Sunday, March 25, 2007

And every extra day in Bush War II means more of the same.

Newsweek has a very sad report on some of the people who make up the daily Iraqi death toll. Too often they are just numbers to us. This brings some of their humanity to us.
Jawad Jasem, 44, was serving a customer at his pushcart outside the courthouse when the bomb exploded. The son of a poor Shia farmer, Jasem had wanted to be an engineer. When he was 18, family friends got him into the Air Force, where he earned good money working on jets—until the Army, desperate for infantrymen in the war with Iran, sent him to the front. He was wounded four times. He was not allowed to return to civilian life after the war, even though he had a wife and five children. "He used to tell everyone that the last day of his military service would be the happiest day of his life," says his younger brother, Kareem, a shopkeeper. "He said he'd celebrate with a great party in which he would make a feast for the entire city."

It didn't turn out that way. His last day of duty was April 8, 2003, when U.S. troops entered Baghdad. Jawad was among thousands of Iraqi soldiers who stripped off their uniforms and fled.

He started over, buying his pushcart and setting up in front of the courthouse. He built a good business. It was a predominantly Shia neighborhood, but the bomber killed members of both sects indiscriminately. "Evil has no eyes," says Kareem Jasem. "Jawad's shop had turned into just a big hole ... and his body was smashed into a wall."...

For Suhad Shakir, 36, her new job was a dream come true. She had always wanted to work with Americans, and she loved helping people. Last September she quit her post as a journalist at state-owned TV and jumped at an opening with the Iraqi Assistance Center, a Coalition-run office in the Green Zone that works with U.S. and Iraqi agencies to provide social services. It seemed safer than reporting, and it paid better.

On Feb. 4 she was on her way to work, waiting in the queue at a checkpoint near an entrance to the Green Zone which is often targeted by suicide bombers. Shakir was in the slow lane, for Iraqi cars that are subject to careful searches. A convoy of armored vehicles came roaring up and got stuck at the checkpoint. One of the bodyguards in the first vehicle threw a bottle of water at the driver in front of Shakir to signal him to move. The driver panicked and backed into Shakir's car. She tried to get out of the way but backed into the car behind her. Someone aboard the fourth vehicle in the convoy, seeing Shakir's sudden move, opened fire, hitting her once. The vehicle slowed and a goateed Westerner in khaki leaned out his window and shot her again in the face at close range. Then the convoy raced off into the Green Zone.

Iraqi cops think Shakir's killer mistook her for a suicide bomber, but they say they're continuing to investigate. "It is very important I know why she is killed and who killed her," said Shakir's mother, Salima Kadhim, dressed in black a month after her daughter's death. Like many Iraqis, she still waits.
Just people trying to live a normal life, support their families and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Well Done, Georgie!


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