Skip the New York Times this morning where the reporters (or 'reporters') covering Iraq are (still) too busy posing as the matrons of Cell Block H to cover reality.
It was weird to see CBS' overnight news noting the death toll in Iraq on the half hour and then pick up the Times. (Almost as weird as the Idiot Bellafonte trying to pass off Fopster Duncan Shiek as a rocker in the arts section.)
On Monday the US military announced: "One Marine and one Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Sunday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Also, they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in a southern neighborhood of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." (CBS' story said the announcements were made "late Monday.") CBS was noting that more Americans had died in the Iraq war than had died on 9-11. (Click here for Australia's ABC covering the same topic.)
That's the Monday announcements. The US military announced today: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And finally (thus far) today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing three Soldiers northwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26."
So to recap, three deaths announced on Monday, six deaths announced on Tuesday. Nine deaths announced in the last two days. The total for the month of December thus far? 89. The total number dead since the start of the illegal war? 2978. The number just gets higher and higher and the Times just works overtime to ignore it. Also, on Monday, 40 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.
For those curious about the Times prison story, Australia's ABC boils it down to three paragraphs:
A political row has erupted in Iraq following an operation in Basra, in which British and Iraqi forces destroyed a police station run a by a unit alleged to have carried out illegal activities.
The serious crimes unit has been accused of running death squads and carrying out robberies.
The provincial council in Basra condemned the action as illegal and provocative, saying it had not been informed.
Lloyd notes Glenn Kessler's "Old Iraq Strategy Lives On In Weekly Progress Reports" (Washington Post):
The State Department continues every Wednesday to issue a 30-page public report that details exactly how the U.S. government is meeting the goals set forth in the president's now-abandoned plan. The report frames the data around Bush's storied eight pillars, which include such goals as "Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralize the Insurgents" (Pillar 1) and "Increase International Support for Iraq" (Pillar 7).
In many ways, the report is a microcosm of the administration's lost year in Iraq. The reams of details aimed at touting success belie the fact that few of the goals are being met.
The report is often upbeat as it presents some of the most minuscule factoids of the situation in Iraq. The Dec. 13 report noted that on Dec. 7, 40 sheikhs from across Diyala province met "to discuss ways to maintain peace and stability" and that on Dec. 9, U.S. soldiers discovered a factory for making improvised explosive devices in a house in Baqubah.
But the bottom-line graphs tell a story of failure. Under Pillar 5 ("Help Iraq Strengthen Its Economy") the reports show that week after week, the Iraqis cannot meet their goals for crude oil production. Another chart shows that efforts to build a 15-day supply of all refined products, such as diesel and gasoline, are woefully behind schedule, reaching a peak of a four-day supply.
Next up this morning (as soon as this entry publishes), Kat's look back at 2006 in music.
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