An American soldier was taken into custody after shooting five fellow military personnel to death and wounding three others in Baghdad on Monday. The incident, which occurred at a combat stress center, marks the highest single-incident death toll for the U.S. military since April.
"We acknowledge," the letter says, "that violence has claimed the lives of many thousands of Iraqi civilians over the last five years, either through terrorism or sectarian violence. Any loss of innocent lives is tragic and the Government is committed to ensuring that civilian casualties are avoided. Insurgents and terrorists are not, I regret to say, so scrupulous."
April was the cruelest month in seven months in terms of the numbers of both civilians and US troops who lost their lives in Iraq A spate of deadly bombings on Wednesday killed four U soldiers, bringing the monthlong total of American dead to 50, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's crackdown on Shiite followers of Moqtada al-Sadr made for more intense violence, particularly in Basra and Sadr City, which contributed to a reported 969 Iraqi civilian deaths.
The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction has found a disturbing trend among Iraq rebuilding projects. Far too often, when work is incomplete, U.S. officials will revise or "descope" the terms of the contract to list the project as completed. One example: A $35-million children's hospital in Basra that is marked completed despite the fact that it's only 35 percent up and running.
The militia leader's threat of an "open war" between his supporters and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has ratcheted up tensions in Basra and Baghdad. [In this analysis, columnist Patrick Cockburn of The Independent looks into the current situation in light of Sadr's history with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.]
No, it's not your imagination: The "debate" about Iraq, and I use the word loosely, becomes ever more surreal as the occupation drags on.
General Betray Us? Of course he has. MoveOn.org can hardly be expected to recycle its slogan from last September, when Gen. David Petraeus testified in support of escalating the U.S. war in Iraq, given the hysterical denunciations that worthy group received at the time. But it was right then -- as it would be to repeat the charge now.