Morning Report 8/18/05
Shots Heard 'Round the World

Soldiers blown up outside Baghdad, bombings throughout Bangladesh, shootout in Riyadh

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U.S. Army

Leave the driving to us: Above, bombed-out buses from yesterday's deadly blasts in Baghdad. Below, a bumper sticker spotted in Provincetown, Cape Cod, by friend of a friend "Uncle Bob" Stannard.

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Bob Stannard

It's a ball of confusion. That's what the world is today.

Try to resist the temptation to break out into song. Terrorists have stopped the music all across Bangladesh, setting off 350 bombs. Meanwhile, militants and government troops battled with guns in the streets of Riyadh, capital of the world's biggest oil producer.

By the way, four U.S. soldiers were blown up today by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, pushing the total of American dead for the month over 60.

The Bengali blasts were timed but small, killing two people but injuring 100 more. A recently outlawed Islamist group, Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, claimed credit. Leaflets at some of the bombing sites said, "It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh" and contained a special message:

    "Bush and Blair be warned and get out of Muslim countries."

Hey, George W. Bush isn't going anywhere. Cindy Sheehan's troops have him pinned down at his ranch in Crawford, and now it looks as if he can't even slip away for some R&R in Dhaka.

He also won't be making a hajj anytime soon. In Saudi Arabia, at least two people were reported killed in the shootout in Riyadh. East of there, in the holy city Medina, cops fought militants after raids by the authorities.

The U.S. shut its embassy and two consulates after new terror threats. But the good news for the Cheney regime's pals is that the warnings helped push crude oil prices to new highs.

The POTUS can't even go visit his old pal Vladimir Putin — Russia and China are conducting unprecedented joint war games under the title "Peace Mission 2005." As the BBC describes it:

    Marines will storm beaches, to be joined by paratroopers in a mock invasion of an imaginary country.

    The eight-day operation got under way in Vladivostok, in Russia's far east, with consultations between military delegations from the two countries.

    Analysts say the two sides are signalling they are prepared to counter US dominance in international affairs.

Sure, they're flexing their muscles, but our president is out standing in his field. During the current hiatus in Crawford, though, he's done little else. When things were calmer during his past vacations, he often made sorties into the countryside. On August 23, 2001, for example, he paid a visit to Crawford Elementary School for a Q&A with the kids.

In light of the events of the past two days, something Bush said during that visit — just after he heard the warning in the President's Daily Brief that Osama bin Laden planned to attack the U.S. and just before the 9/11 attack itself — sticks with me. He reminisced to the kids on that August day four years ago:

    "When I got sworn in as President, it was a pretty cold day in Washington, D.C."

Cold, yes, but not as chilling as the past two days in Baghdad, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia.



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