Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Growing Violence in Iraq

In recent days, the news from Iraq has grown more grim while President Bush insists on the delusion that there is no civil war and therefore he can continue to stay the course. In today's post, Juan Cole of Informed Comment says there have been 90 more deaths in Iraq from sectarian violence.

If Cole's figure is accurate and if it's the number for one day's violence, and that level of violence continues, there could be over 32,000 killings in Iraq by the end of a year. These are grim figures but it's important to have a sense of perspective and to understand that a low-level civil war, which is what we have now, may be on the way to becoming a full-scale civil war. The population of the United States is roughly 12 times that of Iraq; if we multiply the rate of death in Iraq by 12, we would have over 380,000 killings a year if we were similarly afflicted by such violence. These are dangerous numbers and require a president less engaged in criticizing the media for not telling him what a great job he is doing and more engaged in finding new members for his administration who can get a handle on Iraq, protect our troops and restore credibility to our foreign policy and yes, hand over security to the Iraqis in a real sense while we begin to draw down our numbers.

Note for a few new readers: Juan Cole of Informed Comment does a good job covering the news on Iraq as well as supplying his own superb analysis. Another site that gathers the news in Iraq extensively is Today in Iraq. The next few weeks could be critical. Bush's clumsiness may lead to a wider conflict if new faces and a less ideological approach are not brought to the White House. One can only repeat the call that has been heard repeatedly in the last three years: President Bush needs to be straight with the American people; but to restore his credibility at this point requires major personnel changes, less pointless confrontationalism and more realistic ideas .

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