Just Another Day: Living In Baghdad

Lara Logan On How Ordinary Citizen Cope In Iraq's Capital

There is perhaps no place in the world today where it is harder for an average person to get through an average day than in the city of Baghdad. It has become a living hell, with daily car bombs, mortar attacks, hundreds of kidnappings and murders every week.

The problem is, in order for Iraq to have peace and security, the capital must first be made secure, which is why President Bush chose to send in more troops.

As correspondent Lara Logan reports, many in Baghdad fear it is an impossible task, given how chaotic the city has become, with terrorists, insurgents, and now a brutal civil war tearing the society apart.



When Mahmud al Wadi gets ready to take his kids to school, he says, "The first thing I prepare them, I prepare my weapon of course."

There couldn't be a better metaphor for what it's like living in Baghdad today: without his gun, Mahmud won't even attempt the drive.

He calls ahead to friends and neighbors to make sure the roads are clear of danger. And he tells Logan he never goes the same way, changing his route every day.

It's just a short drive, but he can never know how long it will take to get there. He cracks the window so he can hear if there's gunfire or mortars nearby. The day 60 Minutes went with him, they never made it to school – they didn't even make it out of their neighborhood, because the military had blocked all the roads.

Asked if his children are afraid, Mahmud tells Logan, "Believe me, they are afraid. Because when I told them, 'Tomorrow we'll not go to the school.' He will be very, very enjoy about this."

The only time his children ever really get to leave the house is to go to school. Otherwise they stay home.

"What kind of life is that?" Logan asks.

"No life," Mahmud says.

Mahmud's family lives on the edge of Adamiya, a violent neighborhood overtaken by hardcore insurgents and under constant attack by Shiite militias. It's off-limits to Western civilians, so the images for Logan's report were filmed by an Iraqi cameraman.

For the interview, the family had to come meet 60 Minutes, traveling across town for the first time in three years – a risk they said was worth taking to tell their story.

Asked about his daily life in Iraq, Mahmud tells Logan, "If I want to talk about this, I don't need 60 minutes, I need 60 million minutes to told you how do we live."

60 Minutes went with Mahmud, who lives off his small military pension, to see what it takes to do a simple chore like getting gas for his car.

What drivers in Baghdad face are massive queues; on the day 60 Minutes accompanied Mahmud, the queue at the gas station stretched for four miles. Sometimes, Mahmud says, he has had to wait in line for three days, sleeping there and waiting.

"And then when I come they say there is no fuel," he tells Logan.

But none of these hardships compare to the fear he has for his family, in a country where civilians – even children – are victims of kidnappings, or worse.

"When they take my boy, just they will kill him," Mahmud fears. "But when they take girl, no. They do other thing maybe."

Mahmud fears they will rape her which, he says, would be worse than killing her – because, in Iraq's Muslim culture, rape of a daughter brings shame on the victim and the whole family.

  • Daniel Schorn

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