The UN announced last years death toll in Iraq. Total people killed was 34,400. Broken down, that's a murder rate of around one-hundred people per day.
As if to hit home that number, explosions abounded throughout Baghdad today. The first was a double bombing at a University in a Shi'a district, striking predominately women - because we all know educated people, especially women, are a threat to defunct and anarchic societies. The second occurred in a market, using the double-bomb mentality. Blow up the first time to kill a few, then when brave humanitarians flock to the scene to rescue the maimed and dying, a second more deadly bomb goes off. Just like educated people, kind-hearted heroes are also a threat to an uncivil society.
The evil that it must take for a person to commit such an act is beyond my comprehension. It's something I've only been witness to once in my life, the threat to take my life simply because I was a foreigner, and it left me rattled and extremely angry. There is a twisted religious movement sprouting in the Middle East. I wager that it thrives among the poorly educated and criminal classes of Iraqi society.
Will sending 20,000 more troops directly to Baghdad help? Probably not. The troops will just be there, probably sticking to the safer zones. If I wanted to commit an atrocious mass murder, what's to stop me from carrying it out. Are 20,000 extra people with guns really going to stop someone with the advantage of anonymity in the masses from conducting his gruesome business?
What can the soldiers do? At best, they can bring the city to a standstill. But people still have to eat. And to eat they need to shop. And to shop they have to go to the market. And, well, BOOM!
A bomb is so easy to conceal. Put it in a backpack, a baby carriage, strap it around one's chest, a suitcase, hide it in a toy or a printer or a box of cigars. There are a trillion trillion places to hide it, and only 20,000 extra troops too busy worrying about their own asses to be very concerned with the safety of the Iraqi masses.
I really don't know what the solution is. Cut and run? The Americans are going to have to leave eventually. No matter how many times they insist they are trying to help, trying to correct their mistake, or trying to change things. Nobody trusts what they have to say, especially with Bush at the helm and his "Smoke em out," "With us or against us," "Gonna get the terrorists," bullshit. Anything that comes out of his mouth is destined to inflame more than improve.
A big change is needed, starting with the departure of Bush! The next president should immediately specify a withdrawal date, and declare a mass push to train Iraq's army and police force prior to that withdrawal. Political pressure should come both internationally as well as from the dismal Arab League who can at least all agree that Iraq needs help.
With the Americans completely withdrawn under a respectable and apologetic leader, at least the primary source of Iraq's anti-colonial anti-crusade self-destructive inspiration will have been deflated. And that gives Iraqies something to work with.