No Place Is Safe; Life in Baghdad: Some Suicide Bombings Don't Even Get Headlines Anymore

By Nordland, Rod; Contreras, Joseph et al. | Newsweek International, October 4, 2004 | Go to article overview

No Place Is Safe; Life in Baghdad: Some Suicide Bombings Don't Even Get Headlines Anymore


Nordland, Rod, Contreras, Joseph, Conant, Eve, Nadeau, Barbie, Flynn, Emily, Pape, Eric, Newsweek International


Byline: Rod Nordland (With Joseph Contreras in Baghdad, Eve Conant in Washington, Barbie Nadeau in Rome, Emily Flynn in London and Eric Pape in Paris)

Bricks and plaster blew inward from the wall, as the windows all shattered and I fell to the floor--whether from the shock wave, or just fright, it wasn't clear. The blast was so loud it sounded as if the building couldn't possibly stand, but it did. Toaster-size chunks of twisted metal fell in the yard and banged off the roof; later they'd be identified as pieces of a U.S. Army Humvee, blown up by a suicide car-bomb a full block away. No one was hurt in that building, which had been heavily blast-protected. But out on the street, 18 people perished, including one U.S. soldier; another three grunts were seriously burned and several children at a nearby Iraqi house were injured. Among the dead were three Iraqis who were incinerated in their car--which was so badly mangled it took wailing relatives more than a day to extract their corpses.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the incident was that it scarcely made the news. It was just another among a recent surge of terrorist attacks, one of two suicide car-bombs that day in the Mansour neighborhood of Baghdad. Besides, everyone was focused on the discovery of the headless corpse of American Jack Hensley, 48, found floating in the Tigris River. Gruesome videos of Hensley's beheading and that of fellow American Eugene (Jack) Armstrong, 52, played on Islamic Web sites. Armstrong's body was later dropped off only five blocks from his home, also in upscale Mansour.

In a way that bombs and bullets don't, the agony of the 23 hostages now being held by insurgents hits hard with Westerners here. It's not difficult to imagine yourself blindfolded and kneeling in a jihadi snuff film. The 140 hostages taken since April include a score of nationalities and people of many professions. Truck drivers, journalists, missionaries, businessmen--all have been targets. Many hostages have been released, but not recently. Of 28 people killed, 24 had their final screams recorded on tape and bandied about the Web. It's a form of terrorism that's deeply personal and, as in Beirut in the 1980s, disproportionately effective.

The day after Hensley's body was found, his surviving colleague, Briton Kenneth Bigley, 62, was shown in a video as he wept and pleaded with his prime minister. "Please, please," he said, "I need you to help me, Mr. Blair, you are the only one who can help me. I need to live, I want to live..." His captors are from the Tawhid and Jihad group, led by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist with Qaeda ties. It was apparently Zarqawi--identified by the CIA from a voiceprint--who had personally cut the Americans' throats as they struggled and screamed; he then severed their heads and held them up for a bloody close-up--in one case, casually gouging out the victim's eye. Later another group, calling itself Followers of Zawahiri (after the Qaeda No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri), boasted that they had beheaded two Italian antiwar activists, Simona Pari and Simona Toretta, who had been snatched from their Baghdad home on Sept. 7. But no film emerged, and Italian officials said they believed the claim to be a hoax.

Throughout Italy, people hung white sheets from their windows in reply to a Vatican appeal to show solidarity with the two Simonas. In Britain, Bigley's extraordinary plea stirred up strong antiwar feelings, putting Blair in an awkward position on the eve of Labour's party conference. "I feel desperately for Kenneth Bigley and his family," said the conservative opposition leader, Michael Howard. "And I feel for Blair, too, who is in the most unenviable predicament." Blair telephoned Bigley's family twice to express his sympathy, but refused to give in to Zarqawi's demands.

That same day in Washington, President George W. Bush only mentioned the beheadings in passing, as he shared a podium with Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi at the White House Rose Garden. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

No Place Is Safe; Life in Baghdad: Some Suicide Bombings Don't Even Get Headlines Anymore
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.