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25 August 2005


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Nice one, thanks. Too bad Matthews didn´t follow up on the "prove negative".

The media still avoids to go the "lied us into war" discussion. That discussion would be wrong, because the lies were obvious lies for anybody who tried to stay informed.

Anyhow, that is the discussion and meme that will be the official US history. Because the politicians and the media need that to save face.

Maybe Fitzgerald will push a bit.

Some Guy

A question: which would be worse, for a civil war to start after our withdrawal or for us to stay in Iraq as it descends in to civil war? The current sectarian violence and open, uniformed militia assaults sure indicate a civil war brewing while we are there. Conventional wisdom has been that only after pulling out would that probably happen. What if it becomes inevitable either way? What is the best course of action (and by best I mean least worst)?



Worse for whom?

Civil War is defined by Wikepedia as:

"A civil war is a war in which the competing parties are segments of the same country or empire. Civil war is usually a high intensity stage in an unresolved political struggle for national control of state power. As in any war, the conflict may be over other matters such as religion, ethnicity, or distribution of wealth. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict."

In what sense are we not there now? pl

Some Guy

Well, that kind of was my feeling. What is happening over there has seemed like a civil war to me for months and months. Some folks are a little more particular about how they define such things.

As for the worse for whom, I was thinking for the military when I wrote it. Again, it is a leading question, I would assume that in a civil war our soldiers should get out of it. And since I personally feel this is already a civil war, you can guess my opinion about withdrawal.

But since some folks still consider this not-quite-a-civil-war, I was wondering.



I guess some people want to see Lee and Grant at Gettysburg before they use the word.

Sorry, but I think that is dumb. A civil war waged with guerrillas and terrorism is just as much a civil war.

If we do not get out in the context of general combat between the government and the Sunni Arabs we will be trapped by our own nonsense into fighting for the installation of a clerical Shia government in Iraq. pl


The thing that strikes me is that we don't have a pony in the civil war, except for the Kurds, maybe. If there is a civil war, and we don't have pony, then what do we hope to accomplish?

Staying the course doesn't mean much when you really have little impact on events. If the insurgency is simply one faction in a tripartite war, then haven't we, by default, picked the faction that we don't like as opposed to making a positive statement about what we want in Iraq?

Some Guy


No need to "sorry" me about the dumbness of a war between the states notion of civil war. As I mentioned, this has looked like a civil war to me for a while.

But your refreshingly rational answer (not that it is refreshing from you but in the context of general public discussion of withdrawal) has made me think, would there ever be a condition in Iraq that would meet such a stringent standard of civil war? It would seem to require two of the three major factions to declare autonomous sovereignty and organize a loosely centralized military. I can see Kurds meeting condition a, but condition b? And the Shi'a or Sunni? Like I've said, I am no military man, so all this is amateur speculation, but I find it hard to see two formal entities with associated militaries taking to the field with flags unfurled.

In any case, the 'architechts' of this mess have a vested political interest in not calling it a civil war because that will smoosh the flagging support that still exists. And given that we could easily drag on for years with a sizable, effective insurgency that is not represented by any official governmental body . . . dangling the threat of Iraq "becoming" a civil war functions to keep straggling supporters in line.

But as you imply, a distinction with out a difference in a mess of our own making.



You are right. The insistance on a grandiose definition of civil war serves to insulate the administration from having to face up to its present reality.

Sadly, this method of thought control seems to work. pl


Read Juan Cole today if you still aren't convinced there is a civil war in Iraq. Walks like, talks like... it is a duck.

Some Guy

Nero played his fiddles; Bush rides his bike.

Some Guy

fiddle, I meant fiddle . . . drat


Great seeing you on Hardball. And would a crazy story!

Jerome Gaskins


Why is it not better for Iraq to dissolve into what it was before "Iraq"? Why not let the 3 parties separate?

Pat Lang


I think most people who are familiar with the geopolitics of the region fear that the break up will result in wars that will be savage and prolonged.


Jerome Gaskins

Isn't a direct war that ends with a definitive conclusion better than a set of weak, protracted arguments that flair into "civil unrest" or insurrections over decades and maybe centuries?

Even if it is prolonged, it would be better to get all of the need for revenge and other violence out of the resultant society, right?

Pat Lang


You sound like you think it is a matter of choice. pl


Jerome, you also sound like you think there could be some final, cathartic war with a clear winner and no regression into more violence.

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