Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” today, Admiral Michael Mullen conceded that he was “extremely concerned” by the consequences of Wednesday’s massive Baghdad bombings, and said there was a danger it would lead to further sectarian violence in the nation, causing the relative calm to “unravel.”
The coordinated attacks across the city destroyed the nation’s Foreign Ministry and did serious damage to several other key targets, causing well over 1,000 casualties according to official counts. Though the US had sought to blame “al-Qaeda” for the attacks, Iraq’s state media broadcast a confession from a captured member of the Ba’athist Party who they say masterminded one of the largest strikes.
Admiral Mullen’s comments are very rare, as the administration has largely touted its “success” in Iraq while dismissing the rising number of major bombings as irrelevant to the question of security in the nation. Immediately following Wednesday’s strike, the White House expressed hope that the attack would “energize our Iraqi partners.”
Bombings in Iraq have been rising for months, but unlike previous strikes which targeted Shi’ite religious sites and neighborhoods, Wednesday’s attack chiefly targeted government installations.