If you missed it, all is well and good in Iraq.
Or that's the latest Operation Happy Talk spin we're all supposed to get behind. The Associated Press leads the pack (I'm sure the Times will grab the baton tomorrow) in trumpeting the fact that a single province is now under Iraqi control. Any questions about the nature of this province could be put to rest by noting the dwindling coalition's fatality figures for that province (non-existant) but reality must never mar happy talk. As AFP notes: "Aside from Basra, most southern provinces are considered fairly stable and several are slated for security handovers in the next few months -- though coalition force officials admit that immediately following the handovers security may decline as insurgents test the system."
Which is why the AP trumpets the 'small' number of US troops who've lost their lives thus far this month (11) while burying the fact that Iraqi witnesses saw a US helicopter shot down today. ("Iraqi authorities said the helicopter was shot down near Youssifiyah, 12 miles southwest of Baghdad in an area where al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents operate. The Iraqis spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to media.") Reuters notes the helicopter was on a "combat air patrol."
Things look peaceful?
Earlier today, the AP reported on a bombing of a village council headquarters in Baghdad (bicycle bomb, at least four council members left dead) and the shooting death of a police officer -- in the city under a month's "crackdown." Terry McCarthy (ABC -- America) reports on how fake identification sells for the US equivalent of ten and fifteen dollars and many Iraqis are puchasing them to reduce risk to their lives at checkpoints. McCarthy reports: "Now many Iraqis carry two IDs in their pockets and will produce one or the other, depending on who is asking for it." Packing your fake i.d.? Don't forget your gun. Mariam Karouny (Reuters) takes a look at the conditions that lead many of Baghdad's seven million to arm themselves as the chaos and violence continues around the country and in the capital.
That's reality and some correspondents (such as reportedly one with the New York Times) calling the Bully Boy and his 'plan' for Iraq "delusional" at a college appearance is meaningless when he continues to churn out the sort of nonsense at his paying job that prolongs the delusion.
Other bombs across the country. Reuters reports bombs in Mosul (roadside, five wounded) where a bomber took his own life and six others in a city council in Abi Saida while a car bomb killed four people and wounded at least nineteen; a car bomber took his own life and that of three others in Kirkuk (at least eight more wounded); and mortar rounds in Baghdad left two wounded. The AFP reports a bomb in Baghdad took the lives of five "municipal road sweepers."
The AP reports a kidnapping attempt on a wrestler and wrestling coach that left the coach, Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib, dead (the wrestler managed to escape).
Reuters notes three corpses discovered near Muqdadiya (three brothers who had been kidnapped the day before).
And in the United States, Joe Biden is raising doubts about Nouri al-Maliki's efforts as prime minister.
But surely, the most important point today is that a restive province with little violence will now be babysat by Iraqi forces (who may find it not so restive, as the AFP noted). And surely, mainstream correspondents will continue to churn out the spin that prolongs the illegal war while wanting points for being "brave" while speaking to college audiences.
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