Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The Kirkuk primary begins

The Kirkuk primary begins — with the assassination of a Sadrist leader. In other Iraq news, two guys planting a bomb in Mosul blew themselves up. Poetic justice, right? Sort of. But it reminds me of a day in Baghdad when  some guys who had been firing mortar shells to near where I was were ...

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The Kirkuk primary begins -- with the assassination of a Sadrist leader.

In other Iraq news, two guys planting a bomb in Mosul blew themselves up.

The Kirkuk primary begins — with the assassination of a Sadrist leader.

In other Iraq news, two guys planting a bomb in Mosul blew themselves up.

Poetic justice, right? Sort of. But it reminds me of a day in Baghdad when  some guys who had been firing mortar shells to near where I was were killed when a shell detonated in their tube. I was surprised and a bit taken aback at the glee I felt at this turn of events. An Iraqi I worked with warned me against taking pleasure in such events, saying that by giving way to such feelings we give up some of our humanity. He told me about his brother, a policeman, who had gotten so accustomed to violent death that one day, after collecting body parts at bombed market, swung his official pickup truck by his home for lunch — only to have his young son, pleased to unexpectedly see his father at midday, jump up into the bed of the police pickup, and land in the parts.

kurdistan/Flickr   

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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