A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a Shiite funeral tent on Saturday and blew it up among the mourners, killing at least 18 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others.
Five American soldiers were killed Saturday and another five were wounded in two separate roadside bomb attacks in Baiji, a predominantly Sunni town in northern Iraq. The United States military said all were with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, but gave no other details. With the attacks, the American death toll killed in the Baiji area rose to seven since Thursday.
. . . American and Iraqi officials have been predicting that violence would intensify as nationwide elections scheduled for Dec. 15 grew nearer. Suicide attacks, which had fallen off in recent months, have begun to surge again. With 92 American military deaths, October was the fourth-deadliest month for American soldiers since the invasion in March 2003.
Yesterday, President Bush said:
Our strategy can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down, and when our commanders on the ground tell me that Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.
The second part of our strategy is a political strategy. Iraqis are moving forward in building a democracy. A month ago, millions of Iraqis turned out to vote for a constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for lasting democracy. In a few weeks, Iraqis will vote again to choose a fully constitutional government to lead them for the next four years. Iraq is making amazing progress from the days of being under the thumb of a brutal dictator. Think about this: In two-and-a-half years, they've gone from tyranny to an election for a transitional government, to the ratification of a constitution, to the election of a free government. The Iraqi people are proving their determination to build a future founded on democracy and hope, and the United States of America will help them succeed.
The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East. If the Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery while radicals stir the resentments of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger.
. . . One of our top commanders in Iraq, Major General William Webster, says that setting a deadline for our withdrawal from Iraq would be, "a recipe for disaster." General Webster is right. So long as I'm the Commander-in-Chief, our strategy in Iraq will be driven by the sober judgment of our military commanders on the ground. We will fight the terrorists in Iraq. We will stay in the fight until we have achieved the brave -- the victory that our brave troops have fought for.
What pretty words from a perfect fool.
First, he believes a Constitution overwhelmingly disapproved by the Sunni, the very group fueling the Iraqi insurgency, is the solution to the political problems in Iraq. If he truly believes this, what more can one say? There can be no hope until there is true sober judgment, not this nonsense offered by Bush.
Second, is he still clinging to this ridiculous idea that the United States is NOT the focus of hatred in the Arab world? Does he believe that he is democratizing the Middle East? Delusion. Sheer delusion. Again, this is simply not the view of a man who has a freaking clue.
Third, I wonder if General William Webster has been introduced to General Casey:
The top U.S. commander in Iraq has submitted a plan to the Pentagon for withdrawing troops in Iraq, according to a senior defense official.
Gen. George Casey submitted the plan to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It includes numerous options and recommends that brigades -- usually made up of about 2,000 soldiers each -- begin pulling out of Iraq early next year.
Does Bush even know what is going on? Who can have any confidence in this Administration on Iraq? It becomes virtually impossible to even discuss the relative merits of alternate strategies when the Bush Administration is involved.
This is the worst President and worst Administration in the history of the nation. The situation would be near impossible to manage for the best of Presidents and Administrations. When we are governed by the worst, it is little wonder that folks like John Murtha advocate withdrawal as soon as is practicable.