On Reporting In Iraq

NPR’s Ivan Watson recounts his (and three colleagues’) narrow escape from a “sticky bomb” placed under their car on Sunday “during a brief NPR reporting trip to western Baghdad’s battle-scarred Rabiye Street.”

And at the New York Times’s Baghdad Bureau blog Abeer Mohammed, an Iraqi Times reporter, writes up the grim scene of a double bombing at the Iraqi Police training academy in Baghdad on Monday.

There was a combat boot drowned in blood.

While I was making interviews and trying to get more details about the explosion the other part of my brain was very busy thinking about the other boot. Was it in a hospital or in a grave?

UPDATE: And yet. With “car bombings…down to one or two a day,” the Washington Post’s Mary Beth Sheridan reports on Iraqi women slowing returning to the road or, in some cases, learning to drive for the first time which, in Baghdad, requires some specific skills:

The cousins’ driving lesson offered a glimpse of the obstacle course that Baghdad’s motorists encounter. Ahmed slid behind the wheel of a red Daewoo subcompact, next to al-Riyadh’s ace driving instructor, 71-year-old Ismail Kareem Ismail. She pulled out onto Palestine Street, a bustling six-lane commercial strip. Within a few blocks, the traffic was funneled through one of the many checkpoints maintained by the growing Iraqi police force.

“When you approach a checkpoint, put it in first gear,” the driving instructor advised….

“With the blast walls, you have to gauge the space,” the instructor explained. Ahmed slowly guided the tiny car between the giant walls — and stalled.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.