BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents killed five American soldiers in separate attacks Friday in Baghdad and blasted more polling stations across the country, sending a message that if Iraqis suffer deaths and injuries on election day, "you have only yourselves to blame."
A U.S. Army OH-58 Kiowa helicopter crashed Friday night in southwestern Baghdad, U.S. officials said. There was no word on the fate of the crew. Four Iraqi police were killed in a car bombing in Baghdad.
...In the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, residents said the rebels decapitated six Iraqis from the majority Shiite community Friday. Shiites, who comprise 60 percent of Iraq's 26 million people, are expected to turn out in large numbers for the election in hopes of gaining power after generations of suppression by minority Shiites.
...Elsewhere, insurgents hit designated polling centers in at least six major cities across the country. Gunmen attacked a school to be used as a polling station in Kirkuk, killing one policeman, officials said.
...Bombs blasted three more schools designated as polling sites in the city of Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad. A mortar shell landed on a house close to a school believed to be used as polling site in Ramadi, wounding two women and two children, a hospital doctor said.
...In southern Iraq, a roadside bomb hit an Iraqi police vehicle, killing one officer and wounding three others, said police Lt. Col. Karim al-Zaydi. The attack occurred in the town of Zubair, south of the port city of Basra.
...Also Friday, insurgents shelled a U.S. Marine base south of Baghdad, injuring three American troops and three civilians, the military said.
And meanwhile, the Occupation Office of Propaganda (Baghdad Division) is taking some lessons from the masters of Newspeak back in Washington...
"We are getting close to finishing off al-Zarqawi and we will get rid of him," Saleh said.
Every meal's a banquet; every day's a holiday.
Listen, I want the suffering and mayhem to be over for Iraqis as much as anyone on the planet. The bullshit and lies and spin and spritzing perfume on the pig is not going to make this election any more valid or any less dangerous from a participation standpoint.
Believe me, I understand that there are some in Iraq who will risk life and limb to select their own leaders. The illusion of self determination and/or manifest destiny is a powerful thing. And I wish those Iraqis who choose to run the gauntlet this coming Sunday nothing but goodwill.
I can't help but feel, though, that all this farcical charade will prove is that America isn't the only place in the world populated by suckers.