The shock and grief this country is going trough in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting is very understandable. There were 32 people killed along with the gunman, and the stories of the victims are heartbreaking.
Now imagine if it was thirty times bigger. Imagine if there 960 people killed instead of 32. We might be looking for a country to invade right now. The earth would shake with our anger.
In Iraq today, 85 people were killed or found dead. The United States is more than ten times as large as Iraq. The 85 dead among 26.7 million Iraqis is the equivalent of 955 killed in a population of 300 million Americans.
And this is an average day in Iraq. Some American politicians go around pretending that Iraq is just fine and that we are making lovely progress in that country. Imagine if there 955 people killed in open warfare in this country - everyday!
These figures do not include normal violent crimes. These are just the numbers killed in sectarian strife and civil war in Iraq. They also don't include the number of coalition troops or foreign civilian personnel killed. These are just the result of shootings, assassinations, executions and bombings.
Take the Virginia Tech shooting and multiply it by 30! And that's what you have on an average day in Iraq. We can hardly fathom one of these events in America, let alone if there were thirty of them throughout the country on the same day. And the next day, and the next day, and the next day.
When you wrap your mind around that, you begin to get a sense of the rage that Iraqis have over what America has done to their country. Whether you think America is repsonsible or not, the Iraqis do. Now, can you see why some people in the Middle East might hate us?
There are many fine arguments to make about the war and there are some people so adept at rationalization that they can even make all this seem worthwhile in their own heads. But no matter what you think of the war, it's important to understand the level of devastation Iraq is going through. No matter what side you're on, if you don't understand the depth of the problem, you won't have any idea how to solve it.
Think about it one last time. Thirty different Virginia Tech size shootings in one day. Day after day. How traumatized do you think a country would be after it goes through that? Now you begin to get a sense of what is happening in Iraq.