See this photo? This is the Tigris River in Iraq, where it passes though the city of Al Kut, or Kut. I passed through there on my way from COB Delta to Camp Shocker this winter. I remember being amazed to see so much water. It didn’t seem possible amid the country I’d seen.
At 7:45 a.m. yesterday, according to the New York Times, two car bombs exploded there, killing 35 people and wounding 71 more. Those were just two of 42 intertwined attacks around the country that killed almost 90. It was the most violent days there in a long time.
It is chilling to look at this picture, just one of several I snapped out the window of the MRAP as it drove through Kut, and think how exposed the people there are to the daily violence. Yesterday was a bad day to be an Iraqi living in Iraq. If this level of violence continues many more days will be bad days. Last trip I was behind a blast wall almost the entire time. I may do the same for the next trip, but at some point real reporting requires you to walk among the people, even if some of them want you dead. It’s a terrifying proposition, but that’s where the value comes from of having someone there.
Maybe it comes from having just watched The Killing Fields, but the story can’t always come from the mouths of lieutenant colonels. We’ll see where that idea gets me…