BAGHDAD – Michael J. Totten is an independent journalist reporting on the war in Iraq. Here is a portion of his latest journal entry provided exclusively for FOXNews.com.
Iraqis who are not American citizens and who work as interpreters for the American military cover their faces when they work outside the wire. Mahdi Army militiamen and Al Qaeda terrorists accuse of them of collaboration with the enemy. They and their families are targets for destruction.
Here is the story of one such interpreter who works with the 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad. He calls himself “Hammer.”
Michael J. Totten (MJT): Why do you have to cover your face?
Hammer: To protect my family. My family lives in Iraq. If they go to the U.S. I won’t have to do it. But I don’t want anyone to know me, to follow me and see where I live and kill my wife and son.
MJT: How did you feel when the U.S. invaded Iraq?
Hammer: Happy. It was like I was living in a jail and somebody set me free. I don’t want Saddam ruling me. Never. I was just waiting and waiting for this moment.
MJT: What do you think about the possibility of Americans leaving?
Hammer: It is like bad dream. Very bad dream. A nightmare. Worse than that. Like sending me back to jail. Like they set me free for four years then sent me back to jail or gave me a death sentence.
MJT: Tell us about living under Saddam Hussein.
Hammer: It was crazy life, like feeling safe inside a jail. If they sent you to an actual jail nothing changed. They arrested everyone, literally everyone, for no reason and sent them to jail for two weeks just so they could see the jail.
I went there three times. The first time because I worked for a movie company. They sent all of us to jail. It had nothing to do with me.
I was given a three year sentence. My family has money, so I paid the judge $50,000. I gave it directly to the judge, plus four new tires for his car and a satellite TV. He gave me a three-month sentence instead of a three-year sentence. He scratched “3 years” off my sentence and wrote “3 months” in by hand.
They sent me to Abu Ghraib. I saw so many things. If you want me to talk about that I would need a whole newspaper.
MJT: Is there a solution to the problem in this country?
Hammer: Nuke Iraq.
MJT: Be serious.
Hammer: I am serious. If you screen all Iraqis, 5 million of them would be good people. Clear them out, then kill everyone else. Syria and Iran would surrender. [Laughs.]
Right now they see 100 corpses every day in the streets. It’s not okay to kill the bad people who do that?
OK, if you want a serious solution try this:
Charge money to the families of insurgents. Fine them huge amounts of money if anyone in their family is captured or killed and identified as an insurgent. Make them pay. You can put it into law. Within one week they won’t do anything wrong because they want money. Their familes will make them stop.
The militias pay them $100 to set up IEDs. Fine them thousands of dollars if they are caught and their families will make them stop. Give them that law. Go ahead. Try it.