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Update: No Civil War in Iraq

A few days ago I posted about the Pentagon's statement that there is no civil war in Iraq.

Today, the New York Post's Ralph Peters, who is currently in Iraq, supports the Pentagon's view of no civil war:

March 1, 2006 -- THE reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. There is no civil war in the streets. None. Period.

Terrorism, yes. Civil war, no. Clear enough?

Yesterday, I crisscrossed Baghdad, visiting communities on both banks of the Tigris and logging at least 25 miles on the streets. With the weekend curfew lifted, I saw traffic jams, booming business -- and everyday life in abundance.

Yes, there were bombings yesterday. The terrorists won't give up on their dream of sectional strife, and know they can count on allies in the media as long as they keep the images of carnage coming. They'll keep on bombing. But Baghdad isn't London during the Blitz, and certainly not New York on 9/11.

It's more like a city suffering a minor, but deadly epidemic. As in an epidemic, no one knows who will be stricken. Rich or poor, soldier or civilian, Iraqi or foreigner. But life goes on. No one's fleeing the Black Death -- or the plague of terror.

And the people here have been impressed that their government reacted effectively to last week's strife, that their soldiers and police brought order to the streets. The transition is working.

Ralph ends with this:

You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer.

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Comments (24)

It depends on what you desc... (Below threshold)

It depends on what you describe as a civil war.

Wikipedia - the bloggers friend - defines it as "A civil war is a war in which the parties within the same country or empire struggle for national control of state power."

Sounds like Iraq to me, although i think the general usuage usually requires the official power structures to be either dissolved or completely pointless, so Iraq probably has a short way to go yet...

The issue here is not reall... (Below threshold)

The issue here is not really that the press is lying to us, but that most people don't care. You see, those of us on "the right" have known about the complete and utter hatred for all things republican and conservative held by 99.5% of those in the "msm", and those on the left don't care because they feel the same way.

The other issue is this. How many of us would rather watch a news report (on TV at about 6PM) about a situation where something horrible happened, or a situation where nothing happened. You see, in some way, we have actually created this problem by not watching good news, but by being glued to the TV during bad news.

The (formerly) main stream media knows they are dying, and will be replaced by Cable news, blogs, and talk radio, but they will not give up their seat without a fight, and trust me, they could not care less if they drag the ENTIRE COUNTRY down with them. They know that by not reporting any good news, but only bad from Iraq, that the terrorists there will be emboldened. When these terrorists see that their bombings and all that the media show then they are winning in this theatre.

Hmmm.Wiki... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Wikipedia - the bloggers friend - defines it as "A civil war is a war in which the parties within the same country or empire struggle for national control of state power."

Sounds like politics here in New Jersey.

Mrs Aginoth,T... (Below threshold)
Wayne:


Mrs Aginoth,
Trying to lawyer the words in the definition to suite your purpose doesn't make it so. There are groups in the U.S. that is struggling for national control sometime even through violence. Surely you wouldn't suggest the U.S. is in a civil war except for maybe a symbolic civil war. If you want a true civil war go look at some of the African nation who are in civil war.
The insurgents and terrorist in Iraq aren't a large enough faction to be consider a real threat to national control. Yes, you can use lawyer techniques to define what "is" is but the truth remains the same. Iraq at the moment is not in civil war and the MSM is lying to us once again.

Does it really matter what ... (Below threshold)
ztp:

Does it really matter what we call it? Civil war, internal strife, terrorism, sectarian strife, election season, etc...

As long as the government is still able to enforce a curfew there is still government and there is still a way to resolve the situation without disintigration. Too bad our government doesnt have to power to put a curfew on some of our media battles, especially in the runnup to elections.

I wish in all my heart, Ra... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I wish in all my heart, Ralph Peters the journalist, was right about Iraq, but somehow I can't help thinking he his pleading his case too...the case for American intervention. As a retired colonel in the US army,he recently came out defending the U.S. military, for planting good news Iraqi stories in the media. For a different view ( or if you will, a different axe to grind) there is Juan Cole's latest broadside. But, really could could things be much grimmer? Maybe the good news is that so intense is the hatred and scapegoating of America, that as the US is sidelined, Iraqis will really now have to take the leadership and responsiblity for the future of their smouldering country.

