Hey, No Big Deal, Just 500 al-Qaeda Members Escaped Death Row from Abu Ghraib.

by Jim Geraghty

Epic Morning Jolt today covering Iraq’s big prison breakout, discussion of a bailout for Detroit, George Zimmerman emerges for a dramatic rescue, a new face appears in Georgia’s Senate race, what Despicable Me 2 puts parents through and . . . (deep breath) . . . yes, the royal baby.

Today’s preview: the Iraq section.

Oh, Hey, No Big Deal, Just 500 al-Qaeda Members Escaped Death Row from Abu Ghraib.

So, one of the good things about the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is that we don’t have to worry about that country anymore, right? The whole Sunni-Shia-Kurd rivalry, not our problem anymore. Rising sectarian violence, on par with the worst times of 2006 and 2007? Call somebody else.

Except . . . maybe what happens over there can come back to bite us anyway:

Hundreds of convicts, including senior members of al Qaeda, broke out of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib jail as comrades launched a military-style assault to free them, authorities said on Monday.

The deadly raid on the high-security jail happened as Sunni Muslim militants are gaining momentum in their insurgency against the Shi’ite-led government that came to power after the U.S. invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives to the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night and blasted their way into the compound, while gunmen attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

Other militants took up positions near the main road, fighting off security reinforcements sent from Baghdad as several militants wearing suicide vests entered the prison on foot to help free the inmates.

“The number of escaped inmates has reached 500, most of them were convicted senior members of al Qaeda and had received death sentences,” Hakim Al-Zamili, a senior member of the security and defense committee in parliament, told Reuters.

Those 500 bad guys probably will cause trouble locally, and not necessarily set out to target Americans here or abroad . . . probably.

If you’re wondering, no, no one has ever escaped Guantanamo Bay (these guys don’t count) and no one has escaped the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, either. Four bad guys escaped from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2005, and all four were eventually recaptured or killed.

One other thought, since we’re briefly refocused on Iraq: The calculations of the death toll from the Iraq War range from 110,600 (the Associated Press) to The Lancet’s 601,027 to the “Opinion Research Business Survey,” which declared 1 million. (It will not surprise you that the latter numbers are greatly disputed.) But the number is reasonably estimated to be somewhere north of 100,000 and probably short of 200,000.

In other words, estimates of the death toll from the Syrian Civil War — 83,000 to 110,000 — are now reaching the low end of the Iraq War casualties; by the time the bloodbath over there ends, it may surpass the death toll from the Iraq War.

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