"How much of a surprise is it that they can actually get inside the embassy? How fortified is that?" -- Diane Sawyer, 3-27-08, commenting on reports mortars and rockets had fallen inside Green Zone.
Someone get Diane Sawyer a crash course in indirect fire. Discussing this morning the recent flurry of rocket and mortar attacks landing inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Sawyer supposed that the insurgents had somehow breached the perimeter themselves and fired from inside the US embassy compound!
Sawyer spoke with Jonathan Karl during the opening minutes of today’s Good Morning America.
DIANE SAWYER: Let’s begin right now as we said with this breaking news coming in from Iraq, reports that mortars have landed inside the US Embassy compound in Baghdad. ABC national security correspondent Jonathan Karl has been working this story. Jonathan, good morning to you. What’s up?
JONATHAN KARL: Well good morning, Diane. This is the fourth day in a row of attacks inside the Green Zone and as you mentioned this one appears to have landed actually inside the US Embassy compound. Life has been especially nerve-wracking inside the Green Zone. Yesterday alone there were 16 rocket and mortar attacks that landed inside the Green Zone, and in each case the US military suspects these were special groups, militia groups associated with Muqtada al-Sadr, renegade extremist factions of his Mahdi Army. And also Diane they are telling us that the markings on these rockets show they are in fact made in Iran. And they believe they are fired by groups that are supported, trained and funded by the Iranians.
SAWYER: Alright, I want to come back to that in a second, but how much of a surprise is it that they can actually get inside the embassy? How fortified is that?
Perhaps Karl should be working inside the embassy, because he was very, shall we say, diplomatic in explaining the basics of indirect fire to Diane.
KARL: Well, it is heavily fortified but it’s also got a big target right on the top of it. And you know you can fortify the walls all you want but these rockets get fired usually from the Sadr City neighborhood or somewhere near there over the walls and they can land anywhere. The rockets are notoriously inaccurate, which makes it especially nerve-wracking. You don’t know where they’re going to land, and you also have almost no warning. So it does happen: they do get inside the embassy compound, but they can land anywhere.
A presidential candidate making a comparable gaffe would sustain serious damage to his national security credentials. Will anyone care about Sawyer's surprising unfamiliarity with military basics?