Click above for the full story, and yes, the horrible pictures...
Back in January, a five-year old boy named Youssif was playing outside in his hometown of Baghdad. His mother was inside and upstairs when she heard a commotion outside. Fearing the worst, she ran down to her front door to check on her son.
She got the worst... Youssif was aflame like a candle.
Miraculously, the child survived. But Youssif's once beautiful face is now horribly scarred.
He remembers the attack and describes how masked men pounced upon him at random, doused him in gasoline, and set him ablaze before running down the street. And he understands exactly what happened. "I was burning," he says. The masked men have not been caught. No one -- it seems -- knows who they are.
War is -- it goes without saying -- hell. People end up in the wrong place, and innocents do get killed. But this... This is beyond the pale. This wasn't an accident. This may not have even been intended as a message; since no one has claimed credit. This was pure evil of the kind rarely seen in Iraq since Saddam's reign.
I realize that the mood of the country is shifting to bring our troops home sooner rather than later. Leaving our men and women in harm's way is hardly a palatable option. But what happened to Youssif is only a taste of what will follow our withdrawal from Iraq. There will be killing fields in Iraq. Youssif, alone for now with his scars, will not stay alone in the wake of a hasty departure of American forces. He will have plenty of company.
And this is why we fight them there... rather than here.