January 18, 2009
MICHAEL YON on attacks in Kabul.
UPDATE: A reader whose wife is in Kabul emails:
Please don’t use my name, or my wife’s name – she’d be in big trouble. I just wanted to confirm, very first hand, the Kabul attack.
The attack is exactly as described. My wife called shortly after to tell me the explosion went off about 200 yards from her office, but that she was fine. She works for the Army Corps of Engineers as a civilian and is currently deployed to Kabul. Here are the facts as she experienced them:
1. The bomb went off just outside the German Embassy, which is just outside the gate of the compound she is on – within 200 yards of her office.
2. While it was a big explosion, it was not even close to the size she experienced in Baghdad four years ago. As suicide attacks go, this was pretty weak.
3. There were a mix of military and civilian deaths and injuries and some aftermath injuries to rescuers – she thinks the numbers are getting mixed together, but they seem accurate from what she saw.
4. The immediate reports on CNN, FOX, etc. were largely accurate – there is also video from immediately after the attack on AP and other organizations.
5. Security in that area of Kabul is excellent. She is actually more afraid of the frequent earthquakes that happen there.
6. No one on her compound was injured and she didn’t know the people that were killed or injured.
The local feeling is that this is an isolated incident and that it must have been pretty hard to get a bomb to that area and it is unlikely to happen again. Basically, a lucky shot with a fairly small device. They were probably aiming for the general area, as it is the Army Corps offices, the German Embassy and a school that admits girls all in the general area. It is hard to tell the exact target and whether it was a political statement or some weird version of an honor killing.
The funny/infuriating part is that FOX, CNN and CNN Headline were all talking about the inauguration and barely mentioned the attack. It seems significant because it is unusual and US service members were killed in what is generally a safe area, but no one seemed to care. It was hard for me to find information about it. My wife was told not to talk to the press or anyone about it and tell them to watch CNN for information. Yet another indication that the press is failing – I got 100% of my information on-line, from raw video footage and could have posted quite a bit about it if I were a more active blogger.
Obviously, the answer is to be a more active blogger. And, yeah, “news” is what fits the current narrative, not just what’s happening. If the narrative were “Bush losing in Afghanistan” instead of “Hope and Change come to America,” it would have led on every program.