A former first lieutenant in the Iraqi air defense command, he was driving up to the recruiting center to rejoin when the bomb exploded. Now, he said, has no intention of returning. "I'll never go back to this place or the army, no matter what happens to Iraq," he said. "Nothing is worth giving my life for."
"Never, never, never," said Majeed Hameed Mikhlef, 29, who was hospitalized after being wounded in the blast, when asked if he would go back to the center to renew the enlistment application he had submitted. "It is not worth it anymore."
Dhia Kahtan Muhammed, 36, a former warrant officer in the Iraqi army, said from a neighboring hospital bed that he had applied to enlist in a special forces unit but was no longer interested in the job. "I will not go back to that place," he said, "even if they make me a general."
Bashar Mizhar Hamoud, 25, a former sergeant who was hoping to reenlist, said that before the bomb went off, wounding him and so many others, he had received a piece of paper ordering him to return June 26 for processing. "But after this, I am not going back," he said from his hospital bed. "I have had enough."
Not quite as inspiring as "Give me liberty, or give me death," or as memorable as "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."
But lest you think that the article was being less than objective, they did include one last quote:
Capt. Mohammed Imad, a 30-year-old civil defense officer, said that despite the attacks, he would persist in his job. "If I quit, who is going to stop these attacks?" he said. "If we quit, only terrorists will have jobs in Iraq."