Over at Danger Room, I report on a New America study that speculates the Islamic State of Iraq might have little reputational choice but to attack western and U.S. targets. Personally, I'm proudest of that Trotsky paraphrase in the lede, but that's what happens when I edit the blog.
Something from the study a bit too far afield to make it into the post is a startling statistic about what's happened in Iraq to civilians ever since the U.S. "won" the war. Author Brian Fishman:
[M]onthly terrorist attacks in Iraq fell from nearly 700 at their peak to around 200 per month in mid-2008. It has remained relatively constaint since. The 300 or so deaths they caused per month is far fewer than the deaths from terrorism during the peak of violence in 2007, but the casulaty rate is still extremely high for a country of only 24 million people. If the 2010 per capita rate of terrorism deaths in Iraq occurred in a U.S.-sized population, more than 3100 people would be killed every month, more than were killed on 9/11.
That's the equivalent a 9/11 per month, every month, for three years. Anyone who laments Iraqi political "dysfunction" should stop and grapple with that thought. Then add another: three years' worth of monthly 9/11s is relative normalcy after three preceding years of even worse horror. How could that not leave a people traumatized beyond recognition?