Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Face Of War

Andrew Roth on Front Page Depictions of War
By Matt Renner, t r u t h o u t | Interview, Friday 11 January 2008

"The papers, the corporate media are not giving their readers a full understanding through this powerful visual medium of the real cost of the war."
-- Andrew Roth

In an interview with Truthout's Geoffrey Millard, Assistant Professor Andrew Roth discussed his recent study of pictures that appear on the front pages of major newspapers and their portrayal of the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations.

In "Covering War's Victims: A Content Analysis of Iraq and Afghanistan War Photographs in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle," Roth and his colleagues Zoe Huffman, Jeff Huling, Kevin Stolle and Jocelyn Thomas detail the importance of visual media - specifically photographs - in newspapers. Their study examines the sociological importance of war photography and the use of photographs to spur awareness of the human cost of war.

The study Roth conducted examined and cataloged the front page photos of The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle during the first year of the war in Iraq and the most recent year, in order to assess coverage of the wars by corporate media.

Roth found that only 12.8 percent of the photos they analyzed "related in some way" to the wars. A fraction of the war-related pictures - 3.3 percent - represented "dead, injured or missing humans."

Based on their analysis, Roth and his colleagues conclude that the media have served to distort the reality of the ongoing wars by covering up the loss of life and misery of civilians and of those involved in the fighting.

The full report can be read in the latest edition of "Censored 2008", the annual publication of the media research group Project Censored.


Roth is an assistant professor of sociology at Sonoma State University's School of Social Science and is the associate director of Project Censored.

There's more: "The Face Of War" >>

Friday, January 11, 2008

And Still the Baghdad Embassy isn't complete!

Just because we didn't hear about any embassy-related problems or scandals for a while doesn't mean all is well and all the problems have been solved. (I have been all over this issue for months. See here, here, here and here. Click the links and read up on why you should be in the streets with a torch and a pitchfork over this issue alone.)

The problems haven't been adequately addressed, much less solved. They have just been ignored or overruled in a rush to declare victory the 104 acre, $529 $740 Million dollar complex complete.

The latest defect to rear it's ugly head is the firefighting system.

Last month, 19 days before he retired, State Department buildings chief Charles E. Williams certified key elements of the embassy's fire-fighting system as ready for operation, according to the documents McClatchy obtained.

His own fire-safety specialists and an outside consultant, however, had warned Williams and his aides repeatedly about numerous fire safety violations.

Moreover, Williams' thumbs-up was based on tests run by another contractor that was hired, not by the State Department, but by the company building the embassy, First Kuwaiti General Contracting and Trading Co. State Department officials, members of Congress and others have accused First Kuwaiti of shoddy construction and questionable labor practices.

The State Department's top management official, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, said in a telephone interview that he hasn't issued a certificate of occupancy for the new embassy complex. He said he won't do so until the fire safety systems and other functions are "validated and checked fully."

Kennedy also said that the department's own fire safety specialists have been to Baghdad to inspect the embassy. "They were the ones who uncovered the problem" in the first place, he said.

In May, a mortar shell smashed into the complex, damaged a wall and caused what were reported as minor injuries to be sustained by people inside. The walls were supposed to be blast-resistant, but weren't.

[Keep Reading]

The project manager, James L. Golden, attempted to alter the scene and conceal evidence of shoddy construction by the contracting company, First Kuwaiti, which is closely tied to Kellogg, Brown & Root, a (former) subsidiary of Halliburton, the war-profiteering company previously headed by Dick Cheney. (As investigations into the company ramped up, Halliburton divested itself of KBR.) According to documents and interviews, the disgraced former IG for State, Howard Krongard, reared his ugly head once more and prevented State Department officials from investigating the incident.

When it came to the attention of Ambassador Ryan Crocker, he banished Golden from the country, yet Golden continued to oversee the project, as well as other projects for the Overseas Building Office (OBO).

Golden, however, continued on as project manager for several months, even though he was not allowed in the country on orders of Ambassador Ryan Crocker. On Nov. 2, he sent and e-mail responding to State Department requests for repairs to underground fire mains, where he referred to the proposed changes as mere "preferences" and do "not change the fact that the work as completed meets all reference codes and specifications."

