1,300 And Counting…

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That’s the tragic aftermath of sectarian violence in Iraq over the past several days.

I can’t help but think that civil war is much closer than we may think. Only a few of those who were taken by this latest tragedy need to be “important” people. And any one of those few could be the catalyst. A man, a woman, a child. Wars have been started over much less.

From the Washington Post:

BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 — Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week’s bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad’s main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday — blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound — and many of them had wound up at the morgue after what their families said was their abduction by the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

After he came back from the evening prayer, the Mahdi Army broke into his house and asked him, ‘Are you Khalid the Sunni infidel?’ ” one man at the morgue said, relating what were the last hours of his cousin, according to other relatives. “He replied yes and then they took him away.”

For everybody’s sake, let’s hope that the powers that be in Iraq can hold it together, and I hope I don’t have to write a post like this for a long, long time…although something tells me that hope is becoming increasingly unlikely.