Monday, February 07, 2005

Mortar Magnet

Baquba, Iraq

The sound of the latest car bomb in Baquba easily reached FOB Gabe today. During the initial attack, fifteen people were killed and seventeen wounded. There was a second attack with mortars, but no injuries were reported. Although our forces live at this police station, there were no US injuries there today.

During a post about one week ago, I characterized this police station as one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. The Military Police who live there are under constant threat. Every time I go there, I know it's a wonder that our people have not been overrun. Clearly, not for want of trying on the enemy's part--there have been serious firefights at the station. In fact, the last time I spent the night, on election day, the place was rocking.

According to CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Nic Robertson, the "station at Baquba is no ordinary one--it is a joint command and control center, the nerve hub of operations in the area."

It may be all that, but I call it the Mortar Magnet. The American MPs who live there can hardly spackle fast enough to keep the holes filled. Whenever I have stayed the night at the Mortar Magnet, they put me in "The Rocket Room," so named because a large rocket blasted through the wall some months ago and landed in the sleeping area. Luckily, the warhead did not explode. But it certainly added a special ambiance to the place.

The Mortar Magnet isn't really all bad. After a while, the drying spackle starts to look like wallpaper. And the Military Police have a small gym there, with a big screen TV, where they can see themselves under attack on CNN.

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