Saturday, September 18, 2004

We Regret the Error, Pt. CLVII 

President Bush on Thursday:
"This country is headed toward democracy. There's a strong prime minister in place. They have a national council. And national elections are scheduled for January. It wasn't all that long ago that Saddam Hussein was in power with his torture chambers and mass graves. And today, this country is headed towards elections. Freedom is on the march."
On Saturday in Iraq:
An al-Qaida linked group threatened in a videotape to behead two Americans, Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong, and Kenneth Bigley of Britain within two days. It was the first word on the fate of the construction workers since they were kidnapped from their Baghdad home two days earlier. The Tawhid and Jihad group, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the abduction and demanded the release of Iraqi women detained in two American prisons.

A previously unknown group calling itself the ''Salafist Brigades of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq'' claimed it was holding 10 hostages working for an American-Turkish company, according to a tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera. The group said the company had to leave Iraq within three days or the hostages would be killed. The hostages were not identified.

Insurgents set off a car bomb on the road to Baghdad's airport as a U.S. convoy passed, wounding three U.S. soldiers. When other American troops moved to the scene, another car bomb exploded, killing two soldiers and wounding eight more.

A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near a crowd of people waiting to apply for jobs with the Iraqi National Guard in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing at least 19 people and wounding 16.

A roadside bomb exploded in a small side street in central Baghdad, killing one Iraqi man and seriously wounding two, police and witnesses said.

U.S. forces clashed with gunmen in Ramadi after launching an offensive to destroy a suspected militant cell linked to al-Zarqawi. In a separate action, U.S. forces struck a checkpoint manned by insurgents also linked to al-Zarqawi in Fallujah. No casualties were immediately reported.

Hospital officials said residents had found the body of Anbar province's deputy governor, Bassem Mohammed, who was kidnapped earlier this month.
President Bush today:
President Bush warned on Saturday that deadly guerrilla violence in Iraq and Afghanistan could worsen in the coming weeks as the two countries move toward national elections.
And, as a special bonus, this quote to ponder:
"Never in the history of the United Nations have we faced so many opportunities to create a safer world by building a better world," Bush said in his radio address.

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