Fears of a Tet Offensive in Iraq





The U.S. commanders in Iraq seem to sense some new horror for the country is near. On July 7, Gen. David Petraeus predicted that insurgents would lash out with spectacular attacks in the coming weeks, as the clock runs down on time ahead of the September progress report due in Washington. And yesterday Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the commander of U.S. forces in southern Iraq, echoed the fear when talking to reporters in the Green Zone."We're concerned about some kind of Tet offensive that's going to affect the debate in Washington," Lynch said, harking back to the pivotal 1968 push by communist forces in Vietnam.

Today the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk witnessed one version of what an Iraqi Tet offensive might look like. At midday, a car bomb shook the city. Then came another blast, followed by one more. The coordinated trio of explosions left at least 75 people dead and offered a horrifying glimpse of the kind of organized assaults that American officials fear could unfold nationwide. Imagine a day in Iraq when catastrophic car bombs rip through not just one Iraqi city but several. Explosions coordinated to go off nearly simultaneously in places like Baghdad, Baqubah, Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul, all places where insurgents are actively pursuing bombing campaigns, could bring about the highest death daily death toll seen yet and leave no question about the insurgency's ability to hold the entire country in a deadly grip more or less at will. That's one version.



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