A month ago:
"U.S. Marine jets Tuesday attacked two bridges across the Euphrates River near the Syrian border to prevent insurgents from moving foreign fighters and munitions toward Baghdad and other cities, the U.S. command said.
... A Marine statement said F/A-18 jets dropped bombs shortly after midnight on two light bridges near Karabilah, about 185 miles west of Baghdad."U.S. Marine Jets Bomb 2 Bridges in Iraq
September 6, 2005Now, they have bombed eight more bridges there:
"US-led forces have bombed eight bridges on the Euphrates River in western Iraq to stop insurgents using them, US military spokesperson Major General Rick Lynch said Thursday.
"We have been taking out portions of bridges with precision strikes," he told a news conference.Of 12 bridges between the Syrian border and Ramadi, 110km west Baghdad, "four remain under control of the coalition forces and Iraqi forces after precision strikes on the others," he said.
... "We took out portions of these bridges to deny terrorists, foreign fighters and insurgents the capability to cross north to south or south to north across the Euphrates River."US forces bomb Iraq's Euphrates bridges
October 6, 2005However, the Iraqi Resistance report that some of these bridges are 'restructured' for use within days. That is why the Americans hit them repeatedly, as in the above case. Hence, one would expect further 'precision strikes' against these same bridges soon."Why is this a big deal? Because we are actually destroying infrastructure in a country we occupy. We are saying that the military value of the bridges to the insurgency is greater than the value to us in either a military or economic/social way. This can be compared to the use of chemicals to destroy the jungle in Vietnam. Not because it caused cancer but because it was the long term destruction of some portion of the country.
As a solider I have been involved in this war in one way or another since 1990. I was in Baghdad early on when we actually thought we could rebuild the country. It was a tough decision then to cut down the trees on the airport road then but when you are getting shot at, you have to do something. Now we are blowing up bridges. For the first time I believe we have lost. For the first time as a military professional I think we have no way of winning this. We are willing to destroy the basic structures of the country to deny the enemy their use. This means we have no other way to deny them the use of these assets. We can't stop them, the Iraqi Army can't stop them, the Iraqi police can't stop them and we can't collect enough intelligence to make the enemy pay for using what should be choke points.
There is no way to sugar coat this. This is a MAJOR development. "Huge change in Iraq
October 6, 2005It would be appropriate here recalling Riverbend's early take on "rebuilding" Iraq's bridges:
"One of my cousins works in a prominent engineering company in Baghdad- we’ll call the company H. This company is well-known for designing and building bridges all over Iraq. My cousin, a structural engineer, is a bridge freak. He spends hours talking about pillars and trusses and steel structures to anyone who’ll listen.
As May was drawing to a close, his manager told him that someone from the CPA wanted the company to estimate the building costs of replacing the New Diyala Bridge on the South East end of Baghdad. He got his team together, they went out and assessed the damage, decided it wasn’t too extensive, but it would be costly. They did the necessary tests and analyses (mumblings about soil composition and water depth, expansion joints and girders) and came up with a number they tentatively put forward- $300,000. This included new plans and designs, raw materials (quite cheap in Iraq), labor, contractors, travel expenses, etc.
Let’s pretend my cousin is a dolt. Let’s pretend he hasn’t been working with bridges for over 17 years. Let’s pretend he didn’t work on replacing at least 20 of the 133 bridges damaged during the first Gulf War. Let’s pretend he’s wrong and the cost of rebuilding this bridge is four times the number they estimated- let’s pretend it will actually cost $1,200,000. Let’s just use our imagination.
A week later, the New Diyala Bridge contract was given to an American company. This particular company estimated the cost of rebuilding the bridge would be around- brace yourselves- $50,000,000 !!"The Promise and the Threat
August 28, 2003 entry'Liberating' the New Diyala Bridge, which was built 80 years ago by the British who were then 'Liberating' Iraq.