Maureen Dowd on Civil War

Marureen Dowd is becoming increasingly fed up with the Bush administration’s rationalizations that Iraq is not in a civil war:

The New York Times and other news outlets have been figuring out if it’s time to break with the administration’s use of euphemisms like “sectarian conflict.” How long can you have an ever-descending descent without actually reaching the civil war?

Some analysts are calling it genocide or clash of civilizations, arguing that civil war is too genteel a term for the butchery that is destroying a nation before our very eyes. Anthony Shadid, The Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Iraq coverage, went back recently and described “the final, frenzied maturity of once-inchoate forces unleashed more than three years ago by the invasion. There was civil-war-style sectarian killing, its echoes in Lebanon a generation ago. Alongside it were gangland turf battles over money, power and survival; a raft of political parties and their militias fighting a zero-sum game; a raging insurgency; the collapse of authority; social services a chimera; and no way forward for an Iraqi government ordered to act by Americans who themselves are still seen as the final arbiter and, as a result, still depriving that government of legitimacy. Civil war was perhaps too easy a term, a little too tidy.”

It will be harder to sell Congress on the idea that America’s troops should be in the middle of somebody else’s civil war than to convince them that we need to hang tough in the so-called front line of the so-called war on terror against Al Qaeda.

With Iraq splitting, Tony Snow indulges in the ludicrous exercise of hair-splitting. He said that in past civil wars, “people break up into clearly identifiable feuding sides clashing for supremacy.” In Iraq, “you do have a lot of different forces that are trying to put pressure on the government and trying to undermine it. But it’s not clear that they are operating as a unified force.” But Lebanon was a shambles with multiple factions, and everybody called that a civil war.

Mr. Snow has said this is not a civil war because the fighting is not taking place in every province and because Iraqis voted in free elections. But that’s like saying that the Battle of Gettysburg only took place in one small corner of the country, so there was no real American Civil War. And there were elections during our civil war too. President Lincoln was re-elected months before the war’s end.

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  1. 1
    Probus says:

    It’s been a civil war for such a long time. By the time the administration acknowledges that it is a civil war it will be too late to do anything. This is the reason so many Americans voted for change in the midterm election. We see the violence on our TV screens and we know a civil war when we see one. It would be a critical mistake to send more of our kids to Iraq in the middle of this civil war. Sending in more troops will only increase the violence. Our presence in Iraq is in part fueling the violence. The same mistakes that were made during the Vietnam war are now being made in Iraq.

    Al Maliki needs to crack down on the Al Mahdi Army which is getting out of control. It’s not an accident that the violence took place in the heart of Sadr City. Al Sadr can no longer control the militias and the death squads and its up to Al Maliki to step up to the plate and do his job. We need to set up those check points that he had us remove in Sadr City. We still need to find a missing soldier and the 5 contractors who also have been kidnapped. Of the 3 options the Pentagon is considering we should ‘go home’. We should implement Kerry’s plan for withdrawal in 1 year in conjunction with diplomacy and strong benchmarks that must be met.

    If Maliki says no we should threaten him that we’ll cut of his funding. Bush needs to push Maliki and impose penalties if he doesn’t cooperate. Otherwise we’ll never get out of Iraq.

  2. 2
    battlebob says:

    Any solution that does not include reconstuction is not a solution. Of course, how do you rebuild while the country is tearing itself apart?
    Somewhere, within the plan to get out of Dodge, we must agree to pay the reconstruction costs. Halliburton, Bechtel and al the other thieves are not allowed one more penny of reconstruction money.
    Kerry’s plan has it all covered.

  3. 3
    battlebob says:

    A couple of articles on leaving Iraq

    Iraq is Broke Beyond Repair
    by Rosa Brooks
    What is the Point of Iraq Deaths?
    by Andrew Greeley

  4. 4
    battlebob says:

    What would more troops accomplish?

  5. 5
    battlebob says:

    Washinton illusions about Iraq

    Washington’s Iraq Chimeras
    by John Brown and Ray McGovern

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