Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Credibility Chasm

A U.S. helicopter that had a "hard landing" Wednesday might have been brought down by enemy fire, according to military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, and an insurgent group has claimed responsibility.

"The indications are now that it was brought down by small-arms fire and RPGs -- rocket-propelled grenades," Caldwell said, noting that these are preliminary indications.

The Mujahedeen Army posted a message online, saying it was responsible for downing the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

The chopper went down northwest of Baghdad.

Toxic gas kills 2

Toxic gas killed Iraqi civilians for the second time in two days.

A car bomb laced with poisonous gas exploded near a hospital in southwestern Baghdad's Bayaa neighborhood Wednesday, killing two civilians and wounding seven others.

Twenty-three other civilians were hospitalized with respiratory problems caused from the noxious gases.

On Tuesday, a cloud of deadly toxic gas engulfed an Iraqi town, killing six people and leaving dozens of others choking on fumes after a tanker carrying chlorine exploded outside a restaurant.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said the blast in the town of Taji, 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of Baghdad, was caused by a bomb on board the tanker.

Other developments

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday announced plans to withdraw 1,600 of his country's troops from Iraq. In a statement to lawmakers in the House of Commons, Blair said British troop numbers would be reduced from 7,200 to 5,500 in the coming months but only if Iraqi security forces could secure the southern part of the country.

• Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is denying a woman's rape allegations against three Iraqi policemen raped her. The Sunni Arab woman made the claims on Al-Jazeera on Monday.

• A suicide car bomb exploded Wednesday at a busy Iraqi police checkpoint in the holy city of Najaf, killing at least 13 people and wounding 43 others, police said. The casualties included both police and civilians.

• Coalition forces killed seven insurgents and detained 13 others during raids in Iraq on Wednesday, the U.S. military said.

• A U.S. Marine was killed Tuesday while "conducting combat operations" in Anbar province, the U.S. military announced Wednesday. The Marine's death brought to the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war to 3,139. Seven American civilian contractors of the military also have died in the conflict.

• A car bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in Baghdad's Sadr City, killing at least three people.

• Four mortars struck a neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing at least three civilians and wounding 10.

• A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army convoy exploded in southern Baghdad Wednesday morning. Two soldiers were killed and three more wounded.

The first steps in the Baghdad security crackdown have been "encouraging," Caldwell said Wednesday.
Another chopper shot down, two car bombs (one laced with toxic gas), four mortar attacks, and a roadside bomb. All on Wednesday, all in Baghdad.

Anyone know if Maj. Gen. Caldwell's press briefings take place at five o'clock?


Anonymous George said...

Maybe we should call him "Baghdad Bill".

2/21/2007 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cunning -- I'm not sure I get the 'five o'clock' reference.

2/22/2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as in 5 o'clock Follies

2/22/2007 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "Five o'clock Follies" was the name given by the press to the daily press briefings given by the military every day in Vietnam.....

2/22/2007 1:32 PM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

You forgot to mention how Cheney explained that it was good news that the British were withdrawing their troops even as we increase ours.

2/23/2007 8:38 PM  
Blogger maeldon said...

If it is a success story that the British are leaving. By the same standard wouldn't it follow that it would be a success story if we left?

I understand that the British are all hunkered down in their "compounds" unable to control their territory. I don't blame them for leaving, (in fact I do blame them for showing up it the first place.)

2/24/2007 6:16 PM  
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