My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Can We PLEASE Keep These Together

From the AP story on the bodies found in Iraq today:

Police began unearthing bodies early Monday, although the discoveries were not immediately reported. The gruesome finds continued throughout the day Tuesday, police said, marking the second wave of sectarian retribution killings since bombers destroyed an important Shiite shrine last month.

In the mayhem after the golden dome atop the Askariya shrine in Samarra was destroyed on Feb. 22, more than 500 people have been killed, many of them Sunni Muslims and their clerics. Dozens of mosques were damaged or destroyed.

Notice how the AP seems to go out of its way to avoid mentioning that the bombing of the shrine was an insurgent attack; also, notice how the AP uses words like "mayhem" and "retribution killings", characterizations that are not necessarily supported by the facts at hand. The AP seems to be working very hard to separate the insurgency from the reaction to its tactics, which creates for them the sectarian violence story that they want.

It's a subtle thing, but it strikes me as VERY important: the so-called "sectarian violence" is NOT a separate thing from the insurgency. When the insurgency attacks religious targets for the express purpose of sparking sectarian reprisals, then religious violence is not something separate but the direct, successful result of insugent tactics.

Does it really matter? I think so--the temptation in the Old Media, as emphasized by the headline to the AP story, is to treat the sectarian violence as the beginning of the civil war, which would be the final repudiation of the President's policy in Iraq. If, on the other hand, the sectarian violence is merely an extension of the insurgency, then we continue to be dealing with an old problem, which, as difficult as it is, does have an end-game which the OM does not want to report.

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