Pity the U.S. presidential candidates. They had their positions on Iraq all worked out by last summer and have repeated them consistently ever since. But events on the ground have changed dramatically, and their rhetoric feels increasingly stale. They’re fighting the Iraq War all right, but it’s the wrong one.
The Democrats are having the hardest time with the new reality. Every candidate is committed to “ending the war” and bringing our troops back home. The trouble is, the war has largely ended, and precisely because our troops are in the middle of it.
A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a high school north of Baghdad on Tuesday, wounding 22 people including teachers and students arriving for the beginning of the school day…U.S. commanders credit anti-al-Qaida fighters from Sunni groups, a six-month cease-fire by a Shiite militia and the dispatch of 30,000 additional U.S. soldiers last year for the reduction in violence. But there has been an uptick in high-profile bombings in recent weeks, suggesting al-Qaida remains a potent threat.
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On Monday, a suicide bomber apparently targeting a senior security official blew himself up inside a funeral tent, killing 18 people in Hajaj, a village about midway along the nearly 20 miles between Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit and the oil hub of Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad.
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The attack comes one day after a 15-year-old suicide bomber walked into a party carrying a box of chocolates and detonated hidden explosives, killing himself, his cousin â€” a Sunni fighter working with U.S. and Iraqi forces â€” and four others.
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Meanwhile, a military spokeswoman said a soldier killed over the weekend south of Baghdad was the first American casualty in a roadside bomb attack on the newly introduced, heavily armored MRAP, or Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle.
At least 100 predominantly Sunni militiamen, known as Awakening Council members or Concerned Local Citizens, have been killed in the past month, mostly around Baghdad and the provincial capital of Baquba, urban areas with mixed Sunni and Shiite populations, according to Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani. At least six of the victims were senior Awakening leaders, Iraqi officials said.
Things are going great, if by “great” you mean “somewhat less horrifically terrible, but that could change.”