Somewhere in a far off country, someone is walking along minding his own business when a car bomb goes off beside him. Recent news is the fighting going on in Najaf.

A French journalist had witnessed an American soldier treat an Iraqi with such humiliation and disrespect, the fighting in Najaf was the most highly probable result. With a baton, the soldier had poked the behind of an Iraqi colonel, a respected man in the eyes of his army, telling him to get at the end of the line. The problems in Iraq are indeed complicated, and the “washing off” of humiliation is the issue here, as it was in Falluja.

Americans. Who do they think they are?

__ “For Fallujans it is a shame to have foreigners break down their doors. It is a shame for them to have foreigners stop and search their women. It is a shame for the foreigners to put a bag over their heads, to make a man lie on the ground with your shoe on his neck. This is a great shame, you understand? This is a great shame for the whole tribe.

“It is the duty of that man, and of that tribe, to get revenge on this soldier, to kill that man. Their duty is to attack them, to wash the shame. The shame is a stain, a dirty thing; they have to wash it. No sleep–we cannot sleep until we have revenge. They have to kill soldiers.”

He leaned back and looked at me, then tried one more time. “The Americans,” he said, “provoke the people. They don’t respect the people.” —

What is America Asking For?
Who are Iraq’s Mehdi Army?
American Intelligence Personnel Also Involved in Abu Ghraib Abuse
Why It’s Different in Basra