In the Arena

The Enemy

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The Times has this description of one of yesterday’s suicide bombers in Iraq:

The woman who blew herself up in Baghdad’s central Karada district on Thursday resembled most of the other women crowded outside a food distribution site that was catering mainly to those displaced by the war.

She wore a black abaya and, like many of the other women, was walking with a child, in her case a young girl, according to Iraqi Army and police officials who interviewed survivors at the scene.

The woman stood out, the witnesses said, only because she began nudging her way through the crowd, which had been waiting patiently for the bags of flour, bottles of cooking oil and other staples that the police were handing out. The witnesses said she tugged the child, who looked about 5 years old, along with her.

Once she reached the center of the crowd, she set off the blast, with explosives that the police believe she hid under her flowing clothes.

To put this in perspective, the level of violence in Iraq is much lower than at any time in recent years. But it is always a good thing to dwell, from time to time, on the human toll of these attacks and on the depraved nature of those who would perpetrate them. There were two more suicide bombings in Iraq today.