Monday, February 27, 2006

More Bloodshed

"Iraq Death Toll Higher Than First Thought" sayz the Washington Post
Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday -- sprawled, blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies had their hands still bound -- and many of them had wound up at the morgue after what their families said was their abduction by the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

"After he came back from the evening prayer, the Mahdi Army broke into his house and asked him, 'Are you Khalid the Sunni infidel?' " one man at the morgue said, relating what were the last hours of his cousin, according to other relatives. "He replied 'yes' and then they took him away."

Aides to Sadr denied the allegations, calling them part of a smear campaign by unspecified political rivals.

By Monday, violence between Sunnis and Shiites appeared to have eased. As Iraqi security forces patrolled, American troops offered measured support, in hopes of allowing the Iraqis to take charge and prevent further carnage.

But at the morgue, where the floor was crusted with dried blood, the evidence of the damage already done was clear. Iraqis arrived throughout the day, seeking family members and neighbors among the contorted bodies.

"And they say there is no sectarian war?" demanded one man. "What do you call this?''
Nothing serves the islamofascists'--or their Master's--interests more than a civil war in Iraq. A significant escalation of this conflict into one will completely alienate the American public. A likely subsequent withdrawal of US forces will lead to either a Shi'a state that slaughters Sunnis or a resurgence of Baathist dictatorship. Both outcomes will benefit Al Qaeda. Either they'll receive new recruits that blame the Great Satan for abandoning Sunnis to slaughter, or they'll gain a new safe harbor.

Worst of all, The US will have betrayed the Iraqis for the last time. After all, didn't President George Bush (41) call on the Shi'a to revolt in Iraq? Our failure to stand by them when they did led to their slaughter at Hussein's hands. President George W. Bush has long said that the US will remain until "the job is done." If we abandon the Iraqis now--and if they fall into civil war--then we ensure the deaths and future oppression of millions of them.

Do we truly want that to be our legacy in Iraq?