Newsweek, via Andrew Sullivan:
The Defense Department counted 87 attacks per day on U.S. forces in August — the worst monthly average since Bush's flight-suited visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. Preliminary analysis of the July and August numbers also suggests that U.S. troops are being attacked across a wider area of Iraq than ever before. And the number of gunshot casualties apparently took a huge jump in August. Until then, explosive devices and shrapnel were the primary cause of combat injuries, typical of a "phase two" insurgency, where sudden ambushes are the rule. (Phase one is the recruitment phase, with most actions confined to sabotage. That's how things started in Iraq.) Bullet wounds would mean the insurgents are standing and fighting—a step up to phase three.
And then there's the irreplacable Juan Cole:
At least 7 car bombs shook the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, and guerrillas pounded the Green Zone and the area around it with at least 12 mortar strikes. Mortar shells were also launched at Abu Ghuraib prison and driver tried to get a truckbomb through its gates, but was killed by Marines. The US military and Iraqi National Guards fought a running battle in Haifa Street. The Baghdad fighting took some 37 lives.
A particularly disturbing scenario unfolded at Haifa Street, a hotbed of opposition to US presence in Iraq. The mortar attacks on the Green Zone, which houses the interim Iraqi government and the US embassy, began before dawn. When they continued into the morning, AP says, US troops went in search of the guerrillas, supported by armored vehicles. Then on Haifa Street, guerrillas took out a Bradley fighting vehicle with a car bomb, then sprayed it with machine gun fire and tossed grenades at it. This operation sounds like a well-planned piece of strategy, whereby the US forces were lured to Haifa Street by the mortar fire precisely so that they could be car-bombed and attacked. Two Bradley crewmen were injured by the car bomb, and four in the subsequent attack.
Now you have a burning Bradley fighting vehicle sitting there in the street, and a crowd gathers, many of them boys, to jeer and dance. Some of the young men haul out a banner of the Tawhid and Jihad terrorist group and hang it from a barrel sticking out of the vehicle.
Alarmed that the Bradley would now be looted for weapons and ammunition (and, some reports say, "sensitive equipment"), US troops now call in helicopter gunships. They arrive, but claim they took small arms fire from the area around the burning Bradley.
Now the tragedy unfolds. The helicopters fire repeatedly on the crowd gathered around the Bradley, killing 13 persons and wounding 61. Although some of the killed or wounded may have been guerrillas, it seems obvious that others were just curious little boys from the neighborhood. I am told some of the television footage, which I did not see, suggests that the helicopters fired into a civilian crowd.
In the street were television cameramen and Mazen Tomeizi, a Palestinian producer for the al Arabiya satellite network, He was among those hit by the helicopter fire. Reuters explains:
"The Palestinian died soon afterwards. Reuters cameraman Seif Fouad, recording the scene, was also wounded in the blast.
"I looked at the sky and saw a helicopter at very low altitude," Fouad said. "Just moments later I saw a flash of light from the Apache. Then a strong explosion," he said.
"Mazen's blood was on my camera and face," Fouad said from his hospital bed. He said his friend screamed at him for help: "Seif, Seif! I'm going to die. I'm going to die."
We're in trouble. And there's material somewhere here for John Kerry, though I can't seem to think of what it would be. Oh, it's this, via Atrios:
Richard Perle, just about a year ago:
A year from now I'd be surprised if there's not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.
'Member these guys? The neocons? The ones who overruled the military on postwar strategy?