un bomb blast

As most everybody knows by now, on Tuesday a cement truck filled with explosives was driven by a suicide bomber into UN headquarters in Baghdad. Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN special representative in Iraq, was killed, along with at least 16 other people. More than 50 were injured.

CBS had a camera man in the building when it happened, and there is some extraordinary footage on their website that captures the chaos and panic with visceral immediacy. It’s extremely graphic and upsetting–it literally brought me to tears–so I don’t recommend it for the faint of heart. It’s as close as you can get to the center of that kind of attack, certainly as close as I hope I ever get.

This is the latest in a string of attacks by terrorists on “soft targets” (oil pipelines, embassies, water facilities) in Iraq. Whether these attacks are coming from Baathist loyalists or Al Queda, no one knows. Whether we have created new terrorists by invading Iraq, or these are existing terrorists flocking to a nearby American presence, no one knows.

It seems inappropriate to even think about politics right now, after seeing that footage. For now it’s enough to mourn the dead and mourn living in a world where such sad, stupid horrors occur.