ON IT GOES. Though efforts by some war supporters to characterize last year's bombing of the Shia Imam al-Askari mosque in Samarra as the original instigator of serious sectarian bloodletting in Iraq were completely bogus, it's true that that attack caused an intense uproar and signified a worsening of the civil war. The mosque was attacked again today, and its two minarets were destroyed (its golden dome was destroyed in the first attack). Demonstrations have already begun.

In other grim but unsurprising Iraq news today, parliament has failed to pass any of the new laws that the U.S. has insisted on as "benchmarks," from a new oil law to proposals pertaining to former Baathists to constitutional reform. This despite incredibly heavy pressure from the U.S. -- seemingly an indication that the political solution everyone knows to be crucial to stability in Iraq is (as it has been for a very long time) not within America's power to conjure up, and thus that the continued American occupation makes little sense. This is not, however, the conclusion that will be drawn three months from now when U.S. officials come to Congress and point to the lack of success as reason to continue the occupation indefinitely.

--Sam Rosenfeld

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