I happened to be few miles away from the terrible bomb blasts that went off in central Baghdad on Sunday, but I first became aware of them when word spread around the conference room in the U.S. embassy, where I was being briefed.
This reminds me of what I learned long ago in Iraq: acts of violence that occur a few blocks away might as well be a world away. Once again, I learned the details from CNN, just as observers back in the U.S. did. I did not feel the roar of the explosion, nor see the smoke. Nor, I should add, did the vast majority of Baghdadis, much less of Iraqis. That is not meant to minimize the horror of what happened or to downplay its significance. It is simply to place it in some context and urge readers not to lose sight of the big picture: Attacks are still down to their lowest level since 2003-2004. Life has returned to a semblance of normality in Baghdad and other areas. A few high-profile attacks — this one or the one in August — do not change the fundamental, day-to-day reality of life getting better.
I will have more to say on this in the future, but for now I have to get my body armor and head for the Black Hawks to take a trip to southern Iraq.