Factual · Powerful · Original · Iconoclastic
In an earlier blog post, I presented part of a video I got off a laptop in Ramadi showing the 2005 suicide vehicle attack on OP Hotel in the city's Industrial Area. Noting that it was taken from a jihadist propaganda production, I wondered aloud at their depicting it as a great victory over the infidels even though the objective remained intact and only jihadists were killed. None of which deterred a large number of jihadist websites from not just using the link to the video but rather linking to the blog entry as a whole, in which I'm basically calling them buffoons. In fact, it was so popular among terrorists that my host company was forced to take the clip down from its server. So I just gave it a new URL and reposted it, figuring the terrorists were too dumb to see if the link was broken. They were.
I also wondered about its source. Terrorism expert Adam Badder wrote in saying to the best of his knowledge the video had not previously been broadcast on jihadist websites. "Sometimes al Qaeda in Iraq sells VCD/DVDs of some attack videos in the markets of al Anbar and never puts them onto the net so the discs they are selling are exclusive," he said. "This is possibly the case with this video, but after watching it I believe it must have been captured at an al Qaeda media 'studio' by American forces. The reason I say this is even though the music is done and the al Qaeda in Iraq bug is in the top corner there are no opening credits and no ending as the last 2:32 minutes are just black screen."
Then I heard from a Capt. Chas Cannon. "I noticed you have the OP Hotel car bomb attack on your site. That attack was against our Able Company, 2-69 Armor. The initial explosion knocked the entire platoon out cold." He went on: "It was interesting the way we received the video, however. An informant of ours, whom we knew to be playing both sides, was given a copy as part of a recruiting drive by the insurgents. One night on our regularly scheduled meetings, he passed it on over to us. I don't think the insurgents knew that it failed....they just knew it was one helluva explosion." That it was!
Finally (I think finally), I heard from Spc. Scott Ray, who says he was in 3rd Platoon, A Co., 2/69 when the attack hit. "We never shot the driver or the dump truck. He ran into a Jersey barrier. There was another VBIED [vehicle-borne IED] that was suppose to exploit the breach the dump truck left but we guess the driver split. When we were exfiling [departing] after being relieved by our other two platoons we found the driver's body and the cab of the truck on the east side of the hotel, by where we would park the Humvees. We did have one critical wounded, Spc. David Morrow. He had major shrapnel wounds in his left thigh and was unconscious for seven hours. We continued to receive fire for about 20 minutes after the explosion until the first quick relief force showed up. it was a long twenty minutes.