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View Full Version : CNN special on mess hall bombing in Iraq.



jizzmonkey
03-02-2007, 01:23 AM
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Bomb's impact still felt two years later

Editor's note: CNN Correspondent Tom Foreman uncovers the "The Lion in the Village" tonight on "Anderson Cooper 360," 11 p.m. ET.

http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2004/WORLD/meast/12/22/iraq.main/story.2.mosul.attack.jpg.jpgA wounded soldier is carried from the mess hall in Mosul, Iraq, after the December, 2004, attack that killed 22.

Suicide bombings, once virtually unknown in Afghanistan, are happening with increasing frequency. In Iraq, the supply of men willing to blow themselves up to hurt the Coalition troops seems almost endless.

And now, I am convinced, one terrible event may have been a critical catalyst for all the suicide bombings that have followed.

For the past couple of months, producer Amanda Townsend and I have been investigating the suicide bombing that rocked a military mess hall tent in Mosul, Iraq, just over two years ago. That blast killed 22 people and injured 69 people, among them soldiers and civilians, Americans and Iraqis. But just as important, it may have shown the insurgents just how hard they could hit the Americans if they were cunning and patient enough.

Our investigation unearthed parts of the still secret military investigation, and among the findings:

Military Intelligence had discovered not one single clue before the bombing to suggest an attack was in the works, even though the insurgent group behind it, Ansar Al-Sunna, was well-known, and extremely active in the area.
More than two years after the blast, investigators say they still don't know for sure who the bomber was, or how he got through guards at the base gate, past hundreds of soldiers on the base, and into the heart of mess tent undetected.My desk and shelves and the floor of my office here a few blocks from the Capitol are covered with the record of this bombing. Endless, shifting piles of interviews, soldiers' notes, letters, diary entries, photos, satellite images and official reports. And for weeks I have gone through them over and over again, often until four or five in the morning.

It is not just a matter of looking for facts. It is a matter of looking for the complete story of a terrible day. In the process, we have uncovered never before seen video and accounts of courage that show American soldiers doing their best while faced with the worst. We are calling our story, "The Lion in the Village." (Watch soldiers describe what happened that day (http://javascript<b></b>:cnnVideo('play','/video/bestoftv/2007/03/01/cooper.lions.promo.cnn', '2007/03/15');))

With the help of TAPS (http://www.taps.org/), a wonderful and compassionate organization for military families who have suffered a fatality, I have been visiting with the families of one particular group hit very hard in the blast: The Strykers from Ft. Lewis, Washington.

They were, and are, one of the great success stories of the war. The Strykers, who use a new state of the art vehicle made for urban combat, have proven remarkably skilled at pursuing and punishing the insurgents. And six of them were lost in that one terrible moment: William Jacobsen, Julian Melo, Jonathan Castro, Lionel Ayro, Robert Johnson, and Darren VanKomen.

And I hope, through all the sad, late nights; the tearful talks with their loved ones; and the somber visits to their graves, we have found a sense of who they were, why they served, and how they came to die.

As I noted (http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2007/01/story-that-needs-to-be-tol_116776257061659105.html) in our previous special, "Ambush at the River of Secrets," perhaps one day we will really know all the goods and bads, the rights and wrongs of this war. What I know right now is this: courageous Americans are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan every day, every moment, doing what asked of them. It would be unforgiveable to forget these brave souls. I wish we could tell all their stories.

For now, however, I hope you'll join me for an hour to remember and honor at least a few.





My friend called me to tell me this would be on tonight...I spent the whole day wondering if I should see it.
I forced myself to watch it and I'm glad I did. CPT Bill jacobsen was my company commander and I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I was walking into the mess hall and felt the blast before I could even grab the door handle (I ended up in a bunker thinking it was incoming mortars until I didn't hear any other splash). I was unprepared for what I saw when I opened those doors, it was by far the worst day of my life, the word "carnage" doesn't even describe it, I still have nightmares about that day, and it has so far been the one expierence I really don't talk about.

jizzmonkey
03-02-2007, 12:21 PM
Did ANYBODY see it??

