Al-Obeid was on his way home from an Iraqi military base when he was repeatedly aerated / converted into a statistical format.
In other news, Italy has confirmed plans to pull their 2700 troops out of Iraq, starting by September, with most troops removed by the end of the year... this after the high-profile killing of one of their intelligence agents at a U.S. checkpoint, and following in the footsteps of recent planned withdrawls by Ukraine, the Netherlands, and Poland.
Here's the rub: Britain is being asked on the verge of an upcoming election to make the odious choice of sending even more of their soldiers over to Iraq in order to fill in the gaps for our disappearing allies -- U.S. troops are already stretched too thin as it is -- and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi made this odd statement today:
"I’ve spoken about (withdrawing troops) with Tony Blair, and it’s the public opinion of our countries that expects this decision."
What does he mean, by *OUR*? Did Blair acknowledge to Berlusconi that British public opinion demands a reasonable timetable for withdrawl? Did Italy do an end-run around the U.S. government, talking to Blair first, forming a common cause against U.S. opposition to their withdrawl, while allowing for both Italian *AND* British troops to announce troop reduction plans prior to their country's elections? For Blair, who faces increased troop requests from the U.S., mounting election pressures, threats of rebellion within his own party, and continued protests, this might be the best time to decide to bow out of Iraq gracefully -- before his party loses their huge majority over the other parties in Britain and before the Liberal Democrats establish themselves as a credible force in British politics... the true progressive alternative to the status quo.
I would expect that someone in the Bush administration must be at least a little concerned about this...