Bombs kill four U.S. soldiers in Iraq

Four more U.S. soldiers were killed in roadside bombings in the Baghdad area, including three in a single strike, the military said Tuesday, raising to at least 19 the number of troop deaths in the first week of August.

The numbers signaled a resurgence in attacks after July saw the lowest number of U.S. casualties in eight months. U.S. commanders have warned they expected militants to try to upstage a September report on military and economic progress in Iraq.

Iraq’s political crisis also worsened as five more ministers announced a boycott of Cabinet meetings — leaving Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s unity government with no members affiliated with Sunni political factions.

Al-Maliki, meanwhile, arrived in Turkey for a state visit likely to be dominated by Turkish warnings to either crack down on rebel bases in northern Iraq or face a possible incursion. He was slated to travel to Iran on Wednesday.

The U.S. military said three Task Force Marne soldiers were killed Saturday when a roadside bomb struck their convoy south of Baghdad, the military said.

One Multi-National Division — Baghdad soldier was killed and another wounded Monday when their vehicle was targeted by an armor-piercing explosively formed penetrator, or EFP, in a western section of the capital, according to a separate statement.

Washington has accused Iran of supplying Shiite extremists with EFPs to step up attacks against American forces. Tehran denies the allegations.

The military also said earlier that four soldiers were killed in a powerful combat explosion in restive Diyala province north of the capital on Monday.

The deaths raised to at least 19 members of the U.S. military who have died this month, or a rate of about three per day, putting August on track for a heavier toll after a drop in July. Seventy-nine American troop deaths were reported, the lowest number since 70 killed in November.

More than 100 American forces died each month in the April-to-June period as the incoming U.S. troops were deployed with the Iraqi army in Baghdad’s dangerous streets and security outposts.

Despite the relatively low number in July, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the U.S. second-in-command, has blamed nearly three-quarters of the attacks on rogue Shiite militias the military believes are being armed and trained by Iran, which he said was increasing its support ahead of the pivotal report to be delivered to Congress in September.

Despite the new U.S. accusations of Iranian meddling, the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors met Monday for their third round of talks in just over two months. The U.S. Embassy called the talks between Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his counterpart, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, “frank and serious.”

The new cracks in al-Maliki’s government appeared even as U.S. military officials sounded cautious notes of progress on security, citing strides against insurgents linked to al-Qaida in Iraq but also new threats from Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

But it was al-Maliki’s troubles that seized the most attention.

The Cabinet boycott of five ministers loyal to former Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi left the government, at least temporarily, without participants who were members of the Sunni political apparatus — a deep blow to the prime minister’s attempt to craft reconciliation among the country’s majority Shiites and minority Sunnis and Kurds.

The defense minister is from a Sunni background but has no political ties and was chosen by al-Maliki.

The Allawi bloc, a mixture of Sunnis and Shiites, cited al-Maliki’s failure to respond to its demands for political reform. The top Sunni political bloc already had pulled its six ministers from the 40-member Cabinet of al-Maliki, a Shiite, last week.

“This decision is a bid to apply political pressure for reforming the political process that is headed in the wrong direction,” bloc spokesman Ayad Jamaluddin said Tuesday at a news conference.

He declined to give a deadline but said the bloc’s demands included reconsidering efforts to revise legislation to bring thousands of former Saddam Hussein era party officials back into the government and preventing the infiltration of security forces by extremists.

The ministers intend to continue overseeing their ministries.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has been trying to broker the Sunni bloc’s return in a bid to hold the government together, met Monday with Crocker and a White House envoy.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States was working well with the al-Maliki government, but he did not give the kind of enthusiastic endorsement that President Bush and his aides once did.

“There’s a very healthy political debate that is going on in Iraq, and that is good,” McCormack said. “It’s going to be for them (the Iraqi people) to make the judgments about whether or not that government is performing.”

Lawmaker Hussam al-Azawi, of the bloc loyal to Allawi, said the boycott began with Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

“We demanded broader political participation by all Iraqis to achieve real national reconciliation … and an end to sectarian favoritism,” al-Azawi said.

In Tal Afar to the north, residents of the religiously mixed city faced a curfew after a suicide bomber slammed his truck into a crowded Shiite neighborhood on Monday. The blast killed at least 28 people, including at least 19 children, according to Brig. Gen. Najim Abdullah, who said the dump truck was filled with explosives and covered with a layer of gravel.

Houses collapsed as many families were getting ready for the day ahead.

Several residents said boys and girls were playing hopscotch and marbles outside the houses at the time of the explosion.

“This is an ugly crime. I cannot understand how the insurgents did not think about these children,” said one man, Kahlil Atta, a wedding photographer in the city.

Tal Afar, which was cited by Bush last March as a success story after major military operations against insurgents, has been the frequent site of Sunni extremist attacks in the past year.


Associated Press writers Sinan Salaheddin and Hamid Ahmed in Baghdad contributed to this report.


  1. gene

    Best rant I’ve seen in a while. Kind of sums it up. This is one “shithole” of a world. Humanity…Hah!!!…get real. Sorry bastards care for nothing but their on greed. Children dieing and what do (they: “those evil bastards”) care as long as they gain the power and wealth they perceive.

    Well get ready evil dudes. Yours days….ARE NUMBERED!!!

