U.S. Marines evacuate a colleague wounded in a mortar attack on a base south of Baghdad November 29, 2004. Nine Marines were wounded as they took part in operations forming part of the Marines’ six-day-old Operation Plymouth Rock, intended to thwart Sunni Muslim insurgents, and launched as a follow-up to the U.S. assault on the rebel city of Falluja, upstream to the northwest. (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters)

At this rate, the insurgents are going to eliminate all the “trained” forces that Bush plans to take over this mess when we pull out. And you know he wants to do that ASAP once elections are held. The carnage that fits into one story is staggering. I post a couple of these a week and it is still shocking how out of cpntrol the situation is. (NYT):

A suicide bomber blew up his car outside a police station this morning in the western city of Ramadi, killing 12 people, most of them police officers, officials at the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

In Baghdad, two American soldiers were killed and three were wounded when their convoy struck a roadside bomb, military officials said.

Violence has been on the rise for weeks in Ramadi, the provincial capital 50 miles west of Baghdad, with American and Iraqi forces there battling an increasingly lethal insurgency. Military officials believe some insurgents may have taken refuge there shortly before the American-led offensive to reclaim Falluja, 30 miles to the east of the capital.

Attacks on Iraqi police officers have been increasing throughout Iraq and especially in the northern city of Mosul, where dozens have been killed in recent weeks. Military officials believe the killings may be part of a loosely coordinated campaign to terrorize and destabilize the Iraqi security forces before national elections are held in January.

In Manila, the Philippine government said today that it was willing to negotiate with Iraqi militants who have been holding a Filipino accountant hostage for almost a month.

Four Iraqi civilians were killed Sunday afternoon when a car bomb exploded 60 miles north of here in Samarra, and another was wounded, military officials said. In raids to the north, in Mosul, American and Iraqi troops detained 43 people suspected of being insurgents, military officials said.

South of Baghdad, where American and Iraqi forces are conducting an offensive against insurgents, two marines were killed Sunday by a bomb placed along the road near Latafiya, in northern Babil Province, officials said.

In Baghdad, two soldiers were wounded Sunday morning when a car bomb exploded near their convoy on the road leading to the airport, military officials said. A vehicle was damaged and the road, one of the most dangerous in Iraq, was temporarily closed, the officials said.

On a day of relative calm in Baghdad, Iraqi political figures continued to react to an effort by leading Sunni Arabs to delay national and provincial elections, now scheduled for Jan. 30, by six months.

…An Islamic Web site posted a statement in which the network of the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for killing 17 Iraqi national guardsmen and an American soldier in Mosul during the past few days, The Associated Press reported. It was impossible to verify the authenticity of the claim. Military intelligence officials have said they believe that Mr. Zarqawi may be in Mosul, having been forced out of Falluja by the American-led military offensive there.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding