Wednesday, August 07, 2019


It was one of the truisms in Iraq that it would be better to be captured by Shiite guerrillas than Sunni ones. The Mahdi Army guys could be violent, and a lot of them were uneducated, but they seemed to lack the hollow-eyed bloodlust of their Sunni counterparts. Whatever else they were going to do, the Mahdi Army wasn't going to put you in an orange jumpsuit and make a video. During the summer of 2004, my colleague Ed Wong ventured into Sadr City and spent the night with some Mahdi Army fighters. At the time, AC-130s gunships were pounding the Mahdi Army's strongholds; you could hear the cannons going all night. Ed came back the next morning, and everyone asked him how it was. Ed said it went fine. "They spent most of the night trying to figure out how to get the porn channel on their satellite television," he said. We all got a kick out of that.

- From The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

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