Until his retirement two weeks ago, the OBO was headed up by Williams, who happens to be a close personal friend of former Secretary of State Colin Powell. In fact, Powell hand-picked his old friend and colleague for the job, and Williams apparently ran the OBO like a personal feifdom, going so far as to refuse to let U.S. diplomats and congressional staffers onto the new embassy compound, according to congressional testimony given in July, and corroborated by a former senior official with first-hand knowledge of Williams and the OBO.

"As far as I know, nothing's been fixed," said a State Department official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation for speaking to the news media. "The lives of the people who are working in that building are going to be at stake" if the complex doesn't meet building codes, he said.
Concerns over the embassy's fire safety systems first arose in late August, when fire safety specialists from the State Department inspected the complex. They discovered problems with the water mains, fire alarms and numerous other systems, according to a Sept. 4 trip report.

The State Department ordered Williams to bring in an outside consultant, Schirmer Engineering of Greenbelt, Md., which found the same problems, according to e-mails from Schirmer to the State Department dated Oct. 22, Oct. 27 and Nov. 1.

Williams set up a separate structure to oversee the Baghdad project. E-mail exchanges in the documents obtained by McClatchy portray his project managers as playing down potential problems and refusing to share information about the embassy's progress.

Somewhere along the line, although no one knows exactly when, Baltimore-based Hughes Associates Inc was hired by First Kuwaiti to test water pressure in the underground firemains to assure they would be operable in the event of a fire.

On December 7, a certification was issued by a Hughes contractor that declared the new embassy met fire codes. But Hughes is now backing away from the contract employee that wrote the certificate. In fact, Hughes President Philip J. DiNenno, who did confirm his company had been hired by his company, sent an email to the State Department on December 14 in which he said the contract employee actually did nothing more than witness one test. "He was and is not authorized to speak on behalf of Hughes Associates or to communicate the final status of any deficiencies, and certainly he may not satisfy anything unilaterally," DiNenno wrote, adding that the firm's final report is still being prepared.

If and when the embassy is ever completed and certified move-in ready (the deadline was September but delays have pushed the occupancy date well into 2008) it will house approximately 1200 diplomats and staffers, as well as coalition military officials. The decision to move Petraeus and his entourage into the embassy complex was an after-the-fact decision because in the words of Patrick Kennedy, who heads the State Department director of management policy "Crocker and Petraeus don't want to divorce."

When contacted in Kuwait on Friday, Wadih al Absi, the general manager of First Kuwaiti and a co-founder of the company, refused to comment on issues concerning the embassy, stating that it's a violation of his contract to speak to the media without the State Department's permission and that he's been requesting permission for three months.

Your (incompetent) State Department at work folks - pissing away your tax dollars as fast as they possibly can, like they are so much cheap beer.

There's more: "And Still the Baghdad Embassy isn't complete!" >>

Obama: I was against the war before I became weaselly?

Here’s more on Bill Clinton and Obama’s “fairytale.”

Here , the Slickster explains in detail how Obama’s “fairytale” is about his allegedly consistent and continued opposition to the Iraq war.

“We went through 15 debates and the Obama campaign has made the argument that his relative lack of service in the Senate was not relevant because he had better judgment than the other Democrats on the Iraq War...” Bill said. “And I pointed out that he'd never been asked about his statements in 2004 that he didn't know how he'd have voted on the Iraq War, and that there was no significant difference between his position as President Bush’s.”

Obama’s lame explainer:
Obama has said during this campaign that he hedged on his answer about the Iraq War authorization vote because he did not want to openly disagree with John Kerry and John Edwards, as they were the party's ticket at the national convention where he was speaking, and both of whom had voted for the war and yet to repudiate it.

Hey, Obama, that didn’t stop Dennis Kucinich in 2004, among others. Puhleeze.

There's more: "Obama: I was against the war before I became weaselly?" >>

Thursday, January 10, 2008

151,000 - The Forgotten Number

Cross posted from BFD Blog!

We are all familiar with the number that is currently 3,921, but how many of the members of the American Executive and Legislative branches of government are familiar with, or have any interest in the number 151,000 which is an order or magnitude 38.25 times greater than 3,921.

