It occurred to me today, on this third anniversary of the Iraq war, that the press seems to be resting on its collective laurels a bit.
When the war got going, and we were seeing video bits of spectacular explosions, lighting up the Iraqi skies, the press constantly referred to every city in Iraq as "The holy city of ..." Now, if this was out of some sort of fawning reverence to all things Islam, or even out of respect for "the people of Iraq", they would still be using those four words in reference to the towns.
Since they have taken, over the last year or more, to merely calling the cities by their name, without the distinguishing preamble, one might ask why. I believe the answer is this:
The press couldn't care less if any city or site, in any country, is considered holy. I've never heard "The holy city of Tel Aviv was bombed today..." The reason they kept tagging on "The holy city of..." was to make it sound that somehow we were the bad guys, bombing "holy sites", not terrorists or the followers of a maniacal dictator (who were 'spiritually sensitive' enough to hide in mosques, often behind children, hoping to avoid their doom). Remember, Bush bad, any other world leader, no matter how murderous, good. So why not fuel the fire by pronouncing every military target "holy"? Now that they've done their job, they've made it look like only bad things happen in Iraq, there's an increasing anti-war (and anti-Bush) sentiment growing, there's no need to mention "holy" anymore. It probably came as a relief to not have to utter that word anymore. Because in America, when someone says "holy" the Judeo-Christian deity springs to mind. And we can't have that, now, can we.