But the most revealing and chilling episode featured Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.). He was widely quoted in the initial accounts declaring that he found the Shorja bazaar “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.” Pence later described one rug merchant who kept patting his heart and refused to take his money: “His eyes, like so many others, radiated with affection and appreciation.” Pence said he was “deeply moved” by this.
Well, a National Public Radio reporter returned and found that grateful merchant—and uncovered a quite different story. The carpet seller, Ahmed al-Kurdi, recalled for NPR: “I didn’t accept the money. I said to myself, ‘they must be guests, so I must give them a good impression of Iraqis.’ After all, we are occuped by these Americans — and they are accompanied by a lot of U.S. security.”
Al-Kurdi then said that actually he favored the insurgents: “We are not against the resistance. We are with them.