Why does the press keep repeating this?
A Fox News story today about Najaf includes this line: "It was also unclear whether the assault would involve raiding Najaf's holiest site, the Imam Ali Shrine (search), which would infuriate Iraq's Shiite majority."
Why? They didn't get too infuriated when an exiled cleric was murdered in it. Furthermore, the US has Iraqi forces with them and could well task the Iraqis to enter the shrine and remove the insurgents, something they have done before.
But Fox's own report refutes their claim. "Holohan said the people in Najaf have been supportive of the mission to root out the militia and actually have been 'somewhat dismayed' that more hasn't been done sooner.
'The people in the town, they really want us to go forward,' he said."
So why this oft-repeated, never actually witnessed bugaboo? It seems the press has very little understanding of what's actually going on in Iraq, so they pull out catch phrases from the past for filler in the articles even though the phrases are meaningless in the present context.