By Lex, on Thu – May 5, 2005
By now, being who you are, you’ve seen that picture from Mosul. The one of the dying Iraqi child , being held by the Army major.
Read on then.
Click on the picture for hi-res, if you can stand it.
It’s a moment frozen in time – she’s not dead yet in the photo, but she’s dying. In the photo it hasn’t happened yet, she’s still warm, in pain, wondering why, how this came to be, how long will it last. In the real world it has already happened, she’s cold, covered in dirt – it’s over. In the photo she’s preserved forever in those critical moments between circling the Stryker, hoping for some candy, and bleeding to death in the major’s arms on the way to the hospital.
Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers.
She isn’t one of his – not his child, not of his country – but he cares for her. You can almost feel his tears wetting her skin. You can almost sense her knowing through the fog of pain that someone was there to care, someone close, all the way to the end. All the way to where the pain stops, and it’s over, the last sudden breath exhaled. The lungs quieted, folding wetly, the heart tap-tapping for a moment or two more. And then stopping.
What kind of army is it that gets angry and wishes only that they had been attacked a few blocks down, away from the children? Who are these men? Where do they come from? Why do we deserve them?
And for the attacker? The child was one of his, a countryman, a co-religionist. He had every reason to care what happened to her, and all the others with her. But he didn’t. What kind of man doesn’t care that the children are there? Who either doesn’t see them, or smiles grimly, considering it an advantage to his cause?
Who is it, that seeing this, cannot distinguish between imperfect good and nearly perfect evil? Who can see this and not choose sides?
God rest her and keep her, and hold her close. Her and all the others. All the innocents.
For those who would be the authors of such mindless hatred? Those that would take videos and post them as recruitment tools? Those who would race to claim credit for having killed children? We know them now. And we will hunt them to the ends of the earth, tear them out, root and branch.
Root and branch.