The bridge linked towns on the eastern side of the bridge, which are Shiite, with those on the western side of to the bridge, which are Sunni Arab. The explosion occurred on the western side of the bridge.
This was at least the fourth successful attack on a bridge in the last two months. Bridges are crucial in central Iraq, where the broad Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their tributaries wind through the countryside. Each attack has hampered commerce and made daily life more difficult for Iraqis.
The first was on April 12, when insurgents blew up one of Baghdad’s bridges over the Tigris on the same day a suicide bomber detonated inside Parliament. Another bridge in Diyala and a bridge to in Mahmudiya have also been attacked.
[. . .]
"Militarily, for the coalition, knocking down the bridge may or may not have significance, because we have other resources, we have 20,000 troops on each side of the river," [Lt.] Colonel [Christopher] Garver said. "But it's inconvenient for the people who live there, and it’s a visible reminder that the insurgents were successful on that day."
The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "Iraqi Parliament Votes to Oust Speaker Who Intimidated Members" in this morning's New York Times. Garver is apparently attempting to be the Zza Zza to Willie Caldwell's Ava as The Gabor Sisters Do The Green Zone. Can US military tanks fly? No, they cannot.
The attacks on bridges are not just happening. They are planned and they are planned for a reason. When one is taken out, traffic is diverted and the attempts throughout Iraq demonstrate that someone's interested in controlling traffic. If the attacks continue to mount and continue to take out bridges, everyone may have to quit pretending that a bomber scanned the landscape and, on impulse, decided, "Hey, I know I'm supposed to place this on a mini-bus, but I think I'll do that bridge instead." This is obviously planned (as the US military knows full well) and the plan (not unlike the US military's walls in Baghdad) is to control the flow and who is able to get where.
Pretending it's not happening doesn't make it stop. And the last thing the Green Zone needs is another Giddy Gabor spinning to the press.
Martha notes, in non-spinning news, Colum Lynch and Joshua Partlow's "Civilian Toll in Iraq At 'Higher Levels': U.N. Report Cites Rise Since Troop Buildup" (Washington Post):
Despite the recent U.S. military buildup in Baghdad, insurgent and militia attacks persist and "civilian casualties continue to mount" in Iraq as a whole, according to a report released Monday by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
The 15-page report, which tracks events in Iraq over the past three months, said U.S.-led efforts to restore calm in Baghdad have progressed "slower than had been hoped for" and that violence has spread to other parts of the country.
The dire security situation has forced the United Nations to scale back its operations in Iraq and to relocate some staff at its headquarters in the U.S.-controlled Green Zone to temporary, reinforced quarters elsewhere within the zone. Citing an increase in rocket fire, Ban has asked the U.N. Security Council for money to construct a costly new headquarters in the walled-off Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi government are housed.
The 'crackdown' has been going on since June of 2006 when the Green Zone was almost breeched. Though each beefed up, souped up version is supposed to be treated ahistorically, that is, in fact, when the Baghdad crackdown began and it is why it began -- Iraqis storming the outer walls. That this version was a failure is only surprising if you're unaware that every version has been a failure.
Turning to independent media, maybe Matthew Rothschild won't have to carry the entire weight of the Iraq war on his shoulder ("Nah-nah-nah-nah, Hey Jude . . .") for big-independent print media? From Joel Bleifuss' "Thicker Than Oil" (In These Times):
Other soldiers go AWOL. In the last two years, desertions from the Army have risen 35 percent.
Luke, Leif and Leo Kamunen deserted on Jan. 2. Luke and Leif, 21-year-old twins, and Leo, their 20-year-old brother, are from the northern Minnesota town of Cloquet. Descendents of Finns, a famously independent ethnic group in the North Woods, the brothers came home on Christmas leave and, unbeknownst to each other, each decided not to return to base.
Leif, whose girlfriend had had a baby, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Halfway through basic training, I didn't want to be there anymore."
Leo explained he met a woman he really liked. "I decided there was no way I could be apart from her for long periods of time when I didn’t feel so strongly about fighting for George Bush's war."
Luke said he overslept and missed his plane. "We saw each other a couple days later, and we're saying, 'What, you didn’t go back, either?' "
For the Kamunens, blood is thicker than oil. And they are not alone in knowing that living at home beats dying in Iraq.
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alissa j. rubin
the washington post