Mortar attacks, suicide car bombs, roadside bombs, ambushes and gun battles killed at least two dozen people on Sunday, including four American soldiers, the authorities said.
The American military command said the soldiers were killed southwest of Baghdad just after midnight as they responded to an earlier bombing that had killed two other American soldiers. The insurgents have frequently tried to reap greater death tolls by carrying out attacks against rescue crews rushing to bomb sites.
The attacks coincided with a visit to Iraq by a Republican Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain, who declared at a news conference that the new American security plan was "making progress" and that there was cause for "very cautious optimism."
In sometimes testy comments to reporters in the heavily fortified Green Zone, Mr. McCain said the American public was not receiving "the full picture about what’s happening," and he described the delegation's visit to a downtown market where scores of people have died this year in multiple car bombings and other attacks. There, the members of Congress said, they strolled around, haggled with merchants and drank tea.
But the outing was far from carefree. The delegation traveled in a convoy of armored military vehicles and was accompanied by a large contingent of heavily armed soldiers. The politicians wore body armor while they shopped.
The above is from Kirk Semple's "4 G.I.’s Among Dead in Iraq; McCain Cites Progress" in this morning's New York Times. Remember, the campaign slogan is "Vote Insane, Vote John McCain." With about a hundred US troops, body armor and traveling in US "armored military vehicles," you too can walk safely through some streets of Baghdad like Crazy John. From that limited point of view, you too can moan about having "the full picture" that everyone else is missing. Actually, I believe Semple's made an error. McCain's actual words were probably "the fool's picture" and Crazy John's got that like nobody else.
If you check out Ashley Gilbertson's photo with the article, you'll note McCain's wearing a Lacoste shirt -- demonstrating both that he lacks fashion sense and that he doesn't buy American. That ought to go over strongly with his jingostic set.
Martha notes Sudarsan Raghavan and Saad al-Izzi's "Visiting Iraq, McCain Cites Progress on Safety Issues" (Washington Post):
After a heavily guarded walk through a newly fortified Baghdad market, Sen. John McCain declared that the American public was not getting "a full picture" of the progress unfolding in Iraq.
[, , ,]
Last week, McCain said it was safe to walk some of the streets of Baghdad.
But Sunday's visit took place under heavy security. McCain and his delegation held a news conference inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices. Outside the Green Zone, they rode in armored Humvees protected by dozens of U.S. soldiers and wore bulletproof vests.
They visited a joint U.S.-Iraqi military outpost in the Karrada area of central Baghdad, which Iraqis view as one of the capital's safer neighborhoods.
Part of the Shorja market, normally one of the capital's busiest commercial districts, is now fortified with blast walls and barriers that cut off vehicle traffic. In February, a truck bombing there killed 137 people and injured scores. Last month, a bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque in the market, killing eight and wounding nearly three dozen.
Crazy McCain, prolonging the illegal war while he hums his own theme song:
Well on his way, his head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices, talking perfectly loud.
But nobody ever hears him,
Or the sound he appears to make.
And he never seems to notice . . . .
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