Quick Hits From Iraq

From Holden:

A War that will Live in Infamy

The official death toll of U.S. service members killed in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion has now exceeded that of Pearl Harbor.

As of Tuesday 2,423 troops had died in the Iraq conflict. The number killed at Pearl Harbor was 2,403.

Bugging Out

South Korea began bringing troops home from Iraq Tuesday under a plan to scale back its presence there by a third, military officials said.

Seoul plans to withdraw about 1,000 of its 3,200-member contingent stationed in northern Iraq by the end of this year.


South Korea deployed nearly 3,600 troops in the northern Iraq city of Irbil in 2004, making it the second-largest U.S. coalition partner after Britain.

Can You Hear Me Now? Good!

A sectarian scuffle in the lobby of Iraq’s parliament — over a religious mobile phone ringtone — prompted an angry walkout by some legislators on Wednesday.


Gufran al-Saidi, from the Islamist movement of fiery Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, stormed out and told reporters that a bodyguard for speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani had attacked one of her aides on Monday because her phone played a Shi’ite chant.

Other members joined the walkout and complained that the speaker had acted improperly by switching off Saidi’s microphone and ordering television cameras to be switched off.

Saidi, appearing veiled in a traditional black robe, said her aide was holding her phone for her in the lobby when it rang — with a Shi’ite religious harmony. A bodyguard for speaker Mashhadani came over and told him to switch it off, she said.

He did. But when the phone rang again, several parliamentary guards attacked Saidi’s assistant and there was a general scuffle, she said, in which she too became involved.