"Many of the 45 killed and 148 wounded by a suicide truck bomb blast in central Baghdad Tuesday morning were unemployed Iraqis lured toward the explosion by an offer of work, according to an official with the Iraqi Interior Ministry.
A pickup truck, loaded with about 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of explosives, pulled into Tayaran Square at 7 a.m., a time when hundreds of unemployed Iraqis were gathered with their picks and shovels seeking a day's work.
The driver signaled to the would-be workers that he had jobs for them -- causing a crush of people around the truck -- and he detonated his bomb, the official said.
The U.S. military said Monday that four American soldiers were killed and three wounded by two roadside bombs Sunday in Baghdad as suspected sectarian violence cost another 51 Iraqis their lives."
[UPDATE: The AP has a slightly different version, with updated casualty figures:
"Suspected insurgents set off two bombs in a main square of central Baghdad where scores of Iraqis were waiting for jobs as day laborers on Tuesday, killing at least 57 people and wounding 151, police said.
The carefully coordinated attack in Tayaran Square at 7 a.m. involved a parked car bomb and a suicide attacker who drove up in a minibus, pretended to hire day laborers, then set off his explosive as they got into his vehicle, said police Lt. Bilal Ali.
He said at least 57 Iraqis, including seven policemen, were killed in the attack and 151 people wounded."
I just want to take this opportunity to say that this charade in which George W. Bush wanders around trying to give the impression that he's interested in other people's views on Iraq strikes me as a very bad idea. This is a war. We do not have all the time in the world in which to figure out what to do. Iraq does not have a magic "pause" button that we can press while we dither. The people who are fighting are still doing things, things that will probably make the prospects of success in Iraq even more minute than they already are. We cannot afford to waste the month we have already wasted waiting for Bush to get the Iraq study group report, get his other reports, draft the speech he is supposedly going to give before Christmas, but which he might delay, etc., etc., etc.
If we're lucky, no one will attack our supply lines or try to overrun the Green Zone while Bush is figuring out what to do. But it doesn't seem that smart to count on good luck when we ought to be taking action.