Let's take the lowest (AP) estimate and extrapolate. The population of Iraq was estimated at 26,783,383 as of July of last year. U.S. population at the same point in time is estimated at 298,444,215, just over 11 times the size.
Can you even imagine 153,081 Americans, nearly 90% of them civilians, perishing in the space of a single year, in a variety of horrible methods from being shot on the street to being power-drilled in the neck to random suicide bombing in the market? Seriously, it's impossible to even comprehend, but it takes very little thinking about such an awful scenario to at least realize that any semblance of normal life would be completely gone under such circumstances. Add 50% unemployment and 4 hours a day of electricity to that mix, and you have a recipe for practically infinite violence.
And despite premature reports of a post-execution lull in street violence and protests, that has already changed for the worse.
Ah, the M-word. In our haste to prop up Maliki's Green Zone government -- held in place largely by its degree of cooperation with al Sadr and his Mahdi Army death squads -- we took a deposed, pathetic tyrant who had already been rendered impotent, and allowed the vengeful Shi'a government to turn him back into a rallying point.
This has very real potential to compound what is already a largely irretrievable mistake on our part, one undertaken in bad faith, and in a toxic mix of arrogance and hubris. Undoubtedly more American troops will have been unnecessarily endangered by that action, but it is mostly the vast numbers of civilians, whose main crime at this point is that they have no way to get out, at the mercy of yet another gang of thugs.