Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Friday, March 17, 2006
On Being Changed
This is an excerpt of a blog post by Richard Engel of NBC News who is reporting from Baghdad. This story was told to him by his Iraqi friend and assistant:
"I was on line giving blood. You know there have been a lot of attacks in Sadr City and people were crowded giving blood. I saw this man. We are all crowded at the door and he said he wanted to go inside and join his brother giving blood. But people must have suspected him. Suddenly, two men grabbed him by the arms, one holding each arm." He held out his arms to show me how the man was restrained.

"They (Mahdi Army militiamen) took off his jacket and found he was wearing an explosives belt. It was crowded outside, but this man had to go INSIDE to kill even more people. He could have done it outside, but no, he wanted to kill more."

"Then what?" I asked.

"They (Mahdi Army) took him, and put a blindfold around his head."

"And the man, the would-be bomber, what was he doing?" I wanted to know.

"He kept saying, ‘Just kill me. I want to die. Kill me.’"

"And after that?"

"They put him on his knees and shot him twice in the head. I felt sorry for him, even though he was a terrorist. He was put on this earth by God."


He watched as the Mahdi militiamen hung the body of the executed man for public display, and said he didn’t sleep well for two days.

"This is the worst it has been in Baghdad, Richard," he told me, and I take him at his word.
If you want to get a sense of how people are being changed in Iraq, go read the whole post.