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Sectarian violence claims 1,300 lives in Iraq

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Bush keeps talking about freedom and democracy but once again, the realities on the ground in Iraq escape him. How many people have to die in Iraq before Bush recognizes his mistake? With renewed allegations against al-Sadr and his supporters, what is the plan for addressing him or are we going to continue to hear about bloody fighting over and over and over? Well, it must be time to blame the media again for their self-created mess.

But at the morgue, where the floor was crusted with dried blood, the evidence of the damage already done was clear. Iraqis arrived throughout the day, seeking family members and neighbors among the contorted bodies.

"And they say there is no sectarian war?" demanded one man. "What do you call this?"

Morgue officials said they had logged more than 1,300 dead since Wednesday -- the day the Shiites' gold-domed Askariya shrine was bombed -- photographing, numbering and tagging the bodies as they came in over the nights and days of retaliatory raids.

The Statistics Department of the Iraqi police put the nationwide toll at 1,020 since Wednesday, but that figure was based on paperwork that is sometimes delayed before reaching police headquarters.

The disclosure of the death tolls followed accusations by the U.S. military and later Iraqi officials that the news media had exaggerated the violence between Shiites and Sunnis over the past few days.

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