Tuesday, January 22, 2008



By Bill Corcoran, editor and host of CORKSPHERE.

One of the more well-known cable news outlets in the United States, which shall remain nameless, has a motto that goes like this: "We Report. You Decide."

There is, however, one glaring problem with the cable news station's motto. In the case of the Iraq war they no longer "report" on the war so viewers are left with nothing to "decide."

In the spirit of being "fair and balanced," another motto of the nameless cable news station, we are bringing readers of this blog the "fair and balanced" reports of what is really taking place in Iraq.

Al-Qaida has changed their tactics in Iraq and it appears as though they are pinpointing "soft targets" like schools and funerals in an effort to undermine the notion that the "surge" is working and things are getting better in Iraq.

In the past few days there have been a number of suicide bombings aimed at schools and funerals. Below is an article on just one of them.

Finally, our stat counter indicates my blog is receiving a lot of visitors from overseas. I want to thank all of you and invite you to comment on any of the topics I post on this blog.

Suicide bomber attacks Iraqi school

By CHRISTOPHER CHESTER, Associated Press WriterTue Jan 22, 4:52 PM ET


A suicide bomber pushing an electric heater atop a cart packed with hidden explosives attacked a high school north of Baghdad on Tuesday, leaving students and teachers bloodied and bewildered as insurgents appeared to be expanding their list of targets.

The bombing — one of two attacks near Iraqi schools on the same day — follows a wave of recent blasts blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq against funerals and social gatherings.

The trend points to the possibility that al-Qaida has shifted tactics to focus increasingly on so-called soft targets and undermine public confidence that things are looking better in the country.

The backlash also coincides with a U.S.-led offensive trying to uproot insurgents from strongholds around Baghdad.

In the suicide attack, the bomber posed as a shopper or merchant transporting an electric heater on a chilly winter day — an apparent attempt to deflect attention from the explosive-rigged cart.
The blast struck the front of a two-story schoolhouse in Baqouba about 8:30 a.m., half an hour after classes began. Panicked parents rushed to find out if their children were alive or dead.
A 25-year-old male bystander was killed and 21 people were wounded — 12 students, eight teachers and one policeman, according to a doctor at Baqouba General Hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was afraid of being targeted by militants.

"I can't think of any reason to target students," said 15-year-old Mohammed Abbas, his wounded head in a bandage as his father stood near his hospital bed in Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. "We did not expect that explosions would reach our school."

Go back to the link to read the full account.


It is hard to believe the mainstream media in the United States have collectively decided the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not worth covering anymore considering what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan today (see stories below).

My blog
http://corksphere.blogspot.com/ is the only blog in America devoted to the latest development in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As long as there is one U.S. military person in Iraq and Afghanistan, I will continue to bring to my blog readers what the mainstream media in the United States feels is stale news.

