Usually they’re content to kill kids who are outside the vehicle.

A U.S. general on Tuesday said Iraqi insurgents used children in a suicide attack this weekend, raising worries that the insurgency has adopted a new tactic to get through security checkpoints with bombs.

Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations in the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said adults in a vehicle with two children in the backseat were allowed through a Baghdad checkpoint. The adults then abandoned the vehicle and detonated it with the children still inside, he said.

Between this and the chlorine dirty bombs, the surge has really brought out the artist in them. The same article says killings are down and tips are up in Baghdad, although there are still plenty of trust issues to be negotiated both between U.S. and Iraqi troops and within the Iraqi forces themselves. This is discouraging if unsurprising, too. Maybe it would have happened regardless of who’s in charge; Jew-baiting is, after all, a good way to bring Muslim sects together. But anecdotal evidence suggests Maliki’s arm didn’t need to be twisted:

When al-Maliki was due to address the U.S. Congress last summer, Alusi acted as his secret envoy and advance man in Washington.

“Where is your speech?” Alusi asked. Al-Maliki handed it to him.

“My God. We have to take our luggage and go back,” Alusi said he told al-Maliki.

Alusi told al-Maliki that his speech was much too harsh on Israel for the American audience. When Alusi threatened to leave, as if the two were bargaining in a shopkeeper’s stall, al-Maliki took his advice and toned it down.

Iyad Allawi famously shook hands with Israel’s foreign minister when he visited the UN as Iraqi prime minister in 2004. He couldn’t afford to be as chummy now but he’d still be better than the Sadrists. Just one more reason to hope he can put together that coalition he’s working on.

Exit question one: Is the proper tortured sports analogy for the Dems’ position on Iraq (a) taking a three-yard loss to better set up a field goal; (b) committing a foul in basketball with time running out to get the ball back; (c) walking a batter intentionally to set up a game-ending double play; or (d) punting the ball to Muqtada al-Sadr? Exit question two: Should we be alarmed that Clyburn is comparing ending the war, regardless of the consequences, to “winning”?

Tags: Israel