An unusually thoughtful essay on the bombing on the shrine of Samarra.
What Was and Never Shall Be: "Images of a building are never as interesting as the dynamic, moving pictures of people in the streets. And that image, of anger and protest, has been seen so often that it's become what we might as well just label The Blur -- the loud, threatening tape loop of enraged people that blends together all distinctions about who they are, where they are and why they're angry.
The first and most difficult fact of the bombing is its portent of civil war, and its most troubling message for Americans is its reminder of the degree to which we went to war, as a nation, ignorant of the basic sectarian rifts that we are now struggling to manage. But The Blur has a different message. Even when 'they' are victims of internecine strife, the images seem to confirm that they are all the same in a particularly dangerous and hard to understand way. That has become our certainty, and one wonders what could possibly shatter it."