Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Bad Day in Baghdad

Today was not a good day here in Baghdad. The morning began with a massive truck bomb on the al-Sarafia Bridge, a steel structure built by the British 75 years ago. The bomb dropped the center span of the bridge into the Tigris killing ten Iraqis and injuring 26 more. The blast was so massive that it violently shook our villa, five miles away. I can’t imagine how big this bomb must have been. It is all but impossible to destroy a bridge from above with a car or truck bomb, as the vast majority of the blast wave is directed upward away from the bridge.

The second incident came as a vest bomb exploded at a cafĂ© in the Iraqi Parliament Building killing at least three people. The Parliament Building is located in the International Zone, or as the media like to say, “the heavily fortified Green Zone”.

How can these incidents happen, especially during the “Surge”? The simple, unspoken truth is that the insurgents can reach anywhere and at any time, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Thousands of vehicles and people transit the International Zone every day, moving through a myriad of check points during their journey. Cars are searched, metal detectors and bomb sniffing dogs are in place, ID cards are checked and rechecked. It will not stop a determined and crafty adversary, and these attacks will continue until the political need for them is no longer present.

In short, the insurgents are reading the writing on the wall. They know that it is only a matter of time before coalition forces will be politically forced to leave Iraq. The US Congress is seeing to that. The insurgents are now playing for global public perception. They want show the world that the Coalition is being forced out at gun point; head down in a humiliating defeat. The media will show the troops leaving and all the while the insurgency will continue to attack, keeping the pressure on.

The other choice that the insurgency leadership has is to simply do nothing and the Coalition will still leave. Troops will board planes or trucks and head out of the country. The difference is that it will be obvious to the world that the United States simply gave up, pick up its ball and went home. It will not be viewed by the world as a great defeat at the hands of the Jihadists, but rather an abandonment of course and purpose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Sgt. Eric Jensen
CENTCOM Public Affairs
Electronic Media Engagement Team