Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bloody Saturday Indeed

Via 168 Iraqis Killed, 180 Injured, 26 Kidnapped

Via Reuters:

KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed at least 40 people and wounded scores at a crowded bus station near a Shi'ite shrine in the Iraqi holy city of Kerbala on Saturday, police and hospital sources said.

In Baghdad, police said a suicide car bomber detonated his device near a checkpoint at the southern Jadriyah bridge, killing 10 people and setting fire to cars in the second major attack on a bridge in the capital in the past three days.

Television footage of the aftermath of the Kerbala explosion showed a distraught man cradling the charred body of a small child, and witnesses said the blast sent body parts flying into the air. Ambulances rushed to the scene.

"I suddenly heard a horrifying explosion. I had never expected that Kerbala would see an explosion of that size because it is a safe city," said Ali Mussawi, 30, a store owner who was 50 meters (yards) from the blast.

Not anymore.

Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney continue their whinefest because no one's letting them get their way, although they may certainly get their demands met when it comes to Iran - thanks to the Democrats.

Back to Iraq though...

And, while Bush keeps insisting that he is guided by the commanders on the ground, it seems more than a bit odd that General Petraeus, according to the Army Times, was "surprised" by the announcement of troop extensions by Gates this past week.

The Pentagon was forced to announce the shift, which includes extending the deployment of every active Army unit already in Iraq to 15 months, “a couple of days” earlier than planned because the information had been leaked to the news media, the senior military official said.

The Pentagon had planned to send news of the pending announcement down through official channels so that military personnel and their families would have advance notice, the official said. “Somebody in the Pentagon leaked it, [and] that forced [the Office of Defense Secretary Robert Gates] to go early,” the official said.

Right. Like we're supposed to believe what some unnamed military official says. The MSM has been more than willing to sit on stories much more important than this one when they've been asked to by the government in the past.

Saber-rattling Turkey is still threatening to cross the Iraq border to attack the Kurds and since al Maliki has obviously failed to gain control of his country, it remains to be seen how he can possibly handle another incursion. The EU Commission is the intermediary in that dispute. Where's Condi?

And I have some good news...and some bad news...:

BAGHDAD - Iraqi civilian deaths have fallen in Baghdad in the two months since the Feb. 14 start of the U.S.-led offensive, according to an Associated Press tally.

Outside the capital, however, civilian deaths are up as Sunni and Shiite extremists shift their operations to avoid the crackdown.

And the sweeps have taken a heavy toll on U.S. forces: Deaths among American soldiers climbed 21 percent in Baghdad compared with the previous two months. [ed. the US death toll is inching close to 3,300].
Figures compiled by the AP from Iraqi police reports show that 1,586 civilians were killed in Baghdad between the start of the offensive and Thursday.

That represents a sharp drop from the 2,871 civilians who died violently in the capital during the two months that preceded the security crackdown.

Outside the capital, 1,504 civilians were killed between Feb. 14 and Thursday, April 12 compared with 1,009 deaths during the two previous months, the AP figures show.

The insurgents have adjusted and the so-called coalition of the surging has yet to catch up.

As Joseph Galloway writes:

It will be costly and painful to prolong the war in Iraq for another 21 months so that those who started it can hand off the harder decision of how to end it to the next occupant of the White House.

President Bush isn't extending and expanding the war in a search for victory. His dream of victory in Iraq cannot be achieved. Not by sending 30,000 more American troops. Not by making parts of Baghdad temporarily safer by billeting American troops in violent neighborhoods and pushing the slaughter into the northern and southern suburbs - or into the Green Zone where U.S. and Iraqi officials live and work.

Not by letting American soldiers bear the brunt of combat, targeted not only by our enemies, the Sunni Muslim insurgents but also by our supposed allies, the Shiite majority and the murderous militia of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. In March, more American troops died in Iraq than Iraqi soldiers.

This is a search for a fig leaf to cover the emperor’s nakedness - a way for Bush to go home to Texas with a ringing but hollow declaration that "Iraq wasn't lost on my watch."

And there's no guarantee that whoever occupies the White House next will end the Iraq war anytime soon either.

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