A quick look
at the morning news reports confirms my fears of last night
-- about the true scope of the attacks in Saudi Arabia and shoddy deceptiveness of the original reporting. (As I said last night, this isn't a comment
on the journalists but the impossible conditions they must operate in there, the fact that so few are even in the country, and the implacable closedness of the country itself.) It's almost a pale shade of Chernobyl.
It was wildly improbable that four coordinated bombings accompanied by fire-fights to get the bombs closer in to their targets would cause no fatalities or just one or two. (Overnight reports had it that Colin Powell had been told by the Saudis that there were no US deaths.) At just after 11:00 EDT, CNN is reporting that the attackers killed 20 people in addition nine terrorists killed. But I suspect even this count will prove low. This report from London's Evening Standard says a "Danish doctor in Riyadh said there were 40-50 bodies in one hospital alone." (After noting the Evening Standard report I just saw this new report from Deutsche Welle that the State Department now says more than 90 people were killed.)
It says a lot that the anecdotal reports from anonymous bystanders are proving more accurate than the official government estimates. This of course is the close to the essence of the problem with Saudi Arabia -- the unwillingness or inability to confront or deal with the problem, the need to deny it, cover it up, pretend it doesn't exist.