7 US Troops Dead
Thursday Bombing Toll 21 Dead, 70 Wounded
ON Thursday near Qaim, a US armored vehicle was hit by a bomb, which killed 4 and wounded 10. The Washington Post’s Knickmeyer gives a sense of what the deaths mean to a Marine squad, which has been devastated. Three other US troops were killed in the past two days in Iraq.
The Guardian reports that “At least 21 Iraqis were killed and more than 70 wounded yesterday in another wave of attacks. Four car bombs exploded in Baghdad, with the worst killing 17 people in the east of the city.” Another report said that the casualties from the fourth bombing haven’t even been reported yet. ArabNews reports that bombs hit the northern oil city of Kirkuk, as well: “Two more car bombs exploded in the northern city of Kirkuk, 290 km from Baghdad. One blast happened near a police station in a central residential area, killing two people and wounding two, said police Capt. Sarhad Talabani. The other car bomb detonated at a site where experts were dismantling an improvised explosive devise. Two of the explosives experts were wounded in the blast.” Tragic as all this violence and bloodletting is, even I am starting to have trouble distinguishing these reports from one another, day after day.
US troops continued to comb villages around Qaim on Thursday, but many were “ghost towns” as most able bodied men had fled. In Baghdad, crowds pelted US troops and Iraqi army responders to suicide bombings with stone, furious that these forces have proved unable to stop the bombing campaign.
US Troops will be in Iraq for at least two years (i.e. until May 2007), according to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in Brazil for a joint Arab world/ Latin America summit. And that is the wildly optimistic timetable, folks.
AP reports that a major new survey shows a poor quality of life in Iraq.
“85 percent of Iraqis complain of frequent power outages, only 54 percent have access to clean water and almost a quarter of Iraqi children suffer from chronic malnutrition, a U.N.-Iraqi survey revealed Thursday.”
The literacy rate is only 65 percent. Iraq’s social statistics have deteriorated dramatically since the early 1980s.
Iraqi health ministry employees say that the situation in Iraq is not better, with regard to health care, than it was under Saddam, despite the large sums invested in health services during the past two years.