It is without question that the death of 3,921 American service members at the hands of enemy combatants is a terrible tragedy for the American people. But what of the 151,000 Iraqi civilians, that have been killed in Iraq since the invasion by the United States in 2003? Those casualties are also a terrible tragedy for the American people, as are all of the other uncounted or unreported deaths of all other parties, whether civilian contractors of the United States or enemy combatants, occurring within the borders of Iraq since spring of 2003.

The number 151,000 comes from the latest survey conducted by the United Nations Word Health Organization, and could actually be as high as 223,000 in the estimation of the World Health Organization. The full survey results are available in the New England Journal of Medicine in an special article titled Violence-Related Mortality in Iraq from 2002 to 2006.

Logic dictates that those 151,000 deaths are the responsibility of president George W. Bush and the Bushliburton administration initially, but they are also the responsibility of the Congress of the United States for their inaction, and apparent complicity, after it was factually established that the administration's justification for starting the war was a sham, and that continuation of combat operations and occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq is illegal.

The deaths of 151,000 Iraqi citizens are also on the hands of all of the American people, as long as we allow our government, through the actions and in-actions of the Executive and Legislative branches, to prolong our occupation of Iraq.

Now some might make an argument that had the United States not intervened, and not overthrown Saddam Hussein, that left to his own devices, Saddam might have by this time killed as many, or more, innocent people than that 151,000 figure. That is a hypothetical that one can only speculate about, but what might be worth considering, in that hypothetical situation, in which the United States never invaded Iraq and in which Saddam was never deposed, captured, tried and executed, is that just possibly, given Saddam's iron fist-ed control of the country, that inter-tribal violence, that inter-sect violence, that violence effected by internal insurgents and external agents of Al Qaeda or other government or extremist groups would never have been able to begin in the first place. Strange as it may seem, that Saddam Hussein, while left to his own devices might have murdered more of his own countrymen, it is also within the realm of possibility that he might have not exterminated the lives of his countrymen on a scale as large as the current death toll. We will never know. But what we can conclude, is that had the United States not invaded and occupied Iraq, the people of the United States would not have been complicit in any deaths, that the credibility and reputation of the United States in world opinion would not have hit rock bottom, as it has now.

Is it not time for the American people to demand that our government cease operating as an arm of big business interests and return to operating in the interests of the people? Is it not time for our government to accede to the will of the people and extract our country from the disaster that we have created in Iraq?

There's more: "151,000 - The Forgotten Number" >>

David Swanson: "To Nancy With All Due Respect"

To Nancy With All Due Respect
By David Swanson, After Downing Street, Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dear Nancy. Cindy asked me to write you a letter and promised she would deliver it. So I picture the two of you in your home over tea as you peruse this and a four-foot stack of similar missives, and I hope mine catches your eye, and I hope there are no more of those annoying poor people out front, or that you're able to have them arrested quickly and quietly.

I know that there is good in you, Nancy, and I know that you are extremely smart. I can tell by the skill with which you've hidden from us that aforementioned good. But I'm concerned about how you will be remembered in history. Specifically, I'm concerned that you may not be remembered at all. If you were the leader who ended the wars, made peace, and impeached criminals, you would be remembered and quite possibly elected president some day. Attempting to impeach a president for an illegal war seemed to work pretty well for Congressman Lincoln.

If you plan to continue, instead, down the present course, then I feel obliged to let you in on a little secret: It won't be remembered as your war. If the planet survives and the occupation of Iraq is glorified with statues, none of them will be of you. And, as for your historic act of removing impeachment from the Constitution, the republic won't survive it, and neither will any memory of the Constitution. So there will be no history of your having ended it. Even if the rest of us are spared nuclear holocaust and global warming, your memory will, I'm afraid, be pretty well lost.

I'm sorry that you feel you have no good choices. I'm sorry that the media scares you so much. I'm sorry that your kids had to grow up with the name Hairy. But I think there is a pretty good option still open to you. Pretending you have other things to do won't work. After a year, the public now understands that any good bills on any issues will be vetoed, and that the way to end the occupation of Iraq is not to pretend to try to pass bills, but to refuse to pass any more bills.

Remember when you said that we should elect Democrats in 2006 so that you would have the power of subpoena? Well, you don't. Bush, Cheney, and gang have simply refused to comply. Remember when you said that your top priority was ending the occupation of Iraq? I'd hate to be any lower down on that list. Nancy, I've gone to rallies around this country and other countries and asked crowds if they can name the woman responsible for continuing to fund the occupation and for refusing to impeach. Each time, the shouts come: PE-LO-SEE

That's what you'll be remembered as, if you're lucky.

