The surge in death:

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A suicide truck bomber struck a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 121 people and wounding scores among the crowd buying food for evening meals, the most devastating strike in the capital in more than two months. […]

Officials said at least 121 people were killed and 226 wounded. The Kindi hospital, Baghdad’s main emergency facility, quickly filled and asked ambulances from the bombing to take the injured elsewhere. […]

The blast was the deadliest attack in the capital since Nov. 23, when suspected al-Qaida in Iraq fighters attacked the capital’s Sadr City Shiite slum with a series of car bombs and mortars that struck in quick succession, killing at least 215 people.

A suicide bomber also crashed his car into the Bab al-Sharqi market, near Sadriyah, on Jan. 22, killing 88 people.

South of Baghdad, a pair of suicide bombers detonated explosives Thursday among shoppers in a crowded outdoor market in the Shiite city of Hillah, killing at least 73 people and wounding 163, police said.

Things would get worse if we left? They seem to be getting worse regardless. As for US troops, well, we have had 4 helicopter “crashes” within 2 weeks:

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A U.S. helicopter went down today in Iraq for the fourth time in two weeks, and America’s top general acknowledged that its aircraft were increasingly in danger from ground fire. […]

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the extra troops that Iraq promised to send into Baghdad in a new U.S.-Iraqi military buildup are arriving on schedule but in inadequate numbers.

Inadequate numbers? Secretary Gates has already mastered the art of understatement, I see. Guess he’s a quick study. Oh, and the civil war seems to have opened a new front in Kirkuk between Kurds and — Shia militias? Sunni insurgents? Who knows.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, eight bombs exploded within two hours, beginning with a suicide car bomber who targeted the offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani, leader of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, police said. Two people were killed in the first explosion, which devastated four nearby houses.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attacks in the oil-rich region, but there are concerns that insurgents have fled north to avoid the impending crackdown in Baghdad. Ethnic tensions also have risen in the area over a Kurdish bid to incorporate it into their autonomous region to the north.

And Hillary Clinton hasn’t ruled out a strike against Iran, echoing the Bush administration’s talking points almost word for word. Will wonders the horrors never cease?

For anyone pondering my last query, that’s strictly a rhetorical question.

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