This is one vantage point only. But according to the staff here at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad's Green Zone, the main military hospital here, the lull in violence they had seen for the last several weeks, appears to be over.
Yesterday began with an entire infantry platoon being rushed in. One soldier had his leg blown off completely just below the knee, extensive damage to one arm and perforations in his intestine.
The rest of the men suffered less serious injuries, many of them broken ear drums. The ones the medical staff suspected might be at risk for head injuries got examined and spent the night. Toward evening they told us their amazing story.
A sophisticated trap
They had been working in one of the Baghdad neighborhoods considered a hotbed of insurgents. At 3:30 a.m. they took up positions in a house to observe the area. Toward daybreak they heard somebody break in the house. When they went to check if the person was carrying a weapon, they saw a man with a gun run out. It turned out to be a sophisticated trap.
Just as the men went out to pursue the armed man, one of the soldiers stepped on a hidden bomb that had been placed right where the insurgents knew the troops would go. He was the one with the extensive injuries. Many others were knocked unconscious from the blow.
Just at that moment dozens of insurgents opened fire from positions well planned in advance. It was amazing that with some of the platoon returning fire and the arrival of a quick reaction force, no one was killed or injured more.
One of the soldiers, on his third tour of duty in Iraq, said the situation has changed dramatically. "It used to be they would fire at us and run away," he said. "Now we are facing an enemy that plans ahead and stays to fight. It is a much more scary out there."
Doing the job
Also yesterday rockets and mortars started landing in the Green Zone again. No one was hurt here.
But near the Baghdad airport, a rocket landed next to a Humvee. A 20-year-old woman who was driving lost her foot and the sergeant major she was driving had several injuries from shrapnel.
The medical staff here jumped into action and did their usual extraordinary job of saving lives, but they are not happy to be so busy again.