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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What about the dead in Iraq?
Posted by Jill | 5:50 AM
With the 24/7 newsotainment cycle only now beginning to emerge from its "All Virginia Tech, All The Time" coverage, is there any chance at all that Americans might start thinking about the young people who aren't college students -- the ones our president seems to have all but forgotten unless they can be used as political props?

Nine of them -- one-quarter of the Virginia Tech death toll -- died yesterday in a single suicide bombing:

A devastating suicide car bombing on Monday killed nine American soldiers near a patrol base in Diyala Province, the military announced early Tuesday morning.

It was one of the most lethal suicide bomb attacks on American troops in Iraq. Another occurred on Dec. 21, 2004, when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest walked into a mess tent on an American base in Mosul and detonated his charge, killing 14 United States soldiers.

In the past six months, Diyala Province, where several Sunni Arab insurgent groups are active, has become one of the most dangerous places in Iraq for American soldiers.

Twenty soldiers and one Iraqi civilian were also wounded in the blast on Monday, the military said. Eight of the soldiers and the Iraqi civilian were evacuated to an allied medical center; the others returned to duty.

Later, three of the soldiers who were evacuated also returned to duty, according to a statement issued by the military. There was no other information available about the attack.

Other attacks in which large numbers of American military personnel have died include several instances in which insurgents shot down helicopters carrying numerous troops and one attack on United States marines serving in Anbar Province.

In that attack, on Aug. 3, 2005, a huge roadside bomb exploded near Haditha, killing 14 marines who were involved in combat operations and traveling in an amphibious vehicle.

On Monday, an American soldier also died in Muqdadiya when a roadside bomb exploded, the military said in a news release.

Across Iraq, five car bombs exploded Monday, killing a total of 22 people, and a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest walked into a popular restaurant near Baghdad’s fortified International Zone, formerly known as the Green Zone, and detonated his explosives, killing six people.

That's nine American soldiers and 22 Iraqi civilians killed just yesterday -- one less than the Virginia Tech death toll.

I'm not trying to take away from the tragedy of young people cut down while sitting in college classrooms, nor am I trying to equate the risk of attending college with the risk of fighting in a war. But over the last week we've seen a president who has never attended a single soldier's funeral and who let a city drown before visiting it drop everything to attend a memorial for the Virginia Tech students. We've seen flags flown at half-staff for the slain students, while no flag has ever flown at half-staff for the over 3300 Americans killed in this misbegotten war. This president has never expressed any regret for the tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who have lost their lives because he had to prove his manhood by invading a country that never attacked us. This president gives constant lip service to the sanctity of human life. But it's clear that the only human life he regards sacred is human life that benefits him politically.

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