June 28, 2007:
One of the
worst side effects of the terror bombings in Baghdad, is that it makes people
reluctant to go out and, more importantly, to shop. This hurts the economy,
especially the retail trade. So the U.S. Army came up with a bold idea. They
are setting up 1,800 concrete blast wall sections in one of the city's major
market places. Some merchants objected, because the blast wall sections were
tall enough to block a view of their shop. But they soon realized that they
could put signs and posters on the blast wall blocks. It was also quickly
noticed that customers were more abundant, and more relaxed. If the terrorists
did bomb the market, the blast wall sections would greatly limit the damage.
That was enough to bring out a lot of shoppers.
Of course, the key
technique for dealing with the terrorist bombings is to shut down the bomb
workshops, and capture the bomb builders. That is happening at a more rapid
clip with the current surge offensive. American intelligence has long known a
lot about the bomb makers, and the general location of the bomb workshops. But
this involved a large area, and until recently, there was not a large enough
troops to go in and cordon off, and search, the entire neighborhoods and suburban
towns where the bomb builders were known to be. Bombings are down since the
beginning of the year, as are arrests of bomb builders and the destruction of
workshops. But the terrorists have responded by fleeing their usual haunts. The
big question now is, will many of the bomb building teams currently "in
transit," find a new place to set up shop before they are caught.