Thursday, July 26, 2007


[posted by Callimachus]

In Iraq, it seems, two's company, three's a target.

BAGHDAD - The dream run of Iraq’s national soccer team captivated an otherwise despairing nation. But even in its moment of joy — the Iraqis are in the Asian Cup finals for the first time ever — violence struck Wednesday.

Two suicide bombings killed at least 50 cheering, dancing, flag-waving Iraqis celebrating their national triumph. More than 130 other revelers were wounded.

The attacks bore the hallmarks of Sunni militants who have fueled the violence tearing at the fragile fabric of Iraq for nearly four years. But these bombings, in parked cars less than an hour apart in separate corners of Baghdad, appeared designed to gain attention rather than target a particular sect.

What if they made it explicit? If some spokesman for the bombers, with the authority to mean what he says, wrote, "We are doing this to you because there are Americans in your land. They cannot protect you from us. No one can. Make the Americans leave, any way you can, and we will stop killing you and ruining your lives."

What should America do then?

As far as I can tell, the only difference between that and what is happening now is the existence of someone to make that offer.

What should we do, and how should we explain it to these two?

University student Ahmad Mudhar, a Shiite, and his 7-year-old brother were celebrating in Mansour, waving the Iraq flag and singing along with hundreds of other revelers. After the bomber struck, the brothers walked home shaken and heartbroken.

“Even during the moments of happiness, the powers of evil and terrorism cause tragedy,” Mudhar said. Iraqis, he predicted, would return to the streets in celebration “to shame the terrorists” if Iraq wins the cup.