October 26, 2003

Insurgency Watch The guerrillas in

Insurgency Watch

The guerrillas in Iraq had a really good day today. I think the spin that this attack was in the offing for at least two months and thus Wolfy wasn't the target is bogus. Sure, the attack was being planned for a good while, but the insurgents very likely waited to strike when such a high profile U.S. visitor was staying at the hotel (which leads one to wonder whether some Baathist intelligence agents might be infiltrating coalition information sources).

Kudos to Wolfy for spending the night in Tikrit and then Baghdad--rather than overnighting, like so many other VIPs, in Kuwait City--choppered back to safety at night. But say goodbye to the "small American victory" one might have surmised, symbolically speaking at least, from the Tikrit overnight.

That ended with the multiple rocket attack on the al Rashid hotel. The attack was a real propaganda coup for the guerrillas. A chief architect of the Iraq war overnights in a hotel synonymous with the U.S. occupation. Rockets slam into various floors--including the floor just below where Wolfowitz is sleeping or just beginning his day.

The sophisticated attack will likely be portrayed, at least by the enemies of the U.S. operating in Iraq, as a literal and figurative wake up call to Wolfowitz--and by extension, his higher ups in the Beltway, Rummy and Dubya.

For what it's worth, it's probably B.S. that he was "shaken", as both CNN and the Beeb (on air) reported. Dave Ignatius, who was actually there, says that Wolfy wasn't shaken.

That said, it surely isn't fun to be so woken up around 6 A.M., find a Lt. Colonel is dead and many wounded, and then move along and make a normal day of it. And the footage that went around the world of a pale and tired looking Wolfowitz somewhat grimly enunciating that, you know, we won't be cowed, the criminals will be defeated, etc. etc. had that grainy, historical feel you could almost imagine constituting a brief part of a documentary, produced a few years hence, meant to evoke a period that represented a pivot point in the occupation.

Listen, its been 7 months into this occupation and, truth be told, it's not going too swimmingly. Time to get tougher and smarter. Here's a smart place to start. And yeah, it might mean sending fresh Marine Units in rather than reducing our force presence in Iraq.

UPDATE: Check out this new soldier-blogger writing from Baghdad. Read his post called "Exciting Day." He gets the stakes--but is dubious that the American people will have the wherewithal to pull it out. I'm not so sure I'm as pessimistic as he is--but can understand his frustration. I wouldn't be surprised if this solider wouldn't advocate getting more "boots on the ground", btw.

IN-HOUSE NOTE: I'm thinking of adding, given the massive strategic import of how Iraq plays out to the American national interest, a new links section at B.D. focusing on Iraq (specialized media sources, CPA sources, Iraq media, Iraq-based blogs etc). Readers please chime in if you'd like to see this and I'll try to get one up and running at some point later this week if sufficient interest exists. Oh, and chime in on any other improvements and/or grievances you have about the site, if any.

Posted by Gregory at October 26, 2003 10:57 PM
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