Anyone inclined to think that elections somehow equate to safety or stability in Iraq is in for a wake-up call this morning: A car bomb near Hilla today has killed 115 people. The bombing is the single deadliest attack since the fall of Saddam Hussein. And if the death toll from today's attack continues to rise -- nearly 150 people are listed as injured -- Monday could match the bloodiest day in the insurgency so far.
Many of those killed or injured in today's attack were waiting in line to take medical tests for jobs with the Iraqi government -- including jobs in the Iraqi security forces. In an op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal, Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, says that Iraqis are growing ever nearer to being able to take over their own security. Allawi says that Iraq will still need U.S. help for the time being, but he also blames the Bush administration for some of the problems his country is facing. "It is now clear that early decisions to disband the army and to engage in a doctrinal, as opposed to a more pragmatic, de-Baathification process have made the task (of national reconciliation) harder," Allawi said. "They were, I accept, taken for the best of motives but their impact has been to increase suspicions among ethnic and religious groups and to make it harder to improve security."