  2. bryan mcclellan

    Square that for me too Rob.As I’ve said before,when smirk gets to hell the devil and his minions will run screaming for the exits in stark raving terror.What pit of filth has spawned such blindness to human suffering I know not.If given the power to prosecute and punish these criminals(smirkco),I fear my spiritual side would be overwhelmed by sheer madness,and be hard pressed to restrain the in like kind treatment they have visited upon this nation and the world.They above all despots in history so richly deserve global condemnation.We don’t belong in the middle east,never did, never will.Remember the first acronym used for this war,Operation Iraqi Liberation, O.I.L. I believe I’ve just identified the pit they crawled from.

  3. gene

    Easy (bryan) or I’ll be sending you one of my ativan. Before I continue, please go to ( and read the current post (Will Rate Cuts Save the Economy) and let me know what you think.

    Something is happening on this planet and it will (soon) consume our every thought. I’m just glad their are people like you and others here that I can occasionally connect with. Take care my friend!!! gene

  4. Sandra Price

    We thought the new Congress would at least try to stop the funding of the war but they ran on one agenda and then ignored it. We can’t seem to connect with either party at this time and it seems we may have to come up with a third one.

    Rob speaks for all of us! He usually does…..

  5. bryan mcclellan

    Hey Gene :I’m not anywhere near able to fathom global economics but I do recognize the Reagan years in what is beginning to happen in the U.S. Remember when land was sky high and farmers were allowed to over extend (late 70’s early 80’s) and foreclosures took the generational family farms? It was the beast of trickle down that was unleashed on an unsuspecting populace.Manufacturing fled the mid-west and farmers started walking into banks and shooting loan officers. They lend the money out to enslave then take it back every ten years or so in the form of property built by the sweat and toil of the common man.This gives them found money in the form of peoples hard earned down payments and they are miles ahead because we’ve also paid interest on the loan.Now they have a war they can’t pay for so they seek to reshuffle the wealth back into their own deck leaving you and I to start over again and fund another round of prosperity for the one percent which is made up of the corporate puppet masters.War is big business.Hey ,I better take it easy or………..

  6. gene

    Sorry (bryan)…information overload mabe? Thats how they (this evil) is going to succeed for a while, through our wallets. Through the wallets of Joe public who has been brain washed and is now brain dead. (666) is here along with the chip (digital angel, a company in Flordia: veri chip)…ready to be implanted under the skin, many have it already. I know this, proven, its here NOW!!! We have but moments left in the scheme of life. Eyes that cannot see and ears that do not hear.

  7. bryan mcclellan

    Hey Gene :don’t hold back on the links, I’m ingesting as fast as I’m able. Also,the Fed didn’t change the prime today,could it be the veil being lifted for all to see gave them cold feet in implementing this part of their plan ?

  8. shag11

    Dr. Juan Cole was NPR today, and pointed out that all this talk of recent success, tied to a recent lower death toll for our troops, is at best misleading.
    He said that while last months death toll was under 100 in July, is was still double what it was a year ago. The attacks are up to 170 a day, on average.
    He stated that the death of the Iraqis have increased, and that no benchmarks have been met by the Maliki government.
    He also spoke about the fact that we are making deals with people who kill our soldiers. They probably have their hands on some of those 170k missing weapons.

  9. Uncle Ludwig

    The key thing these reports of troop deaths are never mentioning is the toll on the living they represent. I happen to know parents of a young soldier who knew the three killed in the one attack mentioned above. He has lost nearly two dozen close friends/comrades in arms in the Iraqi hell hole, and he has gone from a confident, proud soldier to a beaten down, spirit-crushed, hater of officers and politicians who can’t make rational decisions to do anything of value for the men and women on the ground doing the dying.

    Face it, gang, we’re seeing the worst of what a propaganda war can become. The Washington leadership is so wrapped up in their own self interests that it forces the general staffs of the military to make decisions that will placate the civilians leaders instead of standing up against or walking away honorably from the dishonorable duties they’ve been handed.

    There are no good answers in Iraq; it seems more and more obvious each day. The Bush crowd continues to get everything it wants because to try to undo the ugliness they’ve wrought in that region confines the rest of us to deciding only between evils of various levels.

    To all who voted this crowd in, especially the second time, I hope you will one day feel the real pain and misery this bunch has inflicted on the world. And don’t tell the rest of us you “couldn’t imagine” this would happen. We imagined it back then, and it still turned even worse than our worst expectations!

  10. gene

    “There are no good answers in Iraq” above (Uncle Ludwig)…I totally agree!!! so we (must) get the hell out of their so other young soldiers want have to suffer the fate as the one you desribed in your comment. Breaks my heart to read stories as such and I know their are thousands. I’ve seen the photos of young men returning home horribly missfigured from their wounds, missing arms and legs or both. The system of medical care for these young men is imploding from the constant strain. Their are little if any medical options for most Iraqi citizens, except to die.

    Bush and Cheney are demonic creatures sent from hell itself. That may sound somewhat dramatic but these monsters care NOTHING for the lives of others. Congress is just as evil and has whored themselves with this gain of devils.

    I’ve said all this before. We (this nation) will soon face even more evil as these two monsters (Bush and Cheney) and others that sleep with them continue their rampage of destruction and horror. These are truely evil men with no conscious and no heart. They are dead on the inside and what they call a heart is only an instrument that must be fed the blood of the innocent that their lust for power through total control will grow.

    Can they be stopped? At this point, I truely don’t know.