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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
(11:25 AM) | Stephen:
What Are We Doing Here?

13 killed in Najaf suicide car bombing; 10 killed in Baghdad attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Attackers in Iraq's southern Shiite city of Najaf and the capital of Baghdad on Wednesday killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens, authorities in Iraq said.

A suicide car bomb in Najaf exploded at a police checkpoint a half mile from the Imam Ali Shrine, killing at least 13 people and wounding 34, police said. Six police were killed and five were wounded.

In other incidents Wednesday, officials said: Four mortars that hit a neighborhood in western Baghdad killed at least three civilians and wounded at least 10; two soldiers were killed and three were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near Jadriya bridge in southern Baghdad; two civilians were killed and seven were wounded when a car bomb laced with poisonous gas exploded near a hospital in southwestern Baghdad's Bayaa neighborhood Wednesday; a car bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in Baghdad's Sadr City, killing at least three people and wounding 30.

In addition, a parked car bomb targeting a U.S. patrol detonated in western Baghdad's Amiriya neighborhood. The area was sealed off by the U.S. military. It was not immediately known if there were coalition casualties. There were no Iraqi casualties. --CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) -- All Nathan Moore says he wanted to do was smoke pot and get drunk with his friends.

Killing Rex Baum was never part of the plan that day in 2004.

"It all started off as a game," Moore said.

The 15-year-old and his friends were taunting the homeless man -- throwing sticks and leaves -- after having a couple of beers with him.

No big deal, Moore says, but he's sorry for what came next.

It was a mistake, he said, a sudden primal surge that made him and his friends Luis Oyola, 16, and 17-year-old Andrew Ihrcke begin punching and kicking Baum.

"Luis says 'I'm gonna go hit him,' We're all laughing, thought he was joking around,'" but he wasn't, Moore concedes. "We just all started hitting him."

They hurled anything they could find -- rocks, bricks, even Baum's barbecue grill -- and pounded the 49-year-old with a pipe and with the baseball bat he kept at his campsite for protection.

Ihrcke smeared his own feces on Baum's face before cutting him with a knife "to see if he was alive," Moore said.

After destroying Baum's camp, the boys left the homeless man -- head wedged in his own grill -- under a piece of plastic where they hoped the "animals would eat" him.

Then, Moore says, they took off to grab a bite at McDonald's.

Today is Wednesday, February 21, 2007.

Today is Ash Wednesday.

Today we are in the wilderness, the desert of our own making.

Today we mourn for what we have done to ourselves and to each other.

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