Thursday, October 23, 2003


But it seems they are well deserved.

And me - I wonder just why it is that folks who don't know beans about security in a hostile area feel compelled to ignore the advice of the soldiers trained in such matters.
A panel appointed by the United Nations to investigate the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters on Aug. 19 said today that the organization failed to thoroughly assess the security situation in Iraq and adequately respond to warnings, including an intelligence report that said the building could be the target of an attack.

"The U.N. security management system failed in its mission to provide adequate security to U.N. staff in Iraq," the seven-member panel, led by Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, said in its scathing report, which it released today.

The panel also determined that the United Nations' general security management system was "dysfunctional" and "provides little guarantee of security to U.N. staff in Iraq or other high-risk environments and needs to be reformed." ...

In the days before the bombing, United Nations security officials received information about "an imminent bomb attack" near the headquarters, the report said. "It was also reported that other information was available around mid-July that the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad was under threat from a group loyal to the former regime," the report said. A security report on Aug. 19 specifically referred to the danger of attacks by vehicles loaded with explosives...

The report noted that United Nations personnel asked coalition forces "on several occasions" to withdraw their security presence from around the headquarters, but failed to request alternative security arrangements. Senior management, the panel said, "was uneasy with this highly visible military presence."

Among the defenses set up by the Americans, and removed at the United Nations' request, was a five-ton truck blocking access to the service road the bomber used to reach the headquarters. Later, the military laid concertina wire across the access road, but United Nations officials requested that it be removed, too.

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