Reports of the carnage in Iraq appear in The New York Times with appalling regularity, such as the December 2, 2013 report, headlined “Blast Kills at Least 12 Mourners At Funeral of Iraq Sunni Leader.” Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! (December 27, 2013) reported that The United Nations puts the 2013 death toll from such attacks at 8,000, the highest Iraqi death toll in war-related violence since 2008. Almost daily, dozens of Iraqis are being killed and many more wounded, mostly by car bombs.* The car bombs are detonated in markets, outside restaurants and cafes, at wakes and funeral processions like the one cited above; in other words, at places where crowds have gathered.
Someone is waging a war in Iraq. But, who? Who is carrying out this campaign of terror and death against Iraq’s civilian population? Who would have a reason to do that, to punish them so?
The New York Times writers always attribute these mass murders to Shia-Sunni rivalry, or occasionally, to Al Qaeda. However, it is not only Muslims who are the targets. For example, The Times reported that on Christmas Day, a car bomb planted in a parking lot outside a Christian church killed 26 people and wounded at least 38 others. (“Worshipers Are Targeted at a Christmas Service in Baghdad,” December 26, 2013) Sometimes, the reporter’s attribution of guilt is even accompanied by speculation as to the motives for the attacks, which are usually one of three: revenge, to “stoke sectarian violence,” or to discredit the government. Furthermore, the Times reports invariably identify the religious affiliation of the victims – Sunni or Shia – as if this is somehow explains the cause of the tragedy. Lately, the speculation has expanded to blame the war in Syria for the carnage in Iraq.