The Fourth War: My Lunch with a Jihadi
March 5, 2015 9:31 PM   Subscribe

"He didn’t tell me how old his little girl was, the age of a man’s daughter being a sensitive topic."

Is this a muslim thing? Like if you ask how old the daughter is it can be construed as you looking to find yourself a wife?
posted by rancher at 12:38 AM on March 6, 2015

This is pretty well written, but feels a little too self congratulatory coming from 2 guys who voluntarily where responsible for a whole lot of death, mutilation, poverty and general fucking up of a party of the world that generally didn't need any more fucking up to begin with.
posted by signal at 2:46 AM on March 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

The guys they were talking to were responsible for a whole lot more death and mutilation than they. But I really liked the strange honesty they seemed to have with one another. At the end of the article:

“I look like the Mahdi.”

This is creepy as hell. Does he claim to be the great redeemer of islam as prophesied by the Prophet? Or was he just kidding around? I'm not sure if that's clear.
posted by rancher at 4:17 AM on March 6, 2015

Does he claim to be the great redeemer of islam as prophesied by the Prophet? Or was he just kidding around? I'm not sure if that's clear.

I think it's a little of each. Kidding around, but reminding the outsider of the importance of that story in the conflict.
posted by Etrigan at 4:43 AM on March 6, 2015

The waiter brought out a large silver tray with our lunch. He laid down three different types of lamb kabob, two plates of kibbeh, flatbread, and salads. Then another server came behind him carrying a pitcher of Aryan, a yogurt drink. He poured this into three ornate chalices that looked like Turkish knock-offs of the Wimbledon Cup. The cold Aryan frothed as it was poured.
A cold, frothing Aryan is something you'd find in a WW2 spy novel. Cold, frothing ayran is salty, refreshing, and goes well with kebab. I'd like the Daily Beast to know that my proofreading rates are quite reasonable.

Good story.
posted by daveliepmann at 4:54 AM on March 6, 2015 [9 favorites]

hey! did you hear this one? a war criminal and a terrorist walk into a bar cafe...
It was not the actions of individuals that made the 2nd siege of Fallujah the atrocity that was. It was the way the mission was structured and orchestrated. The US did not treat military action as a last resort. The peace negotiations with the leadership in Fallujah were canceled by the US. And almost no effort was taken to make a distinction between civilian men and combatants. In fact, in many instances civilians and combatants were deliberately conflated. All military aged males were forced to stay within the city limits of Fallujah (women and children were warned to flee the city) regardless of whether there was any evidence that they had picked up arms against the Americans. Also, water and electricity was cut to the entire city, and humanitarian aid was turned away. Thus, an estimated 50,000 civilians were trapped in their city during this month long siege without water or electricity and very limited supplies of food. They also had to survive a ground siege that was conducted with indiscriminate tactics and weapons, like the use of reconnaissance-by-fire, white phosphorous, and the bombing of residential neighborhoods. The main hospital was also treated as a military target. The end result was a human tragedy, an event that should be remembered alongside other US atrocities like the massacres at Wounded Knee or My Lai.
Elliot Ackerman:
I’ve often been asked if I regret fighting in the Iraq War. I don’t. As an American of a certain age at a time of war, I had a choice to make: whether I would participate. What I regret isn’t my choice...
posted by at 5:49 AM on March 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Is it just me, or does this whole article seem like it was completely made up. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I get a strong sense that this is fiction. I have no proof, so I don't want to disparage the author, I just can't shake my skepticism. Perhaps my wires are crossed because it reads as literary rather than reportage.
posted by Falconetti at 7:39 AM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Killing for peace is like fucking for virginity.”

We will learn this lesson one day.
posted by 724A at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Personality archetypes explain this article, as well as the one yesterday about extremists. We're dealing with the same type of people. In many ways, only the factions they fight for are different. This isn't a commentary on whether the individual factions are right or wrong -- some causes are right and some aren't.

Perhaps though, sitting in your warm home or office and typing on your laptop, you think, what we really need to do is make sure that personality type I'm talking about is delegitimized and removed from humanity.

Now how will you to that, when some of them aren't going to go quietly? Why, you'll have to find people like them, but who agree with your cause.

And there, in one, is exactly the root of so much suffering -- and an insolvable part of the human experience.
posted by wuwei at 8:29 AM on March 6, 2015

You Americans have the watches, but we have the time."

I fell for this article, slave to good writimg that I am. But also, the dialogue rings true, those who have fought, suffered, feared and live to tell about it, speak a common language. Humanity such a multifaced gem stuck in the muck.
posted by Oyéah at 9:41 AM on March 6, 2015

"He didn’t tell me how old his little girl was, the age of a man’s daughter being a sensitive topic."

Is this a muslim thing? Like if you ask how old the daughter is it can be construed as you looking to find yourself a wife?

I don't think it is a Muslim thing, but rather something that is regional. In Arabic class, I was taught that it is generally ill-advised to ask about a man's daughter if she is past puberty, but if she is a child, then it isn't a big deal. I'm not sure how widespread that is.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 5:59 PM on March 6, 2015

One has to ask, why he was there? On whose payroll was he? Who does the resultant propaganda serve? I see this as a humanization of conflict, putting the adversaries both in reach of the reasonable mind, creating the sense this conflict is a well attended event, like a popular movie or a soccer match. Both sides have created a three generation propensity for warring among those immediately afected by conflict. I have been reading in the history of the Middle East, lots of internecine strife, often overrun by outside conquerors.

Some nearby jihadis just went down over the border in Syria, sounds like Turkey is a good place to hide out if you are going to talk turkey. Didn't that US officer just murder those guys he talked with, with words? You wuld think he would protect his sources better. So if this is fiction, it is weaponized fiction. The brave new world of pen as sword.
posted by Oyéah at 9:20 AM on March 7, 2015

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