Four Sunni mosques have been attacked today in apparent retribution for yesterday’s bombing of the Golden Dome Shiite shrine in Samarra, “where a 2006 bombing unleashed a wave of sectarian violence that gripped Iraq for over a year.”
UPDATE: Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin made an important point during a reader chat today: sectarian violence in Iraq was taking place long before the Samarra attack last year:
Milwaukee: Dan, I was very surprised at this morning’s media coverage of the bombing at the shrine in Samarra. Every media outlet I checked (including The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC) reported that the earlier attack on the shrine sparked the current wave of violence in Iraq. I know that’s the picture the president has painted, even though the sectarian violence in Iraq was pretty intense long before that first bombing. Has the mainstream media simply taken Bush’s version of the facts and accepted it? This really shakes my confidence in American journalism.
Dan Froomkin: The blasts at the mosque today are portentous. And there’s little doubt that the original blast accelerated sectarian violence in Iraq.
But your concern is legitimate. Bush’s repeated insistence that Iraq’s civil strife only dates back to that original attack (in February 2006) is ahistorical. As McClatchy’s Mark Seibel has explained, it “understates by at least 15 months when Shiite death squads began targeting Sunni politicians and clerics.”
I understand early coverage, in all the excitement, using shorthand and/or glossing over the history. But I hope this will be made more clear as the day progresses.
If that doesn’t happen, what you’ll be watching unfold before your eyes is another example of Bush’s ability by repeating things over and over again of getting them accepted in the media narrative even if they’re not true.