At least 155 people are dead in the latest bout of residual violence in Baghdad. Merely an expected minor hiccup, of course, and nothing to be worried about, but apparently loud enough for the prime minister himself to put on his wellingtons and hazard a day trip:
In a rare personal appearance at a bombing site, Prime Minister Maliki arrived at the provincial council building about an hour after the explosion, his face ashen as he surveyed the carnage.
Around Mr. Maliki, paramedics carried the wounded to Red Crescent ambulances, workers wearing plastic gloves scooped body parts into plastic bags, and rescue teams pried open scorched cars in a desperate search for signs of life.
Surrounding streets had been blocked off and were under more than a foot of water because the blast had apparently also damaged a water main. Pools of water were red with blood.
Mr. Maliki did not venture far from his armored sport utility vehicle. He made no public comment before being driven away.
A new report from the Fund for Peace offers food for thought:
A commonly used metric for a ‘civil war’ used by scholars and the UN is one thousand victims per year killed in political violence. If the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count civilian death figures are taken as a basis, violence in Iraq surpassed the ‘civil war’ criterion in the first six months of 2009. Whether characterized as a ‘civil war,’ ‘low intensity conflict,’ or the remnants of radical forces trying to resurrect sectarian antagonism, the nomenclature is not important. What is significant is that sectarian violence remains a fact of daily life in Iraq, despite the military achievements of the 2007 ‘surge.’
No doubt Obama’s left-wing supporters* will be quick to point out that horrific though the bombings may have been, in the larger scheme of things they will be but a bump in the road to everlasting peace. I just wish you guys would apply the same carefree logic to Afghanistan.
[* Full disclosure: I once thought I was one of them.]