Bill Corcoran, editor and host of



The DoD
is reporting a new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Staff Sgt. Justin R. Whiting died in an IED attack in Mosul on Saturday, January 19th. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. No other details were released.Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: One employee was killed and six others wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in southeastern Baghdad on Tuesday, police said."An IED planted by unidentified gunmen on the main road in Jisr Diala area, southeastern Baghdad, went off when a bus carrying transport ministry employees was passing by in al-Rasafa," a security source, who preferred not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq#2: A roadside bomb wounded a policeman when it hit his car in Mashtal district in eastern Baghdad, police said.#3: Four civilians were wounded when an explosive device detonated in Karrada, central Baghdad, on Tuesday, a security source said. “An improvised explosive device (IED) went off, while an Iraqi police patrol was passing by,” a security source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq -Voices of Iraq.#4: US Army announced on Tuesday that a chopper, which crashed in northern Baghdad, actually had an emergency landing due to a technical malfunction and not as a result of an attack. Two other choppers evacuated the crew of the busted chopper to a nearby military base and secured the area, Press Coordinator at the Multinational Force in Iraq Abdulatif Rayyan told KUNA. Earlier today, tribe leaders Sheikh Khalaf Al-Dulaimi and Talib Al-Majmaie told KUNA that the chopper went down in al-Nibaie area at noon Tuesday, and at the same time a search operation was conducted in near by villages, resulting in the arrest of 30 suspects.#5: Police found three bodies in Baghdad, one in Dora, in Saidiyah, in Baladiyat.Diyala Prv:"An Iraqi force, backed by Multi-National Force (MNF) troops, killed four gunmen and cleared the villages of Tal Tal and al-Jawr in the district of al-Muqdadiya within the continuing Operation Raider Harvest," the source, who refused to have his name mentioned, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq#2: A roadside bomb killed an employee of the Transport Ministry and wounded six others when it targeted their bus in Diyala Bridge, southeast of Baghdad, police said.Baquba:#1: 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. Bystanders and at least one police officer were also wounded in the 8:30 a.m. bombing, according to a policeman who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals. The target of the latest bombing was unclear: The school is next to the provincial governor's office and a municipal building in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.#2: Iraqi security forces found the bodies of seven family members on Tuesday, all bearing signs of torture and shot execution-style, as they hunted al Qaeda fighters outside Iraq's volatile city of Baquba, police said. Police said the bodies were those of a father and his five sons as well as a nephew. The bodies, found in an orchard, had been identified by other family members, they said.Arab Jabour:#1: US and Iraqi ground forces edged cautiously towards an Al-Qaeda stronghold just south of Baghdad on Monday after the area was heavily bombed overnight, an AFP photographer said.Troops of the US 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment were using Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to inch forward and clearing roadside bombs with remote-controlled robots, said the photographer, who was moving with the unit. The US military said American warplanes overnight pounded suspected Al-Qaeda havens in Arab Jabour, 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of Baghdad.Amara:#1: A child was killed on Tuesday in a missile explosion in southern Missan, said a police said. "A seven-year-old child was killed this morning in a missile explosion, one that remained from the former Iraqi army in al-Magar al-Kabier district, south of Amara," the source, who asked to remain anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI). "The explosion took place when the child dismantled the missile to take the copper materials inside to sell it in the market," he explained.Touz Khormato:#1: Unknown gunmen believed to belong to al-Qaeda kidnapped two brothers in an area between Sulayman Bik and al-Qadaa districts near Touz Khormato, a police source said on Tuesday.Basra:#1: Two policemen were wounded in an armed attack in central Basra city on Tuesday morning, Iraqi police said. Unknown gunmen opened fire on a patrol car in downtown Basra's al-Tayaran square, wounding two policemen who were taken to the hospital and causing damage to the vehicle," an official security source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq.Gunmen wounded three policemen when they opened fire on their car in central Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.#3: local residents told the VOI that the British base in the city of Basra was rocketed on Tuesday night. "Four Katyusha rockets were fired in the direction of the British base," a witness from a residential compound in the airport environs said. "Sirens wailed more than once at the British base," he said. The British side could not be immediately contacted to learnShirqat:#1: Gunmen killed a bodyguard of Salahuddin province's police chief and wounded another in an attack on their car in Shirqat, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The police chief was not present at the time.Kirkuk:#1: The director of the al-Adala police station survived an assassination attempt with an improvised explosive device (IED) that targeted his motorcade in southern Kirkuk, an official police source in the city said. "An IED went off on Tuesday morning near the al-Adala police chief in the neighborhood of al-Wasti, southern Kirkuk, leaving no casualties," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) on condition of anonymity.#2: A roadside bomb wounded two people when it exploded near their car in central Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.#3: Police found a woman body under Bardi Bridge north of Kirkuk after receiving a report from a citizen in the area. Police said there were no identification cards to identify the deceased and the body carried signs of two bullets.Mosul:#1: "An improvised explosive device went off on Tuesday morning near a police patrol in Mosul's southern area of al-Ghazalani, wounding a policeman and a civilian who were close to the scene of the blast," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq.#2: a force from the Iraqi army's 4th brigade defused two explosive charges in Mosul's eastern neighborhood of al-Tahrir, but no casualties were reported on the army's side, the source added.#3: "An Iraqi army force stationed in Mosul managed to kill a gunman in the industrial region in western Mosul and confiscated weapons and ammunitions that were in his possession," Colonel Hagi Maher, deputy commander of the 2nd brigade of the Iraqi army, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of IraqAfghanistan:#1: A Coalition CH-47 Chinook helicopter made an emergency landing in Sorobi District, Kabul Province, today around 4 p.m. after reporting a maintenance issue. There were no indications the landing was caused by enemy activity. The site has been secured by the passengers on board and a quick reaction force from a nearby base. There have been no reported injuries as a result from the emergency landing.#2: Militants have killed five Pakistani soldiers and wounded seven in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border. Pakistani commanders said the militants suffered heavy losses in the attack on an observation post near the Ladha fort, which began an hour after midnight."The miscreants attacked the observation post of Ladha fort using heavy arms," a military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, told Dawn Television. A spokesman for the militants denied heavy losses, saying 10 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 13 captured.Casualty Reports:U.S. Army Spc. Randy Moore, 23, was hurt Jan. 13 when a homemade bomb exploded near his Humvee in Iraq. Moore lost his left hand and sustained numerous shrapnel wounds, burns and injuries to both legs, his mother, Debbi McCloy, said. The improvised explosive device exploded near Moore's Humvee in heavy fighting around Baghdad. Moore was flown to the states last week and is in an undisclosed burn hospital.



