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Blast at U.S. Mess Tent in Iraq – mortar attack or suicide bomber?

U.S. soldiers tend to the wounded after an apparent insurgent mortar attack on a dining facility during lunchtime on FOB Marez in Mosul, Iraq. (Richmond Times-Dispatch / Dean Hoffmeyer)

I’m not putting on a tin-foil hat or anything, it’s just not clear to me what has happened. What is clear is that the Pentagon has no interest in this being caused by a suicide bomber, because that unleashes a whole lot of security questions about how anyone could get inside a mess hall tent to do it.


Initial reports said that a 122 mm rocket ripped through the ceiling of the tent, spraying shrapnel as U.S. soldiers sat down to lunch Tuesday in their Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, some 225 miles north of Baghdad.

But, a radical Sunni Muslim group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said it was a “martyrdom operation” — a reference to a suicide bomber — that targeted the mess hall.

“We are still investigating what caused the explosion,” Capt. Dorren Luke, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said Wednesday.

Later in the story, there are some “bullsh*t detector-ready quotes from Chimpy that are so insulting to the families of the dead and wounded.

President Bush said the explosion should not derail the elections and that he hoped relatives of those killed know that their loved ones died in “a vital mission for peace.”

“I’m confident democracy will prevail in Iraq,” he said.

At the military hospital near Mosul airfield, doctors and orderlies treated dozens of soldiers for burns, shrapnel wounds and damage to their eyes.

“This is the worst we have seen in the 11 months since we have been here,” said Master Sgt. David Scott, chief ward master for the hospital.

If you’re an Iraqi citizen, would you feel comfortable going to the polls when the U.S. cannot even keep its troops safe while they’re getting a hot meal?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding