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Faces of war

Editor's note: Warning to readers: this post contains graphic content.

Sunday I met the suicide bomber who attacked our bureau nearly two weeks ago.  At least I saw him.  The encounter was macabre, but not unusual in Baghdad these days. I saw the bomber's face, curled up like a piece of leather parchment on the pavement in front of our bureau. It was a flap of skin with eye holes, the nose and half a mouth. It had been blown into a tree during the bombing and then dislodged yesterday by a bird. (We buried it in a bed of flowers near the bureau Monday morning. The local guards didn't want to bury it at night, fearing that would bring bad luck.) 

Then I went inside and began to prepare for the Saddam trial. Oddly, it wasn't the only face I'd seen recently. Last month after another suicide bombing I saw another face -- of the bomber or a victim, I don't know. It was stuck to a shrapnel-pocked wall like a mask. I started to talk about the odd coincidence with another reporter -- seeing two faces, who would have thought? We traded stories for a few minutes, one more grotesque than the next. I think it occurred to us at about the same time: "What happened to our sensitivity? Our humanity?"