Saturday, February 03, 2007

Just another day in the life and death of Iraq XXXVII

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I'm beginning to wonder if the title of this series -- "Just another day..." -- is no longer either accurate or appropriate. What is "just another day"? Another day of killing and maiming? Another day of blood flowing in the streets?

The violence is seemingly ubiquitous in Iraq. Or, as it was put in the NIE, an already "bleak situation" seems to be getting worse. Consider what happened today: "A suicide truck bomber struck a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday, killing as many as 121 people among the crowd buying food for evening meals, one of the most devastating attacks in the capital since the war started."

The numbers vary. The AP (link above) is reporting 121 killed and 226 wounded, according to police and hospital officials, but the Health Ministry is putting the numbers at 115 and 331. CNN, citing a Health Ministry source, reports that 373 people were wounded. The numbers will surely go up.

So what exactly is "just another day" in Iraq? A day that brings yet more violence of an unpredictable scale. A day when this sort of thing can and does happen. This attack was worse than usual, to be sure, but the violence is all too chillingly common, all too frighteningly normal.

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UPDATE: See the BBC. The death toll is up to 130.

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