Hearts and minds

Gen. Odierno says complaints about the bombing of Iraq's parliament building provide comfort to the enemy.

Published April 13, 2007 3:30PM (EDT)

In the wake of this week's bombing of the Iraqi parliament building, a Shiite member of parliament told reporters that "nowhere is safe." A Sunni member said that if suicide bombers are able "to reach inside the parliament," then the security plan for Baghdad should now be considered "dead."

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the multinational force in Iraq, was asked about those comments today. His response: Unhappy members of the Iraqi parliament -- the very body the United States is trying to protect and prop up -- are providing comfort to the enemy.

"I think they were very frustrated yesterday," Odierno said. "I mean, it's frustrating when something like that's happened. And we all get frustrated. What I would say to them, though, is all those statements do are encourage insurgents. They encourage al-Qaida. What we have to do is stick hard together, continue to work side by side, again, to provide security to the people. Overall, we are starting to do that. But we are going to have bad days. Frankly, yesterday was a bad day -- a very bad day. But we're going to come back from that. We're going to continue to work this security, we're going to work it with the Iraqis."

As for how a bomber was able to infiltrate the Green Zone in the first place? "Well, I think it's like everything else," Odierno said. "I mean, it's -- something didn't go right."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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