WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The flatbed truck had been loaded with more than 1,500 pounds of explosives -- a 500-pound bomb, mortar and artillery rounds, landmines, grenades and plastic explosives -- all of which are readily available throughout Iraq.
Nobody attempted to stop and inspect the heavily laden Russian-made truck as it pulled up to the Canal Hotel -- the U.N. headquarters in downtown Baghdad. Unchallenged, the driver parked the lethal load beside the brick wall surrounding the hotel -- and detonated his cargo. The blast killed 25, including the U.N. special representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello -- and wounded more than 100 others. Scenes of the carnage, some of it videotaped as the bomb exploded, were broadcast around the world almost instantly.
Within hours, another suicide terrorist boarded a crowded bus in Jerusalem, moved to the center of the packed vehicle and blew himself -- and 21 others -- to pieces. This attack, like the one that preceded it in Baghdad, also wounded more than 100 others -- on the bus and the street. And as in the case of the Iraqi bombing, images of bloody bodies were immediately broadcast around the globe.
President Bush had barely finished expressing his condolences, and his administration's resolve to stay the course in the war on terrorism, before the "blame game" was underway. Media elites in Baghdad, Washington, New York and Crawford, Texas, began asking why U.S. and coalition forces hadn't provided better security for the United Nations -- as though the United States was somehow responsible for the Baghdad attack.
Speaking to the BBC about the Baghdad blast, U.N. spokesman Salim Lone said: "We didn't expect to have to worry so much. (After all), we are humanitarians." He didn't expect to "have to worry" about terrorist attacks! U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "All of us at the United Nations are shocked ... by today's attack." "Shocked!" He also "condemned in the strongest possible terms" the Palestinian suicide terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
Back on Aug. 12, Kofi had also "condemned" two "suicide bombings" in the Israeli town of Rosh Ha'ayin that killed two Israelis and wounded dozens. On Aug. 11, he had "strongly condemned" a Hezbollah rocket attack into northern Israel from Lebanon. On Aug. 5, Annan issued a statement saying he was "horrified" at the "bomb explosion" at Jakarta's Marriott Hotel, which was an "apparent" act of terrorism.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.