Feb 7, 2007

Iraq and the passive voice

Christopher Hitchens:
[T]here is the unspoken assumption that what the United States does in Iraq is a fully determined action, whereas what other people do is simply a consequence of that action, with no independent or autonomous "agency" of its own. This mentality was perfectly expressed, under the byline of Marc Santora, in the New York Times of Jan. 31. Santora explained the background of the murderous attacks on the Shiite festival of Ashura: "At Ashura, Shiites commemorate what is for them the most formative event of their faith, a celebration that had been banned under Saddam Hussein. In recent years, Sunni militants, caught up in a renewed sectarian split, have attacked worshippers on the holiday."

Yes, civil war sectarian violence was foisted on the Iraqis.

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