A truck loaded with bags of wheat drove up to a crowd of poor Shiites early Tuesday, lured them close with a promise of work and exploded as they gathered around. Seventy were killed and 236 were wounded, officials said.
The attack, in a square in central Baghdad, together with corpses found by Iraqi authorities, pushed the day's death toll across Iraq to at least 131, the highest total since a bombing killed more than 200 here last month. Shiite political leaders often point to such attacks, arguing that they, not the American military, should control security here.
[. . .]
The wounded were taken to Kindi Hospital, which has one of Baghdad's primary emergency rooms, but which declined badly in recent months, said the director, Flayeh Hassan. The hospital has lost large numbers of its doctors and nurses, as many middle-class Iraqis have fled the country. There is not enough money to buy basic supplies, he said.
The above is from Sabrina Tavernise's "Truck Bomb in Iraq Kills 70 in Shiite Crowd" in this morning's New York Times. The bombing so bad even the Times had to step away from their panting coverage of the James Baker Circle Jerk for at least a little while. Some reports state there were two cars involved, that the first was a BMW and then came the Chevy pickup. Martha notes Sudarsan Raghavan's "'Death Square' Blast Kills 70 Iraqi Laborers" (Washington Post):
About 7 a.m., a red Chevrolet Malibu truck pulled up at the edge of the square, witnesses said. As the men gathered around, it exploded, killing 70 and injuring more than 230. Others said they heard a second blast at about the same time. The bombing was the deadliest assault since car bombs and mortar shells killed more than 200 people in the Shiite slums of Sadr City on Nov. 23.
Raghavan also ties the issue of many of the victims being day laborers into the US military's 'plan' "to create thousands of jobs" for Iraqis which is the topic of the headline of John F. Burns' "U.S. General Says Jobs and Services May Curb Iraq Violence" (New York Times). We're not excerpting due to the constant of James Baker Circle Jerk, James Baker Circle Jerk over and over in the article. (We wouldn't even be linking if yesterday hadn't noted how little Iraq coverage is being run by the Times -- despite the huge amount of monies spent.) Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the article tells you, wants more jobs created for Iraqis, not more US troops. Chiarelli, who might move from second in charge to first if Robert Gates replaces George Casey with him, noted the fact that all the reconstruction money had gone not to jobs but to oil and security.
Nice to notice, but returning to Raghavan's article:
"It's a bit late, as usual," said Mahmoud Othman, an independent Kurdish legislator. "They should have done this three years ago. In this country, they have spent so much money on security without results. If they had spent one-tenth of that on creating jobs, more projects and fighting unemployment, things would have been better now."
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