In contrast, the woman delivering this letter to you has withstood two years of full frontal corporate media assault and walked away smiling. If you grow a spine, I'm sure she'll be glad to give you tips on how to handle the corporate media. She is loved by many, hated by a few, and universally understood to say what she thinks. Cindy lost her son in the war you keep funding, the war that killed more Iraqis and Americans during your first year in power than in any previous year, the war that killed 9 Americans in the past two days. Your arms are dripping in blood up to the shoulders, Nancy.

You think Cindy is no threat to your seat in Congress. But you've only had one year so far to give Congress a record disapproval rating. You've got a whole year ahead of you. You can be smart, Nancy, and let the Cheney impeachment hearings begin. Or you can make the same move that your Party made during Iran Contra: avoid impeachment, avoid responsibility, allow further transfer of power to the White House, and lose the next elections. And. Be. Forgotten.

There's more: "David Swanson: "To Nancy With All Due Respect"" >>

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shell and Total Preparing To Loot Iraqi Oil Field Near Syria… What That Garners For The Rich, Who Are Not Like You & I

Crossposted @ My Buffalo River Home

Juan Cole @ Informed Comment provides the following tidbit:

Shell and Total are competing for rights to develop the Akkas natural gas field in al-Anbar Province near the Syrian border. But without a law on the sharing of oil and gas revenues, this foreign involvement is going to look like bank robbery.
Shell and Total are vying to develop a huge gasfield in what was Iraq’s most violent province as a source for exports to Europe.The Iraqi Government held talks with a number of potential companies last week regarding development of the Akkas field in Anbar province, northwest of Baghdad.

Akkas, close to the border with Syria, is thought to contain up to seven trillion cubic feet of gas – up to 6 per cent of Iraq’s estimated total of 112 trillion cubic feet. The field is capable of producing up to 50 million cubic feet a day, but this could be raised to 450 million cubic feet per day if developed further.

The Iraqi Government is keen to get the field operational as quickly as possible, using nearby Syria as an export route to Europe to restore revenues. A statement from Shell said that the Iraqi Oil Ministry had asked Shell to undertake “a long-term production test”. Total was unavailable for comment, but is also understood to be interested.
This is unlikely to make the cost of the gas for your automobile even one penny cheaper, but it DOES provide benefits for a select few, who you don't know, and WILL NEVER have the 'privilege' of meeting:

Dubai unveils 'fashion island' United Arab Emirates
January 9, 2008

Dubai Infinity Holdings has unveiled Isla Moda, a mixed-use development that will be located on The World, which it claims to be the world's first dedicated fashion island. The development will combine a fashion resort, themed residential villas, haute couture boutiques and luxury hospitality facilities. World-renowned fashion designers will be instrumental in designing each element of the development. [In Full]

It will be located here, on Dubai's new 'Continent':
Design of new "continent" finalized
Posted by: hipstomp on Monday, June 18 2007

It's not every day we get to tell you the final design phase of a new continent is underway, but today's one of those days.
The architects of Dubai's "The World" project, a series of man-made islands in the shape of Earth's continents, announced today that OQYANA-WORLD FIRST, the island community in the shape of Australasia, is undergoing its final design steps.

Over 50 consultants from around the world have been working on issues from engineering and ecology to security and water quality. [In Full]

Dick Cheney and his Halliburton buddies are all set...

How about you?

cheny go fuck yourself

Related @ Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There's more: "Shell and Total Preparing To Loot Iraqi Oil Field Near Syria… What That Garners For The Rich, Who Are Not Like You & I" >>

More on why an Iraqi soldier killed two U.S. soldiers — defending woman?

At least one of the U.S. soldiers allegedly was beating a pregnant woman. If true, one hell of an oops. The Army says it will have no comment on an ongoing investigation.

There's more: "More on why an Iraqi soldier killed two U.S. soldiers — defending woman?" >>

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Provocation in the Strait of Hormuz

Cross Posted at Edgeing, at Docudharma and SanchoPress

If the Iranians attack a US ship in the gulf, or shut down the strait, it will be, in historical context, retribution and retaliation for US Foreign Policy and imperialism over the past century, and we will be as much or more to blame than they.

