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Recent Polls Blast War Effort

BBC World Service: extensive global survey reveals majority skeptical about war in Iraq. (download .pdf)

Zogby: 72% of U.S. Troops in iraq say End War in 2006

CBS News: Bush Job Approval at 34% = lowest ever
(was 35% post-Katrina)

Could we be looking at “defeat and retreat?”

BREAKING: President Bush to ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas Tuesday:

“…. my policy has not changed. To summarize it, as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.”

+ Zogby breaks down his poll.

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1,300 – How did WaPo get this number?

Washington Post February 28, 2006

When does solid reporting trump the “official word?” and Where is backup evidence to support the Post’s number? Today, most news outlets are reporting the Iraqi Cabinet’s official number of civilians killed since the bombing of the Askariya mosque in Samarra last week. Finally, this afternoon, AP has added some clarification, including the 1,300 number reported in the Washington Post:

The Iraqi Cabinet said 379 people had been killed and 458 wounded in reprisal attacks in the week since bombers destroyed the golden dome atop an important Shiite shrine in the predominantly Sunni Muslim central city of Samarra.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that more than 1,300 Iraqis had been killed since the shrine attack, but the Cabinet statement described that account as “inaccurate and exaggerated.” The Post cited figures from the Baghdad central morgue, but an official there told The Associated Press that as of Sunday night they had received only 249 bodies tied to the violence. The Post figure appeared high based on police and hospital reports from the major population centers at the time of the attacks.

Riverbend: “Volatile Days” – a report from her neighborhood in Baghdad
Al Jazeera: “Iraqi Bloggers Tell of Violence, Hope”
TimesUK: “Bomb Blasts Kill 55 on Eve of Bush Visit to India

AP: “Multiple Bombings Kill At Least 66 in Baghdad” – 2/28

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Does Anybody Really Care?

Saddam Hussein is on trial, and there are over 130,000 U.S. troops responsible for providing additional security and support on the ground throughout Iraq, but bombs exploded near yet another significant Shiite religious shrine, and at least 30 are dead including two American soldiers following attacks nationwide Sunday.

Shiites in Iran are blaming the West for the bombing of the Askariya shrine last week in Samarra. Protestors hurled Molotov cocktails at the British embassy in Tehran on Sunday.

Confidence in the U.S. mission in Iraq appears to be headed for the doldrums after two of the war’s staunch supporters, arch-Conservatives Bill Kristol and William F. Buckley Jr. consider waving the white flag.
Today is the deadline for U.S. negotiators to meet the demands of Christian Science Monitor correspondent Jill Carroll’s kidnappers to secure her release. There apparently is nothing further to report here.

Many of Iraq’s newly trained police forces are suspected of doubling as death squads, according to a UN envoy.

I’m headed for the Crime Bus! Here’s hoping for a dry Bacchus at Mardi Gras!

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Destruction of the Golden Mosque

At least 100 people have been killed in the 24 hours following Wednesday’s bombing of al Askari mosque — one of the holiest shrines for the Shia — in Samarra, Iraq.

Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi is sounding alarm with the statement: “This is as 9/11 in the United States.”

Not just any old place of worship, the golden mosque is connected to the 12th and final Shi’ite imam, who Shias believe went into hiding in the 9th century under the Askariya mosque. Believers await a messiah-like return of this hidden imam.

Historian Juan Cole, commenting on the CBC’s “As it Happens,” compared the significance of the site to the Sistine Chapel in describing the extent of the terror achieved in such an attack — believed to be the first major bombing of a religious shrine in Iraq since the war began.

At least seven mosques have been bombed throughout Iraq since Wednesday, according to Major General Rick Lynch, spokesman for coalition forces in Iraq.
President Bush has condemned the attack as grotesque, but many hold the United States at least partially accountable for the attack. Despite the apparent lack of security allowing such an attack, it is believed that the bombing came in response to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad’s threat this week that the U.S. would pull its support from the country should fail to work together andn remain sharply sectarian.

A journalist with Al-Arabiya Television and two of her crew were killed on their way to reporting from the destroyed shrine.

The ever-prominent Shi’ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr is prepared for all-out civil war in response to the bombing. His Mehdi army is responsible for many of the killings in the aftermath of the bombing. There were no fatalities in the bombing itself, and no group has claimed responsibility.

More: CJR on civil war; Heretik on Samarra; PublicEye / Global Voices / Riverbend from Iraq