In Iraq, fear kills hundreds

They didn't have suicide bombings in Iraq before the war began. Today, the fear of such a bombing killed at least 648 Iraqis.


T.g.
August 31, 2005 5:56PM (UTC)

We don't doubt that the U.S. invasion of Iraq has brought some happy developments to that country. The Pentagon likes to talk about the schools that are being built, the water and electricity service that is being restored, the health facilities that have been opened. But the U.S. invasion has also brought something else to Iraq: suicide bombings.

As the Associated Press reported last year, the suicide bombing was a "phenomenon unknown" in Iraq until after the U.S. invasion. The first recorded suicide bombing in Iraq came nine days after the war started. By the end of the first year of the war, at least 660 people had died in suicide bomb attacks.

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There wasn't a suicide bombing in Baghdad today, at least as far as we know, but there didn't have to be. Fear of such an attack is so ingrained in Iraqis now that a rumor about a suicide bombing led to panic in a Shiite religious procession. The panic led to a stampede across a bridge. At least 648 Iraqis are confirmed dead, and the Iraqi Health Ministry says the death toll may climb to 1,000.

Some Shiites are blaming insurgents for the stampede, saying that they spread the rumors that led to the tragedy. Soon enough -- if it isn't happening already -- a lot of Iraqis will surely be blaming the Americans. It won't come as a surprise, or at least it shouldn't. As Colin Powell told George W. Bush before he invaded, "You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You'll own it all."


T.g.

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