1. When Lu was outside with Asaad [Salim] smoking a cigarette and I was inside with the two Kachadoorian women, Nora, who’s now about 30 — she’d been sitting quietly, for the most part, the whole time — didn’t really say anything, just a couple of words here and there. And finally when Lu was outside, she spoke and she said, ‘We want to help them.’ And it was very nice.

    One of the oddities of the story, and there are so many, and I’m not sure what it means, but they’re Christian, for one thing, which makes them a minority in Iraq, some 2 percent of the population … And they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses and they’re very religious — certainly as anyone would be after something like this.

    So every time I asked them about forgiving Lu, or what had happened, or how did they feel about it, or why are they not bitter, because they’re not, they would just default immediately to the Bible, or they would start talking about religion, of God and forgiveness. And it was amazing. You could just see the power of religion at a really micro level. They believed deeply in their religion, and she said — and they said, over and over again, ‘We have to forgive them. This is what God commands us: He’s forgiven us; we must [as well]. And there was no doubt in their mind about it. And the conviction with which they did it was very moving.

    — Filkins on the Kachadoorians forgiving former Marine Lu Lobello

  2. Dexter Filkins

    Fresh Air

    Iraq War

    Lu Lobello

  1. By sending a video, I felt that I could encapsulate more of the emotions I was feeling. I tried to write out something to send to them. I probably made 25 drafts and deleted them all. It just seemed so odd to put on paper. I just didn’t know what to say really, and every time I would read what I just wrote, I thought that it sounded like something I would hate to read if I was them. So eventually I tried to video myself in hopes that it would better show them what I was feeling …

    I introduced myself. I told them of the night that we met, and I told them I was sorry and that I had to speak to them if I could. I told them that they lived so close to me that I had to reach out. It was just too odd to me not to say hello and not to find out how they were doing, to see if I could help them really. I wanted to know if there was something I could do to make their life easier.

    — Former Marine Lu Lobello on the video apology he sent to the Kachadoorians

  2. Fresh Air

    Lu Lobello

    Iraq War

    New Yorker