A Thousand Deaths
BAGHDAD — No, the title doesn’t refer to a body count. It’s what I’m feeling in my soul. The more I think about this place and yesterday’s attack on the Palestine/Sheraton compound, the more I feel that it’s time to leave here — and that I’m a coward for thinking that.
I don’t want to desert this story. I don’t want to let my friends down. I don’t want to leave my staff, who have bravely stuck by us and who _can’t leave_ like I can. But I also don’t want to die for this story. I’m torn in half over this. I have a macho, “tough it out” mentality about this place while also wondering, “Have I worried my family and friends enough on this?”
I don’t know for sure if yesterday’s attack was aimed specifically at journalists, but if that cement truck had gotten 20-30 feet further in, it might have been powerful enough to bring down a good part of the Palestine Hotel. For sure, westerners were the targets, and whether journalists were just lumped in for good measure is cold comfort.
Just now, about five minutes ago, there has been another huge boom that rolled over the house. We’re not sure where it is, but we’ll know soon. We always do.
I don’t think it’s as big as yesterday’s cement-truck bomb, which was so large that I didn’t even register the sound of the explosion. It was almost a sub-sonic rumble, and then my windows rattled. Everyone here in the house thought it was the wind.
So I don’t know what I’m going to do, but decamping to someplace less hostile is looking more and more necessary. And that just _kills_ me.