Civil War (wikipedia): A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality fight for political power or control of an area. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by some historians if, and only if, organized armies fight conventional battles. Other historians state the criteria for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not).
How can anyone even think of describing what Bush and Rumsfeld’s neocon follies have caused in Iraq as anything other than civil war? It’s long past time for “civil war” to be used when talking about what this illegal and immoral invasion has turned into. It’s long past time to call out the Yellow Elephants, the lying talking meatsticks on what they have been cheering for all these years.
In all seriousness, it is time to stop ignoring the obvious. If we don’t, then there can be no discussion on how to realistically deal with this mess (and I don’t mean in a “BushCo wanted it this way” way), truly support our troops by not leaving them needlessly in harm’s way with a target on their backs and not enough equipment or armor, not to mention the “stated goal” of combating terrorism.
To not call what Iraq has devolved into would be irresponsible. The term “civil war” should be used in any conversation where Iraq comes up. Maybe then, the public and our elected “leaders” will be forced to deal with the harsh and gruesome reality that is Iraq.
Do we want to keep our brave troops at risk and playing “referee” (or sitting duck) in an Islamic civil war halfway around the world? Is that how we should be using our military resources, especially in a time where they are actually needed in so many other ways and places?
And here’s another question – what would (or should) the consequences be of the willful and at a minimum negligent cause of a civil war, causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people?
But here we are. Not even at square one.
Despite massive provocations, Iraq has not descended into civil war, most Iraqis have not turned to violence, and the Iraqi Security Forces have not broken up into sectarian groups waging war against each other.
And just a few weeks ago, Rumsfeld said at a news conference:
“Do I think we’re in a civil war at the present time? No,"
Not to mention British Defense Minister John Reid who had this to say in late March:
'The situation in Iraq is serious but it is not terminal,' he said. 'There has been an increase in sectarian violence but it is not a civil war.'
Or Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who said that the “sectarian violence” is Al Qaeda’s fault.
We can’t leave out Darth Cheney himself who went on Face the Nation around the same time to declare:
that the surge in attacks aimed at fomenting sectarian conflict simply reflected the insurgents' "state of desperation".
The remark echoed a similarly optimistic phrase used by Mr Cheney in March last year, when he claimed the insurgency was in its "last throes". Yesterday, he maintained that that description was still "basically accurate".
Of course, Face the Nation (and CBS by extension) willfully lapped this up, maintaining their role in denying the painfully obvious. The HuffPost had a real good editorial early this year on how the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times and USA Today couldn’t care less about the dangerous mess in Iraq:
Even the New York Times has its news story on al-Hakim's statements on page A-10 -- and at the very bottom of the page at that. In the Washington Post, the story appears on A-14, while the Los Angeles Times and USA Today do not cover the story at all! And a LexisNexis search didn't yield a single mention of the story on any of the broadcast or cable news shows.
So the match that could ignite an all-out civil war in Iraq was just lit and the U.S. media can barely muster a yawn.
And, for good measure, let’s throw in Fox News, whose fair and balanced opinion is that the civil war is “made up by the media”.
Contrast with what some experts had to say recently:
"In academic terms, this is a civil war, and it's not even a small one," said Larry Diamond, a former consultant to the provisional authority in Baghdad who is now critical of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq.
"I don't know how else you would describe something which has people from one community systematically attacking the other," said Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia during the civil war in the Balkans during the Clinton administration and who helped negotiate an end to the conflict in Croatia. "Sunni Arab insurgents have been attacking Shiite clergy, politicians and ordinary Shiites for simply being who they are ... and then you have a response, from the Shiites."
Or even former Bush puppet Iyad Allawi, who said that “phase one of a civil war” was happening.
First, let’s take a trip down memory lane though and see all of the warnings that were given to Bush, Rummy and their neocon criminal co-conspirators:
September 2004: CIA warns Bush about civil war
September 29, 2004: Bush and Rumsfeld dismiss such warnings as issued by “pessimists and naysayers”
Other warnings from 2002 through May 2005 are here.
And let’s see some (and this is a small sample) of what has been going on since the “pessimists and naysayers” started to voice their concern - highlighting the more recent violence since all of the new denials of civil war were made in March 2006:
May 24, 2005: 2 attacks leave 50 dead.
February 23, 2006: Attack on Shia mosque in Samarra and attack by Shia gunmen in police uniforms shot nearly a dozen Sunnis.
February 24, 2006: 100 dead, including Sunni clerics in “sectarian violence”. This was retaliation for the attack on the Shia mosque the previous day.
May 2006: Eight family members killed in sectarian violence. On June 4, their heads were found on the side of a road.
May 8, 2006: 30 killed, including a dozen killed execution style in bombings and shootings.
May 12-13, 2006: 30 people killed, including 26 Iraqis, 2 US and 2 UK military in the weekend before Saddam Hussein’s trial resumed.
May 19, 2006: Five US soldiers and 20 Iraqis killed in Baghdad attacks.
May 29, 2006: Nearly 40 killed in a number of attacks, including bombings of buses carrying people on their way to work.
May 30, 2006: 53 killed in bombings and shootings across Iraq. Dozens more injured as well.
June 1, 2006: State of emergency declared in Basra by the Prime Minister due to “sectarian violence”.
June 4, 2006: more than one hundred dead or wounded in at least four incidents of “sectarian violence”.
Enough for ya?
Looking at the wikipedia definition above, there really is nothing else to call it. It is a disservice to our troops not to call it what it is. The more the US media and the general population is in denial of this, the worse things get. And the more chance there is for harm to our troops.
Other countries’ are reporting the situation in Iraq and using the term “civil war”. Hell, even the man installed by Bush in Iraq said that the country is on the cusp of a civil war. It’s time that the US woke up and did the same. To continue to deny and avoid the truth is anti-troops and anti-american. It can do no good and can only do more harm.
Do we want our soldiers fighting in another country’s civil war? Do we want to hold the responsible people accountable for willfully creating this civil war and negligently putting our troops in harm’s way?
In order to even begin, the US needs to start with the truth.