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Spinning Chaos

Iraq is unraveling A barrage of car bombs, mortar attacks and missiles battered the Shiite Muslim slum of Sadr City on Thursday afternoon, ki

Iraq is unraveling

A barrage of car bombs, mortar attacks and missiles battered the Shiite Muslim slum of Sadr City on Thursday afternoon, killing around 200 people and injuring as many more in the single deadliest assault on Iraqi civilians since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

The highly orchestrated attacks on the stronghold of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened to unleash yet another cycle of reprisal killings and push the country closer to all-out civil war.

…and conservatives would have us believe it’s still not that bad.

I wrote in June that based on the data at that time, the murder rate in Iraq outside of Baghdad is about the same as American cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. With the current numbers, it looks like that would still be true.

A consensus seems to have developed that Iraq is a disaster because of out-of-control sectarian violence. That consensus is driving proposals to change our policy in Iraq, perhaps in the direction of a pull-out that could lead to truly cataclysmic violence. So I think it makes sense to step back and get a more realistic picture of the level of what is happening in Iraq: violent? Yes. A disaster comparable to a civil war? No.

We’re still debating the comparisons between Iraq and U.S. cities? Hasn’t this been debunked enough?


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