As Americans mourn the tragic shooting that left 12 dead in Colorado, consider that nearly ten times as many Iraqis died, in a country 1/10th the size, in a wave of attacks from presumably Sunni insurgents today.
In a coordinated display intended to show they remain a viable force, Iraqi insurgents launched at least 37 separate attacks throughout the country on Monday morning, setting off car bombs, storming a military base, attacking policemen in their homes and ambushing checkpoints, Iraqi authorities said.
At least 99 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in the single bloodiest day this year, according to local Iraqi officials in the many areas where attacks took place.
The attacks, coming in the early days of Ramadan, the monthlong Muslim religious rite, were predicted Sunday in an audio message attributed to the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Bakir Al Baghdadi, and posted on the group’s Web site. Mr. Baghdada vowed that a new offensive, which he called Breaking Down Walls, would begin soon.
The offensive was without precedent this year at least in sheer number of attacks, spread over so many locations in a third of Iraq’s 18 provinces, from north to south. It was sure to raise concerns about the government’s ability to contain the violence, six months after the last American troops left the country.
The US military basically left Iraq and never looked back. Because they never came close to stabilizing the country before the exit, it was inevitable that violence would continue. Iraq settled into a low level of political and ethnic violence during the final years of the occupation, but it always simmered under the surface. Days like this were fated to happen probably from the moment of the invasion, which badly underestimated the hornet’s nest of sectarian tensions such a disruption would stir up.
Iraq may not currently exist in a state of civil war, but it’s hardly representative of a healthy civil society. That’s going to take decades to fix, if it’s fixable at all. These spasms of violence represent the ripple effects of a war that should have never been waged.