The Bush Administration predicted that the Iraqi people were going to receive US troops with open arms, not take up arms against them. It didn't play out that way. Insurgency --largely by Iraqi citizens --changed everything.
"Good morning, gentlemen," a security contractor in shirt-sleeves said crisply late last week, launching into a security briefing in what amounts to a reconstruction war room in Baghdad's Green Zone, home to much of the Iraqi government.
A screen overhead detailed the previous day's 70 or so attacks on private, military and Iraqi security forces. The briefer noted bombs planted in potholes, rigged in cars, hidden in the vests of suicide attackers. There were also mortar attacks and small-arms fire. The briefer also noted miles of roads rendered impassable or where travel was inadvisable owing to attacks, and some of the previous day's toll in terms of dead and wounded.
To one side, a TV monitor scrolled out the day's news, including McCoy's remark to reporters that December was the worst month on record for Iraqi contractors working on reconstruction, with more killed, wounded or kidnapped than during any other month since the U.S. invasion.
[Contains excerpts of an article by Ellen Knickmeyer, Washington Post]