Morning Report: January 30, 2007

The latest terror attack strikes in Iraq, and an American vet faces hostility on the home front. But there's more to the picture.

Attacks kill 23 Iraqis. Debka: 'At least 23 Iraqis killed in attacks targeting Shiites Monday at the high point of their Ashura rites. A suicide bomber attacked a Shiite mosque in Mandali near the Iranian border, killing 12 people and injuring 40. Further north, a roadside bomb killed 11 Kurdish Shiites walking in procession through the ethnically mixed town of Khanaqin. More than two million pilgrims are gathered at the Shiite shrine city of Karbala south of Baghdad, where there have been no reports of violence.' Yedioth: 'The death toll from a suicide bomb that hit Shi'ite worshippers marking the climax of the Ashura religious festival in a town northeast of Baghdad on Tuesday has risen to 23, with 57 wounded, a doctor said. Doctor Yassir Ahmed of Baladruz hospital said the bomb was at a Shi'ite mosque in an area of Baladruz called Dur Mandali.' (Debka, YNet)

Guardian unhappy with Nick Cohen's portrait of the Left. The Belmont Club: ' I have an extract, provided courtesy of a reader, which suggests why the Leftist readers would find Cohen's book infuriating. All I can say is that Cohen barely fails to scratch the surface; in terms of absurdity and tragedy, of the Leftist Deep. ...' (Belmont Club)

OpFor: Progress amid the violence. LtCol P at OpFor interviews fellow Marine historian Kurt Wheeler (who served during the same period as your present blogger). Wheeler reports the following: 'Obviously the violence is being reported, as we continue to suffer casualties from IEDs, SAF and IDF. There are two problems with the violence-only reporting: 1) Almost none of the steady progress being achieved in the development of Iraqi security forces, enhancement of the security of communities, improvement of local government or setting conditions for economic growth is being reported. (The argument I always here is that "news" is reporting the exceptional not the routine. By that standard, isn't a new police station far more newsworthy than the ubiquitous 120 mm mortar shell?) And, 2) Some equate the continued violence with a lack of progress. Specifically: The numbers of Iraqi police have grown dramatically during the past year (from less than 2000 to 9000 by the end of this rotation). Iraqi Army units in this AO have not grown in numbers, but they have fought, stood their ground, become much more effective and have taken over significant amounts of battle space. Overall, Marines and soldiers in this AO are doing the couterinsurgency basics extremely well. They are getting out, patrolling on foot in neighborhoods, making connections with locals. These connections are increasingly leading to intel and tips which are making us much more effective. The second piece is that you can't measure our success by the number of attacks received because our increased activity, "taking the fight to the enemy," has as much to do with the level of violence as does enemy will/actions. ...' Worth reading in full. (OpFor)

Disabled Iraq vet gets abuse from anti-war protesters. Gateway Pundit: 'CPL Joshua Sparling, an Iraqi War veteran and amputee, talks about getting spit on, flipped off, and having cigarette butts thrown at him during a "peace" rally in Washington DC on Saturday January 27, 2007.' Michelle Malkin has more. (Gateway Pundit, Michelle Malkin)

Commentary. So, what happened to "supporting the troops"?