We get what we give. As we sow, so we reap.

Imperialism is coming home to bite us on the ass, bigtime. It has been coming for a long time...

In about a year, when there will probably be a Democratic President sitting in The White House, we're going to have the same "Foreign Policy" we've had for the past nearly a century.

Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing changing.

"Ancient History": U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II and the Folly Of Intervention
If the chief natural resource of the Middle East were bananas, the region would not have attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers as it has for decades. Americans became interested in the oil riches of the region in the 1920s, and two U.S. companies, Standard Oil of California and Texaco, won the first concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. They discovered oil there in 1938, just after Standard Oil of California found it in Bahrain. The same year Gulf Oil (along with its British partner Anglo-Persian Oil) found oil in Kuwait. During and after World War II, the region became a primary object of U.S. foreign policy. It was then that policymakers realized that the Middle East was "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history."

Subsequently, as a result of cooperation between the U.S. government and several American oil companies, the United States replaced Great Britain as the chief Western power in the region.(5) In Iran and Saudi Arabia, American gains were British (and French) losses.(6) Originally, the dominant American oil interests had had limited access to Iraqi oil only (through the Iraq Petroleum Company, under the 1928 Red Line Agreement). In 1946, however, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil Oil Corp., seeing the irresistible opportunities in Saudi Arabia, had the agreement voided.(7) When the awakening countries of the Middle East asserted control over their oil resources, the United States found ways to protect its access to the oil. Nearly everything the United States has done in the Middle East can be understood as contributing to the protection of its long-term access to Middle Eastern oil and, through that control, Washington's claim to world leadership. The U.S. build-up of Israel and Iran as powerful gendarmeries beholden to the United States, and U.S. aid given to "moderate," pro-Western Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, were intended to keep the region in friendly hands. That was always the meaning of the term "regional stability."
Provocation in the Strait of Hormuz
By Marc Ash, t r u t h o u t | Perspective, Tuesday 08 January 2008

Two separate news reports relying mostly on information provided by the Pentagon were picked up and disseminated by US mainstream media outlets Monday. The reports point to two separate instances involving US armed forces operating in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

The first, typified by The New York Times, "US Describes Confrontation With Iranian Boats", and the second, tucked away from the features sections, "Navy Fighter Jets Crash in Persian Gulf", reported by the Associated Press, are not connected directly in the reports, but bear consideration side-by-side nonetheless.

The report in The Times, in fact, tells you everything you need to know, albeit in a conclusionless form. US Warships are in the Persian Gulf. The Strait of Hormuz, through which all warships must pass to enter the Gulf, is the same passage through which all oil-bearing ships must pass bringing oil to the US. And "Oil prices on world markets spiked briefly on the news, which was first reported by CNN." That pretty much says it all.

US Navy warships are parked a few miles off the coast of Iran. They are there, apparently, to protect oil shipping lanes into and out of the Persian Gulf. Tensions are mounting. If provocation is at issue, those facts must remain front and center. If Iranian warships ever made it as close to the American coastline as US warships now lie to Iranian shores, our military would in all likelihood attack them. Iran is not attacking our warships - parked on their doorstep.

The US State Department last year warned Iran, "not to interfere with US interests in the region." What the State Department did not explain to the American people is what interests average Americans have in the region. The answer to that question is, likely none. That leads to the next question: whose interests is the American Navy protecting in the Persian Gulf? The owners of the oil tankers, apparently. The American people are the end consumers; we pay what's marked on the pump. Bluntly stated, the United States Navy appears to be in the Persian Gulf to protect the interests of US-based oil businesses, not the interests of the American people. Incidentally, the second-largest deposits of oil in the world lie beneath the soil of Iraq, so the same formula applies there as well.

Could Iranian forces sink an American ship a few miles off the Iranian coast? Yes, although it is highly unlikely that they would say beforehand, "I am coming at you, and you will explode in a few minutes." Would such a sinking take the lives of many good American sailors? Yes, it would. Such a sinking and the attendant loss of life would affect the best interests of the American people. The American armed forces are the true interest of the American people. For too long, the American people have turned a blind eye to their interest: their service members. It's time to bring our soldiers home and let the gas station mind its own business.
*emphasis added

This cannot be taken out of historical context. To do so is the "neocon" way.

