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Iraq is going well. Safety is increasing every day. Iraqis are being trained to take over security so we don’t need a draft, right? Except they are being killed before they can make it to their first day on the job. (NYT):

In one of their boldest and most brutal attacks yet, insurgents waylaid three minibuses carrying U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers heading home on leave and massacred about 50 of them — many of them shot in the head execution-style, officials said Sunday.

The killing of so many Iraqi soldiers — unarmed and in civilian clothes — in such an apparently sure-footed operation reinforced American and Iraqi suspicions that the country’s security services have been infiltrated by insurgents.

Elsewhere, a U.S. diplomat was killed Sunday morning when a rebel-fired rocket or mortar shell crashed into the trailer where he was sleeping at an American base near the Baghdad airport, the U.S. Embassy announced.

Edward Seitz, an agent with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, was believed to be the first U.S. diplomat killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

The unarmed Iraqi soldiers were killed on their way home after completing a training course at the Kirkush military camp northeast of Baghdad when their buses were stopped Saturday evening by rebels near the Iranian border about 95 miles east of Baghdad, Interior Ministry spokesman Adnan Abdul-Rahman said.

Some accounts by police said the rebels were dressed in Iraqi military uniforms.

There was confusion over precise figures, although the Iraqi National Guard said 48 troops and three drivers were killed.

Abdul-Rahman said 37 bodies were found Sunday on the ground with their hands behind their backs, shot in the head execution-style. Twelve others were found in a burned bus, he said. Some officials quoted witnesses as saying insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades at one bus.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding