palestinians for decades, murdering innocent men, women, and children, brutalizing our brothers and sisters, destroying their homes, stealing their livelihood, desecrating the sacred sanctuary of Aqsa on a regular basis. These troops are just following orders too right? And they have more of an “excuse” because Israel has mandatory conscription unlike in the US. If a Muslim fights for the IDF in one of the operations against Gaza or the West Bank and gets killed in combat, will we praise such a person for serving his country and sacrificing himself for a greater cause? Will we make flaccid, ridiculous excuses like, “Well we don’t know what he was doing for certain, we don’t know his intentions herp derp derp”?