Iraq: Ominous warning now grim reality


Mark Follman
October 14, 2004 6:59PM (UTC)

There wasn't much mention of the war in last night's debate. In the few moments that he did mention it, President Bush stayed strictly on message: "I have the right view in winning the war on terror," he said from the stage in Tempe. "My plan will succeed in Iraq."

But the picture in Iraq continues to darken. For more than a month there have been warnings that even Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone was no longer safe, including a chilling message distributed by the U.S. Consul on October 6 warning American civilian personnel that terrorists had infiltrated the U.S. stronghold and had placed a bomb in the Green Zone Café.

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From the Times this morning:

"Five people were killed today when two separate explosions were set off inside the heavily-controlled Green Zone in central Baghdad, an American military spokesman said. Three Americans were among the dead, the spokesman said.

"The first blast was set off by a suicide bomber near a cafe. The second occurred in or near a bazaar, or market area, a spokesman for the First Cavalry Division, Maj. Philip J. Smith, said by telephone from Baghdad. It was unclear whether that blast also involved a suicide bomber."

The attacks are not a good sign that the U.S. is winning the battle for hearts and minds, or that there is even a clear idea, a full year and a half after U.S. forces seized Baghdad, of who the enemy is. As the Times also notes, "the Green Zone is home to the the United States military, the interim Iraqi government and a number of embassies. But it is also home to 'thousands of Iraqis,' Major Smith said."


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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