meanwhile, in iraq...
The Washington Post reminds us today that, while fatal attacks on US troops in Iraq are not a daily occurrence, harrassment and interdiction attacks that don't necessarily result in casualties -- and therefore are not reported by the Pentagon -- are "routine."
Because the blast did not result in a death or serious injury, it was not mentioned to reporters by the U.S. military's public information office. But military officials acknowledged that such non-fatal attacks are more widespread than daily casualty figures reflect.
"It's becoming routine," a U.S. military official said. "It's no longer a few isolated incidents."
Such incidents are of growing concern to military commanders, who express fear that assailants will learn from their failures and improve their tactics. Military officials also are worried that a barrage of non-fatal attacks -- estimated by officials at more than a dozen a day in Baghdad -- will sap troop morale and cause people to reevaluate official pronouncements that armed resistance to the U.S. occupation is small and militarily insignificant.
It's extremely unlikely that these attacks will cease of their own accord. Therefore, one of two scenarios is likely: the American leadership succeeds with policies that are effective in reducing the attacks, or they fail, and the attacks continue and perhaps even escalate. From the evidence of the last two months, I am not confident in the ability of the Bush Administration to deal with this long-foreseen problem, and therefore I fear for our soldiers.
And as the Christian Science Monitor points out, the atmosphere of hostility and fear takes its toll on our soldiers even if they manage to avoid getting shot.
On his first weekend home from Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Gilmartin was driving down a sunny highway in Kissimee, Fla., when something suddenly felt very wrong.
In a panic, Sergeant Gilmartin stepped on the brakes of his black Dodge Dakota pickup, jumped out in the middle of the six-lane road and started searching around the truck. Then it registered: He was looking for his M-16 rifle.
"I had basically an anxiety attack," Gilmartin recalled. "I was missing something and needed to do something." A policeman who had served in Vietnam approached Gilmartin and took him to the side of the road to sit for a while.
M4d props to the police officer who helped Sgt. Gilmartin; such a situation could easily have escalated and resulted in violence, an arrest, or both. Once again, the trauma experienced by our forces was entirely predictable. I certainly hope this Administration supports the troops enough to take care of them once they come home. I wish I felt more confident in its ability, or even willingness, to do so.
(CSM link via Eschaton)
Update: Via South Knox Bubba, we learn that the Pentagon said Iraq's infrastructure woes are not the result of poor US planning, but those pesky saboteurs. Which, of course, begs the question of why the US doesn't seem to have a plan to deal with the saboteurs.