Sen. John McCain's recent leisurely stroll through a safe Baghdad market, as told by Iraqi merchants at that market:
"They were just making fun of us and paid this visit just for their own interests," he said. "Do they think that when they come and speak few Arabic words in a very bad manner it will make us love them? This country and its society have been destroyed because of them and I hope that they realized that during this visit."
Thamir said "about 150 U.S. soldiers and 20 Humvees" accompanied the delegation.
The delegation was accompanied by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and followed his lead in taking off their helmets as they bought souvenirs and drank tea.
"I didn't care about him, I even turned my eyes away," Thamir said. "We are being killed by the dozens everyday because of them. What were they trying to tell us? They are just pretenders."
Karim Abdullah, a 37-year-old textile merchant, said the congressmen were kept under tight security and accompanied by dozens of U.S. troops.
"They were laughing and talking to people as if there was nothing going on in this country or at least they were pretending that they were tourists and were visiting the city's old market and buying souvenirs," he said. "To achieve this, they sealed off the area, put themselves in flak jackets and walked in the middle of tens of armed American soldiers."
More from Newsweek's blog :
Agence France Presse on Sunday quoted an Iraqi official who reported a 15 percent increase in violence across Iraq in March. According to their tally, 2,078 civilians, cops and soldiers were killed last month, 272 more fatalities than in February. In any case, it didn't take the insurgents long to send their reply. Less then 30 minutes after McCain wrapped up, a barrage of half a dozen mortars peppered the boundaries of the Green Zone, where the senators held their press conference.