Thursday, August 17, 2006

NYT: July saw more roadside bombs than any other -- attacks on American troops double since Jan.

An analysis of the 1,666 bombs that exploded in July shows that 70 percent were directed against the American-led military force, according to a spokesman for the military command in Baghdad. Twenty percent struck Iraqi security forces, up from 9 percent in 2005. And 10 percent of the blasts struck civilians, twice the rate from last year.
Taken together, the new assessments by the military and the intelligence community provide evidence that violence in Iraq is at its highest level yet. And they describe twin dangers facing the country: insurgent violence against Americans and Iraqi security forces, which has continued to increase since the killing on June 7 of Mr. Zarqawi, the
[alleged] leader of the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and the primarily sectarian violence seen in Iraqi-on-Iraqi attacks being aimed at civilians.

The above is from Michael R. Gordon, Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker's "Insurgent Bombs Directed at G.I.’s Increase in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times. Poor Shanker, sandwiched between the war pornographer and the stenographer -- which may explain why things get a little sticky. Words like "alleged" get lost when the minds go light and the underpants get soiled as war lust dances through Gordon's mind. Here's a tip for when the sex-high is over -- when writing of what 'senior' officials maintain, probably a good idea to sprinkle in "publicly" -- especially when, like the stenographer of the trio, you so badly want to be seen as 'in the know.'

So attacks are up, as we all knew (if we were paying attention). The trio tells us that July saw more roadside bombs than any other month and the attacks on American troops have doubled since January. As bad as two of the three are, hey they're reporting on Iraq. How many others are?

They also offer this news which will assure you (if you're an eternal optimist or a fool) that Bully Boy, the CEO leader, is 'on the job':

With the violence growing in Iraq, American intelligence agencies are working to produce a National Intelligence Estimate about the security conditions there -- the first such formal governmentwide assessment about the situation in Iraq since the summer of 2004.

Good to know that two years later, someone (finally) sees the need for an assessment. (Aren't peformance reviews dogma in the corporate world?)

The Associated Press takes a look at the increased violence from another angle with "Iraq Violence Feeds Funeral Businesses:"

"Whenever they beat war drums, our business flourishes more," Ali said as he puffed on a hookah waterpipe in one of his shops.
From coffin makers to professional mourners who weep and wail at ceremonies, a wave of killings in Baghdad is fueling a boom in the funeral industry.
[. . .]
With killings on the rise, coffin maker Abbas Hussein Mohammed has opened a new shop to cope with the demand.
"Our business is booming day after day with each roadside bomb or car bomb and with the ongoing sectarian killings," Abbas said as he showed off his wooden coffins inside his tiny shop on Baghdad's Haifa Street.
"During the Saddam era, we used to do one or two coffins a day and the price ranged between $5 to $10," Mohammed said. Now he produces an average of 10 to 15 coffins a day and charges about $50 for each of them.

One article takes a look at the explosions, the other takes a look at the effects. Put them together and you've got a pretty clear view of Iraq today.

Ehren Watada faces the Article 32 hearing today. Joan notes "Activists Rally for Watada in Downtown Honolulu" (KHNL) which covers one of yesterday's demonstrations:

In less than 24 hours, Lt. Ehren Watada begins the process of finding out whether he'll be court martialed. The Hawaii born soldier is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Dozens of supporters and anti-war protestors passed out flyers and waved signs today in downtown Honolulu. Claire Hanusz explains why she's out there. "I'm doing this because I'm very concerned about the way our country's going. I'm concerned about the misinformation a lot of people get from the mainstream media."

By the way, we noted this in yesterday's snapshot, Damien Cave has an article worth reading where (a rare thing for the paper of record) Iraqis actually speak.

The e-mail address for this paper is