Friday, December 1

What's so "Civil" about War Anyway?

Guns N Rose Live - "Civil War"

"What's so "Civil" about War Anyways? - Axl Rose.

In recent days we've seen a slow cracking in the walls between fact and unmitigated bullshit on the subject of Iraq.

Cracks that ignited a veritable Civil War in the media concerning whether or not "Iraq is a Civil War" with the latest salvo being fired by Faux News.

Some are using the term civil war to indicate failure, not inside Iraq, but on U.S. policy in Iraq. We’re unwilling to fall into that tender trap. We’re not using the term because there are non-Iraqis in the fray and that makes it something different

Those words by Fox News Magic Memo Man - Vice President John Moody - come just days after a blisting attack by the "Yes, it's is a Civil War" crowd including the New York Times who recently stated thatthe current conflict in Iraq ranks among the top ranks of civil wars over the last half century.

Though the Bush administration continues to insist that it is not, a growing number of American and Iraqi scholars, leaders and policy analysts say the fighting in Iraq meets the standard definition of civil war.

The common scholarly definition has two main criteria. The first says that the warring groups must be from the same country and fighting for control of the political center, control over a separatist state or to force a major change in policy. The second says that at least 1,000 people must have been killed in total, with at least 100 from each side.

Call me biased by reality if you like, but I think it's pretty clear that Iraq meets both Civil War definition requirements one and two. Yet on the other side of the arguement we have Condoleeza Rice claiming that since the Iraqis don't call it Civil War, neither should we.

Last night on CBS, Katie Couric asked Condoleezza Rice if she believes "the civil war in Iraq is likely to deteriorate significantly over the next few months." Rice responded that Iraq is not a civil war because "the Iraqis don’t see it that way." Rice added, "it really doesn’t help to speak about their circumstance as a civil war, in terms that they don’t speak about their circumstances.

A sentiment that has also been expressed by Dana Priest of the Washington Post.

Priest said she "absolutely" believes the "level of violence [in Iraq] equals a civil war." But she acknowledged that the Post has "not labeled it a civil war," explaining, "We try to avoid the labels, particularly when the elected government itself does not call its situation a civil war.

It's just too bad that their both flat wrong, according to top Iraqi Military Officials.

"This is a civil war," said a senior adviser to the commander of the Iraqi Army’s 6th Division, which oversees much of Baghdad.

"The problem between Sunnis and Shiites is a religious one, and it gets worse every time they attack each other’s mosques," said the adviser, who gave only his rank and first name, Col. Ahmed, because of security concerns. "Iraq is now caught in hell."

And Former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi in March of 06.

It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more.

If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.

And Former Secretary of State Colin Powel who said "Iraq is a Civil War and Bush should Stop Denying it".

Speaking with CNN reporter Hala Gorani in Dubai today, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Iraq’s violence meets the standard of a civil war and thinks President Bush needs to acknowledge that. According to Gorani’s report, Powell said if he were heading the State Department right now, he would recommend that the Bush administration adopt that language "in order to come to terms with the reality on the ground.

And President Bill Clinton.

Iraq fits the "normal" definition of a Civil War.

And NBC News...

MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer explained that "the White House continues to resist" the phrase, but that "after careful thought, MSNBC and NBC News decided over the weekend, the terminology is appropriate, as armed militarized factions fight for their own political agendas.

And 68 Percent of the American Public.

A majority of Americans think Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, a new Harris Interactive poll finds, and few are confident that Robert Gates's nomination as Secretary of Defense will improve the situation there.

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults said they believe there is a civil war in Iraq, the online poll from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20 found, compared with 14% who disagree and 18% who aren't sure.

So this epic struggle on whether to call Iraq a "Civil War", or a Bad IED Half-Decade, or possibly a Total Fuck-Up of Epic Proprotions continues to rage, while we all wait breathlessly for the next blow to land.

Reports indicate that the Iraq Study Group may recommend that U.S. Combat Troops be withdrawn by early 2008

"The bipartisan Iraq Study Group plans to recommend withdrawing nearly all U.S. combat units from Iraq by early 2008 while leaving behind troops to train, advise and support the Iraqis, setting the first goal for a major drawdown of U.S. forces, sources familiar with the proposal said yesterday." The pull-out would be "more a conditional goal than a firm timetable."

Yet the President still claims -

Today, in a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Bush sought to dismiss the commission’s recommendations before they have been officially released. Bush said, "I know there’s a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there’s going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq. We’re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done."

But what job is that exactly, propping up the al-Maliki government while it crumbles to dust around both him us?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki faced a widening revolt within his divided government as two senior Sunni politicians joined prominent Shiite lawmakers and Cabinet members in criticizing his policies.

Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi said he wanted to see al-Maliki's government gone and another "understanding" for a new coalition put in place with guarantees that ensure collective decision making.

"There is a clear deterioration in security and everything is moving in the wrong direction," the Sunni leader told The Associated Press. "This situation must be redressed as soon as possible. If they continue, the country will plunge into civil war."

Let me repeat this - the Iraqi Vice President now wants to see the Maliki goverment GONE!

Simultaneously the al-Sadr bloc of the Iraqi Government, whom this week walked out in protest over President Bush's meeting in Jordan with Prime Minister al-Maliki continues to grow stronger like the Dark Powers of a Sith Lord.

A senior U.S. intelligence official estimates that "the militia of radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has grown eightfold over the past year and now fields 40,000 to 60,000 men. That makes it more effective than the Iraqi government’s army, the official indicated."

Clearly. This is a Civil War.

Meanwhile a parallel Civil War over whether to CALL Iraq a "Civil War" rages on.

Does it matter what we call it? Does these semantic games count?

Yes - because ultimately, whether Iraq is or isn't perceived as a Civil War by our government drives the question of whether we still have a dog in this fight?. If and when this view shifts, it'll be well past time that we let the Iraqis settle their own differences - either militarily or politically - and instead concentrate not on aiding either side of the conflict, but rather attempting to keep essential resources and civilians "safe" by evacuating them from combat areas until hostilities finally cease.

It remains unclear whether the Bush Administration will ever see reality on the ground, a fact which will clearly continue to needlessly pile higher and higher the bodies of Americans, Iraqis, Sunni, Shia, Kurds and others while Washington dodges and dithers over semantics.

Prolonging our involvement in a War we shouldn't be fighting and can't win for ourselves or anyone else is a clear act of (War) Criminal Negligence.

I think the truest statement was made over a decade ago by a bunch of self-absorbed drug-addled rock stars. Sometimes truisms fall easily from mouths of the heavily medicated (and Rocking! \m// )

I don't need your Civil War, it feeds the Rich while it buries the Poor.


No comments: