* The head of the picked-in-Washington Governing Council in Iraq was assassinated just outside the highly protected command center of the occupation six weeks before a new but yet to be named Iraqi government assumes sovereignty.
* The Baghdad home and compound of Ahmad Chalabi, whose Iraqi National Congress received $33 million in US taxpayer money for providing wrong and misleading (deliberately so) intelligence on WMDs and other matters, was raided by US troops and Iraqi police, pursuant to warrants issued by an Iraqi judge. The early indications are Chalabi’s gang may stand accused of a) corruption; b) impeding an investigation into possible corruption in the UN’s oil-for-food program in Iraq; c) fomenting a coup or otherwise trying to interfere in the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq; d) engaging in espionage by sharing sensitive information with Iran; or e) all of the above. The raid came two days after the Pentagon stopped funding the INC and four days after Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged he had made false assertions about Iraq possessing mobile biological weapons labs during his February 2003 presentation to the UN Security Council. That charge had been based on intelligence provided by an INC source. At Bush’s State of the Union speech in January, Chalabi was a guest of the president and sat right behind Laura Bush.
* An attack mounted by US forces near the Syrian border has led to charges that the American troops massacred a wedding party. The US military claims it struck a legitimate military target. Local Iraqi health officials maintain most of the victims were women and children.
* The prison abuse scandal rolls on, with more photos and more videotapes. Meanwhile, a soldier who worked for military intelligence at Abu Ghraib military has gone public with the accusation that guards at the prison were encouraged to abuse the prisoners. At higher levels, the US military and senior military officials have not been able to get their stories straight on who actually was in charge at Abu Ghraib and what interrogation practices were authorized (and by whom) regarding Iraqi detainees.
* The newspapers are filled with quotes from US officials working for the occupation authority who express despair and discouragement about the current situation and the road (or lack thereof) ahead.
* There are signs that security in Iraq is deteriorating further. Iraqis complain about kidnappings and lawlessness. American reporters, by and large, rarely venture beyond the Green Zone and their hotels. Earlier this week, a Time writer told me that the newsmagazine has only three people in Iraq. Much of the video footage shown on cable news stations has been shot by non-Americans hired by US media outlets. The war is too unsafe for Americans to cover. And reconstruction efforts are slowing down or stopping.
* Halliburton still cannot work up a legitimate bill for hundreds of millions of dollars in food services it has supplied in Iraq.