Thursday, January 15, 2004


Especially in the car-bomb capital of Iraq.
''If we only knew who was doing this,'' said Hussein, who was handpicked by U.S. military overseers to join the force. He said he and his comrades expected someone would try to harm them because his unit is responsible for defusing bombs discovered in cars and along roadways. Hussein escaped with cuts on his face and legs.

In conversations with store owners and customers in nearby businesses, the prevailing view was that Islamic militants were to blame. Leaflets calling for holy war have been distributed in the city, and the police say they've been warned to quit.

''We all have been warned. We know the risks,'' said Ahmed Mahmoud Ahmed, another officer.

But some townspeople offered explanations rooted in their own political views: It was the Americans shooting from helicopters; it was the Jews, it was a mortar.

Ah yes...that old familiar Arab pathology again.


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