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The recent deadly attack in Baghdad, claimed by ISIS, killing more than 200 holiday-goers, is garnering sympathy worldwide [“Mass death in heart of Baghdad, Page One,” July 4].

Yet, here in the U.S., the larger context goes ignored. How many commentators are highlighting how today’s violence is a legacy of yesterday’s poor foreign policy choices? There has been no peace in Iraq since the first American bomb was dropped in 2003.

American forces destroyed Iraq’s government and plunged the country into chaos. The first al-Qaida cell in Iraqi history formed in response to the occupation, later merging with forces in Syria to partly form the terrorist group ISIS.

The United States has inflicted monumental suffering on the people of Iraq through decades of sanctions, two catastrophic wars, and more than nine years of occupation — the effects of which are still being felt, including in the form of brutal attacks.

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Iraqis deserve more than our thoughts and prayers. They deserve what’s long overdue: reparations for harm suffered and a human-rights tribunal to prosecute those guilty of war crimes, including Western leaders who waged war under false pretenses.

Michelle Ryder, Lake Tapps