by CBS News –
(July 25, 2003) CBS News — In an exclusive interview with CBS News, three men who claim to have participated in several recent and deadly attacks on US soldiers say they’re not doing it for love of Saddam — but instead for God and their country.
US officials blame “remnants of Saddam’s regime” — “dead enders” they call them — for the unending attacks. “Are any of you former Saddam loyalists? Work for Saddam? Love Saddam?” asked CBS News Correspondent David Hawkins.
The men all shook their heads “no” as a translator said, “They just follow the instruction of Holy Koran.”
“So this is a religious war?” questioned Hawkins. “It’s a holy war?”
“Yes, yes, ” said one man. “We are farmers. We’re Iraqis. This isn’t about politics.”
The three claim to be the ones who attacked a military convoy last week west of Baghdad — an attack that killed one American soldier. A Baghdad gun-runner arranged a meeting with them for CBS News.
“Why do you fight? Why do you attack American soldiers?” Hawkins asked.
“This is occupation, so we fight against the occupation,” said a fighter.
“You’re very upset the Americans are here,” asked Hawkins, “but are you glad Saddam is gone?”
“We feel happy now because we can speak freely, but at the same time we don’t want Saddam neither, or America. We just want the American soldiers to leave our country,” reported the translator.
The Iraqi fighters chose the meeting spot in the middle of the desert — in the middle of nowhere really, because they felt safe there. They said they know the territory well and the Americans don’t. “All of them will die here. We advise them that they have to leave Iraq before they die here,” stated one fighter.
Threats from these men won’t frighten anyone away, but their fanaticism and fervor suggests that they’ll put up a fight — for some time to come.