By Jonathan Steele, Comment Is FreePosted on January 21, 2008, Printed on January 22, 2008


Five years after he launched it, George Bush's invasion of Iraq looks even more disastrous than it did at the end of the first year. Not only did it uncover no weapons of mass destruction. The invasion has led to a collapse in millions of ordinary Iraqis' personal security, producing a human rights nightmare and annual rates of killing that dwarf the atrocities of Saddam Hussein's three decades of power.

The damage to the United States has been enormous. As well as the loss of around 4,000 soldiers' lives, America's image and reputation in the Middle East have been severely harmed. For Bush and the neocons, the invasion has brought political defeat. Their project for Iraq to become a secular, liberal, pro-western bastion of democracy lies in ruins. The country is run by a narrow-minded group of Shia Islamists with close control over a sectarian army and police force. Many of them are linked to Iran.
As a result, Bush is now forced to run around the Arabian states along the Persian Gulf in an effort to build an anti-Iranian alliance and find a pretext for keeping a strategic presence in the region.

Sunni Arab revulsion at the murderous tactics of al-Qaida in Iraq, as well as the current "surge" of extra American troops, have helped to produce a welcome drop in al-Qaida's murders of Iraqi civilians and American forces, but it has to remembered that al-Qaida was never in Iraq before the invasion. A successful reduction in al-Qaida's power cannot outweigh all the harm Bush's war has caused to Iraqis.

Many critics blame the occupation's difficulties on a lack of planning, and a series of mistakes in the first few months, including the disbanding of the Iraqi army and failures to provide Iraqi with electricity and water. The line is summed up in the phrase "Winning the war but losing the peace."

But this assumes that a more intelligent and efficient occupation could have worked. It is an extraordinary notion. Like other Arabs, Iraqis have a long memory of US and British intervention in the Middle East, toppling regimes and controlling puppet governments, both to maintain an imperial presence and for the sake of oil. As soon as the Americans made it clear in mid-2003 that their occupation was going to be openended and without a timetable for troop withdrawal, Iraqi nationalists were bound to become suspicious and start resisting.

Yet L Paul Bremer, Iraq's American overlord, as well as his political masters in Washington, used the template of the occupations of Germany and Japan in 1945. They seemed to forget they were occupying an Arab country with a long history of anti-western resistance. Kanan Makiya, the Iraqi exile whose energetic campaigning against Saddam helped to push Bush into invading, realized the point with considerable regret last year when he said "the first and biggest American error was the idea of going for an occupation."

Click on link above to read the rest of this story.


A series of suicide bomber attacks, including one yesterday just north of Baghdad that left 18 killed, has dashed any hopes that Iraq is well on the way to being a secure country.

Suicide bomber kills 18 north of Baghdad


A suicide bomber apparently targeting a senior security official blew himself up inside a funeral tent Monday, killing 18 people in the latest of a series of deadly attacks chipping away at the notion of a calmer Iraq.

The U.S. military has repeatedly warned that the fight against insurgents is not over, and the bombing in a village north of Baghdad was the third in as many days in Sunni Arab areas thought to have been largely rid of al-Qaida militants.