If anyone is doing any "provocatin'" in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, it has been successive US and British administrations, and oil companies, for nearly a century...

There's more: "Provocation in the Strait of Hormuz" >>

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Iraqi Soldier Turns His Weapon on American Soldiers, Killing Two and Wounding Three

On Saturday, the military announced that on December 26, Capt. Rowdy Inman and Sgt. Benjamin Portell, soldiers assigned to the Third Squadron of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Hood, Texas, died during a joint American-ISF combat operation in Mosul in northern Iraq. When the deaths were announced earlier it was said merely that the two died of small arms fire. That was true - but not the whole story.

A senior Iraqi military officer said that insurgent gunmen hiding in a vehicle and a building opened fire on the patrol, and during the firefight , one of the Iraqi soldiers turned his weapon on the Americans he was ostensibly supposed to be fighting with. It was almost certainly calculated that he killed the Sergeant and the Captain, and wounded three others.

He did not target other ISF personnel, but singled out Americans. The Iraqi soldier who murdered the two Americans attempted to flee, but was apprehended. Another soldier was detained as well, indicating that the gunman is suspected to have had at least one accomplice.

Iraqi Brigadier General Mutaa Habib al-Khazraji, who commands the Iraqi Army 2nd Division said that the gunman was an infiltrator who had ties to the insurgency.

The American military has thus far refused to cite a motive for the shooting, but would confirm that two Iraqi soldiers were in custody and that possible insurgent links were being examined. U.S. Army spokesman Major Gary Dangerfield did say that based on evidence thus far collected, and witness statements from American and Iraqi soldiers “we feel pretty confident that we have the right guy.”

Dangerfield also reported that B.G. al Khazraji had ordered an immediate stand down of theSecond Army Division under his command, and said that he would cooperate fully with the investigation. “We will not let this tragic, isolated incident hinder our partnership with the Iraqi Security Forces and keep us from establishing security in our area of operation,” he said.

The incident is sure to renew the pervasive questions about the loyalty of the Iraqi forces who are bing armed and trained by Americans to take over the security of the country as American forces withdraw.

From the New York Times:

...The Iraqi Army remains dominated by Shiites and Kurds, many of whom are suspicious of the allegiances of Sunni Arab soldiers. Many Sunnis, in turn, fear that the Kurds and Shiites are faithful only to their factions and are habitually hostile to Sunni Arabs.

...The American military did not disclose the circumstances of the shootings until Saturday afternoon, shortly after Reuters reported that Iraqi commanders had said that the American troops had been deliberately shot by an Iraqi soldier.

...The shooting was deliberate,” another Iraqi Army commander in Mosul, Brig. Gen. Noor al-Din Hussein, told Reuters. “It was not an accident.”

...He said the Iraqi soldier had been in the army for a year and was an Arab from the Jubouri tribe, which in Mosul is mostly Sunni. “There is some penetration” by insurgents, he said, “and we want to purify the Iraqi Army.”

News outlets have been quick to point to reductions in violence in Baghdad and western Iraq, but other parts of the country, specifically the north, remain gripped by violence and under the sway of insurgents fighting the American occupation.

Diyala Province, the most troubled region in the country has been rocked by a series of bomb blasts. In the provincial capital of Baquba, a bomb blast wounded three civilians, and north of Muqdadiya, an insurgent-planted bomb exploded and killed six and wounded four. A suicide bomber in Baquba killed four and sounded 23, and A truck driver was killed by gunmen in northeast Diyala. An American soldier died when an IED exploded under his vehicle.

Baghdad experienced the deadliest suicide bombing since September when, on New years Day a suicide bomber attacked a funeral for the victim of a previous suicide bombing, killing 34 and wounding 38.

As the unsustainable shell-game known as the Surge™ winds down, and American forces necessarily withdraw from Iraq, incidents such as this are likely to take place with greater frequency. Barrels of ink and trillions of pixels have been devoted to the infiltration of both the Iraqi Military and the Iraqi police by insurgents and all the things that can go wrong when you make a deal with the devil.

This would be a good time to start paying attention and taking notes, in case you haven't been. Petraeus comes back to Congress to peddle his special line of bullshit in March.

There's more: "Iraqi Soldier Turns His Weapon on American Soldiers, Killing Two and Wounding Three" >>