Fourteen U.S. Marines and their interpreter were killed today in a single roadside bomb attack in western Iraq, the military is reporting. The report comes hard on the heels of news that seven Marines were killed Monday in a small-arms attack in the same far-western Anbar province.
The attacks bring the official U.S. death toll to 1,816, and the bad news doesn't stop there. Steven Vincent, a freelance journalist from the United States, has been found dead in Basra; both he and his interpreter, who survived, had been abducted by gunmen outside a money exchange shop. Vincent wrote frequently from Iraq; just last week, the New York Times ran an Op-Ed of his in which he was critical of British security efforts in Basra.
And there's more. In what will be another blow for the beleaguered people of that country, Iraq will soon begin rationing fuel. Iraqis sometimes wait in hours-long lines to buy gasoline as it is; soon, they'll face restrictions on the amount of kerosene and cooking oil they can buy. Although Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves -- remember when Iraqi oil was going to pay for Iraq's reconstruction? -- smuggling and the destruction of pipelines and refineries have left the country unable to meet its own fuel needs.