The suicide bombers who have killed 10,000 people in Iraq, including hundreds of U.S. troops, usually were alienated young men from large families who were desperate to stand out from the crowd, according to a U.S. military study.
According to the summary, interrogators concluded that most foreign fighters are Sunni Muslim men from 18 to 30, with the mean age of 22. They are almost always single males with no children and tend to be students or hold blue-collar jobs ranging from taxi drivers to construction and retail sales.
Most have had six to 12 years of schooling, and very few have gone to college. A majority have come from families in the poor or middle classes and have six to eight siblings.
"In these large family groups, individuals seek ways to 'make their mark,' to set them apart. In many ways, entering jihad gives sons a way to show themselves unique in a large family," the summary said.
More than half of the about 240 foreign fighters in U.S. custody came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria, according to figures provided separately by the military. Smaller numbers were recruited in Jordan, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. There also are several hundred foreign fighters in Iraqi custody.
Al-Qaida in Iraq recruiters troll mosques for potential fighters — impoverished young men who are believed to be at odds with their family or angry at the West, the military summary says.
"They befriend them, usually by saying that they are praying wrong and offering to correct it." They then offer to help them with Quran studies, and that is the start of their indoctrination into the jihadi philosophy.
OK - We have identified the source and the social conditions that make these guys ripe for the picking. What if we broke that chain?
How about recruiting in Saudi Arabia ourselves, giving these guys a pretty uniform, a nice place to live in the States (or someplace under our control) while training, and education beyond memorizing the Koran and a nice bonus after 4 years. If we can hook them up with some nice muslim girl who doesn't hate America that would be good too.
I just can't believe that the US can't accomplish something that basic.