The destruction of the shrine in Samarra has inspired some to call it Iraq's 9/11, but perhaps it will someday be compared to the firing on Fort Sumter. The symbolic power of the bombing exceeds its lethality. Iraq has been a seething mess for so long it is easy for us to get innured to the latest news bulletin, and perhaps it is a purely semantic matter to argue that the country is on the verge of a civil war (as though it's been the Era of Good Feelings up to now). But each news bulletin is more disturbing than the last. More than 100 bodies have been found in the past day, executed. The BBC reported that a busload of 47 factory workers was stopped at a checkpoint, and all the workers were summarily murdered on the spot. The perpetrators of this massacre and other atrocities remain mysterious. War between Sunnis and Shiites could be averted if the citizens find someone else to blame for the violence, and, according to the Post story, some folks are ready to point the finger at the Americans and "Zionists":
In Sadr City, representatives of Sadr called for restraint and sought to deflect blame from Iraq's Sunnis, the Shiites' rivals for power. Followers came running late Wednesday when a Sadr preacher took up a bullhorn outside Sadr's offices to give the direction that the armed, angry crowds were waiting for. The mosque attack was the work of "occupiers," or Americans, "and Zionists," said the cleric, Abdul Zara Saidy. In Iran, Shiite leaders echoed the accusation.
Didn't someone once warn the president that, if we invaded and occupied Iraq, its problems would become our problems?
[Meanwhile, David Corn notes the buzz over the Francis Fukuyama smackdown of the neocons in the NY Times magazine ("The problem with neoconservatism's agenda lies not in its ends, which are as American as apple pie, but rather in the overmilitarized means by which it has sought to accomplish them"), and points out that Fukuyama has changed his tune on the Iraq war.]
[Sports department: Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke has a fine close-up on Sasha Cohen and the figure-skating drama in Turin.]
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