On October 23, 2006 a U.S. soldier or marine peered through the telescopic sight of his M24 sniper rifle and trained it on the face of Nora, a five-year-old Iraqi girl. Her pretty face was close enough to kiss. Instead, he squeezed the trigger and sent a 7.62 round slamming into her skull. The medical report read, “Nora sustained an explosive bullet injury to her head that smashed the skull bones and ruptured her cerebral membrane.” Nora survived the sniper’s bullet.
During the battle for Falluja in 2004, U.S. snipers positioned themselves on rooftops covering the entrance to the only hospital still in operation, creating what locals called “sniper alley.” Iraqi men, women, and children seeking medical treatment were fired on. Ambulances delivering patients and supplies were fired on. Unlike Nora, many did not survive the sniper’s bullet.
On May 30, 2006 Nabiha Nisaif Jasiam and her cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassen were shot from behind by a U.S. sniper as they drove to Samarra General hospital. Nabiha was about to deliver her third child. Neither survived the sniper’s bullet.
No U.S. president or general or lowly lieutenant acknowledged, much less apologized, for these illegal and immoral shootings. No sniper was held accountable.
On May 19 the commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, Maj. General Jeffrey Hammond, apologized to community leaders and imams from the Baghdad neighborhood of Radhwaniya after it was discovered that a U.S. sniper used a copy of the Quran for target practice.
Gen. Hammond told the angry crowd, “I come before you here seeking your forgiveness. In the most humble manner . . . I say please forgive me and my soldiers. The actions of one soldier were nothing more than criminal behavior.”
Sheikh Hamadi al-Qirtani, speaking for the tribal sheiks of Radhwaniya, called the sniper’s behavior “aggression against the entire Islamic world.” The Association of Muslim Scholars condemned “this heinous crime against God’s book” and warned Gen. Hammond, “God preserves his book and [is] the Great Avenger.”