It was a day of understated headlines and conflicting images, wouldn't you agree? Nothing ruins a party mood quite like a car bomb detonated in the middle of a busy food market. Thirty people were killed and 90 injured in the bombing in Kirkuk yesterday - the very day Iraqis had declared National Sovereignty Day to mark the withdrawal US combat troops from their cities. The Iraqi government designated it a national holiday, and there was - literally - dancing in the streets. this Saturday - the day we have set aside to celebrate our own nation's sovereignty. It's a holiday, and you are preparing for a family gathering filled with special summer foods, fireworks, and fun. I'm guessing there's a chance that you, or one of your family members, or one of your neighbors, would be among the injured or killed at the market. The party mood would vanish. And the day would be changed forever. You would no longer be able to let the 4th of July pass with patriotic flavored flag waving, parade watching, and watermelon eating. The day would, forevermore, hold the memory of untimely death, needless violence, and national uncertainty. This kind of day is now the day of National Sovereignty for Iraqis. They can show us parades and dancing and flag waving and smiles in front of our cameras, but I'm guessing they turned off their lights last night and worried about what comes next.
Patrolling and peacekeeping in their cities, on their streets, and outside their food markets is now their business, as it should be...But I wonder - how long would it be before you felt safe sending your daughter to the grocery store for a bag of ice? It seems we are a long, long way from peace in Iraq.