Sloppy Joe2
03-02-2007, 01:04 PM
I watched it man, sad ****. They still got a little memorial there at the entrance, and they had a service on the anniversary of the attack. RIP

SaberWolf
03-03-2007, 03:06 AM
My uncle was one of the KBR employees killed in that attack. That same month I lost one of my Soldiers to a VBIED. I think it's to the point now that every one of us personally knows someone who has been hurt or killed.

jizzmonkey
03-03-2007, 03:04 PM
It was rough...but we got some serious payback. And most of the guys we "think" responsible are either dead or sitting in Abu-G.

Midav
03-03-2007, 03:05 PM
Didn't see this until just now >< Would like to have watched that.

jizzmonkey
03-03-2007, 06:19 PM
Good show, hard to watch though....I knew several of these guys but never have met some of the families, even during our redeployment ceremony I couldn't bring myself to go up to them, I just didn't know what to say, I really regret that. we all took CPT Jacobsens death pretty hard, it took our company a while to snap out of that one.

Midav
03-03-2007, 08:09 PM
Good show, hard to watch though....I knew several of these guys but never have met some of the families, even during our redeployment ceremony I couldn't bring myself to go up to them, I just didn't know what to say, I really regret that. we all took CPT Jacobsens death pretty hard, it took our company a while to snap out of that one.

Hey man, I have no doubt they were good people!! I remember the video you showed of everyone speaking about the bombing.

When are we having some Irish VBIED's? Could make a toast to these guys.

jizzmonkey
03-03-2007, 10:01 PM
They showed footage taken by one of our guys right after( I think we would kick his ass if we knew who he was) all the bodies had been removed by then, but there was still blood pooled in all the depressions of the floor, and thats one thing that has stuck in my head was trying to walk around and not slip in it. My DCU's were covered in blood, I never wore that uniform again but I kept it, don't ask me why. I remeber seeing one of the civilian guys slumped in a sitting position with his eyes still wide open and a beam from the roof still on his head, I don't know if that was what killed him but the beam looked like it was IN his head.

Irish VBIED's sound good right now!!

Midav
03-03-2007, 10:10 PM
Hey, I'll hit you up on myspace.

gustavski
03-04-2007, 08:47 AM
well insurgent do anything to let u.s suffer casualty... well u.s is in the hostile soil so what u expect?

Digital Marine
03-04-2007, 11:39 AM
well insurgent do anything to let u.s suffer casualty... well u.s is in the hostile soil so what u expect?

What are you trying to say, because we could have expected something like this; we aren't allowed to feel sad over the loss of these fine Soldiers?

jizzmonkey
03-04-2007, 12:04 PM
well insurgent do anything to let u.s suffer casualty... well u.s is in the hostile soil so what u expect?

Are you REALLY going to make me waste my time with this crap??!!!

USMCPOP
03-04-2007, 12:36 PM
Does anyone know if/when this will be shown again? I knew this was in the works, but the producer didn't tell me it when it was going to be shown.

jizzmonkey
03-04-2007, 09:17 PM
Don't know.

Andreas
03-05-2007, 08:35 AM
Good show, hard to watch though....I knew several of these guys but never have met some of the families, even during our redeployment ceremony I couldn't bring myself to go up to them, I just didn't know what to say, I really regret that. we all took CPT Jacobsens death pretty hard, it took our company a while to snap out of that one.

You should think about meeting the family members of the victims if you have a chance. It might be meaningfull as well as helpfull even if you dont feel you have the right words to describe what happend and what you feel.
I belive it is important. For you and the familys of those you knew.

Closure they say is a long process and it comes in many forms, but in my experience even just basic things like talking about a person with the ones left behind even though painfull helps in the long run for all partys.

Sorry if im overstepping my welcome on the subject. Im sitting here remembering some of the things you wrote about when you met the family of your friend Gerty... And thats were my thoughts are coming from so too speak...

Keep your head up buddy

Andreas