Nine U.S. troops were killed in Iraq, the military announced Monday, including seven who died in a vehicle accident in northwestern Baghdad.
The accident occurred early Monday when an armored truck drove off a raised highway in the Shula area, said Lt. Col. Steven Miska, a deputy brigade commander. Miska said he believed a tire blowout and possibly another mechanical failure caused the driver to lose control.
The above is from Megan Greenwell and Joshua Partlow's "8 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Die in Vehicle Wrecks; Another Killed in North" (Washington Post). Martha noted it. Robert H. Reid covers the story for AP. So maybe the news will make other papers in that way? It doesn't appear that the New York Times (still selling the illegal war) is overly concerned.
We're not wasting a great deal of time on Bully Boy and his sock puppet.
We'll note Carolyn Lochhead's "Upbeat assessment buys Bush some time on Iraq" (San Francisco Chronicle):
The upbeat assessment Monday on the state of the war in Iraq by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker appeared to provide President Bush with the breathing space he needs to forestall major congressional defections from his war policy.
Although Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said gradual troop reductions could begin this month, it would not be until mid-July of next year that troop levels would drop from the current 168,000 to the levels they were before Bush announced the escalation last January that has sent 30,000 more soldiers to Iraq.
Political analysts had predicted for months that Republican congressional support for the war would crumble come fall, as the election season begins in earnest. Republican leaders themselves said last spring that the Petraeus report could prove pivotal - that some change on the ground would have to be evident by now.
And we'll note Nancy A. Youssef and Leila Fadel's "What Crocker and Petraeus didn't say" (McClatchy Newspapers):
Neither Petraeus nor U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker talked about the fact that since the troop surge began the pace by which Iraqis were abandoning their homes in search of safety had increased. They didn't mention that 86 percent of Iraqis who've fled their homes said they'd been targeted because of their sect, according to the International Organization for Migration.
While Petraeus stressed that civilian casualties were down over the last five weeks, he drew no connection between that statement and a chart he displayed that showed that the number of attacks rose during at least one of those weeks.
Petraeus also didn't highlight the fact that his charts showed that "ethno-sectarian" deaths in August, down from July, were still higher than in June, and he didn't explain why the greatest drop in such deaths, which peaked in December, occurred between January and February, before the surge began.
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