It may not seem to matter t... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

It may not seem to matter to most what it is called. However, for operational purpose it does. Trying to determine what the proper reaction should be depends on having proper understanding of the situation. Misclassifying the situation can result in overreacting or under reacting. For example, firing tear gas and using violence on a peaceful demonstration is wrong and would be condemn. Doing it to a violent group wouldn't be. The MSM misrepresenting it could cause the general population to support or not support it when the opposite should happen. Saying the Iraq is in a civil war when it is not can unduly cause the wrong type of support and reaction from back home.

So how many thousands of pe... (Below threshold)

So how many thousands of people have to be killed per week before it's officially a civil war?

Incidently, if you're going to invent an entire new definition for what a civil war is, I hope you guys can at least loosen your requirements enough that the American Civil War still counts, because printing all those new textbooks about the period between 1861-1865 where nothing too important happened but the evil media chose to call it a civil war anyhow is going to be a real pain in the ass.

For those on this site who ... (Below threshold)
pete:

For those on this site who debate whether it's a "civil war" or not, here's from one of Bush's guys..........'nough said.

Negroponte: Iraq May Spark Regional Fight
By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer Wed Mar 1, 10:21 AM ET
WASHINGTON - A civil war in Iraq could lead to a broader conflict in the Middle East, pitting the region's rival Islamic sects against each other, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said in an unusually frank assessment Tuesday.

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"If chaos were to descend upon Iraq or the forces of democracy were to be defeated in that country ... this would have implications for the rest of the Middle East region and, indeed, the world," Negroponte said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global threats.

Negroponte served as U.S. ambassador to Baghdad before taking over as the nation's top intelligence official last April.

Iraqis have faced a chain of attacks and reprisals since bombs destroyed the gold dome of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra last week. Hundreds, if not thousands, have died, including more than 65 who were killed Tuesday by suicide attackers, car bombers and insurgents firing mortars.

President Bush condemned the surge in violence and said Iraqis must make a choice between "a free society or a society dictated ... by evil people who will kill innocents." Later, in an interview with ABC News' "World News Tonight," he said he did not believe the escalation of civil unrest would lead to a general civil war.

Negroponte tried to focus on progress in Iraq, but he acknowledged a civil war would be a "serious setback" to the global war on terror.

"The consequences for the people of Iraq would be catastrophic," he said. "Clearly, it would seriously jeopardize the democratic political process on which they are presently embarked. And one can only begin to imagine what the political outcomes would be."

Saudi Arabia and Jordan could support Iraq's Sunnis, Negroponte said. And Iran, run by a Shiite Islamic theocracy, "has already got quite close ties with some of the extremist elements" inside Iraq, he added.

While Iraq's neighbors "initially might be reluctant" to get involved in a broader Sunni-Shiite conflict, "that might well be a temptation," Negroponte said.

Still, he told senators he is seeing progress in the overall political and security situation in Iraq. "And if we continue to make that kind of progress, yes, we can win in Iraq," he said.

Democrats noted that Negroponte wouldn't go quite as far as Bush did in his January State of the Union address. "We are winning," Bush said then.

James Jeffrey, the State Department coordinator for Iraq, told reporters Tuesday that Iraqi security forces have managed to establish a normal and calm situation -- "by Iraq standards." The level of violence, he said, was about the same as before the shrine bombing.

At the Senate hearing, Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, painted a similarly stark picture of Afghanistan.

While the government has made progress in disarming private militias, Maples said, his agency estimates that violence from the Taliban and other anti-coalition groups in Afghanistan increased 20 percent last year.

"Insurgents now represent a greater threat to the expansion of Afghan government authority than at any point since late 2001, and will be active this spring," Maples said in his written statement.

Afghan insurgents increased their suicide attacks almost fourfold and more than doubled their use of improvised explosive devices, he said.

Also at the hearing:

_Negroponte would not provide an updated assessment of the number of nuclear weapons believed to be in North Korea's arsenal, although a former DIA head has previously said Pyongyang has one or two.

"We assess that they probably have nuclear weapons, as they claim that they do, but we don't know for a fact that they've got such weapons," Negroponte said. To provide a number "would merely be an extrapolation or a speculation on our part."

_Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., was critical of the Bush administration's reliance on the six-party talks aimed at disarming North Korea.

"I worry that the six-party talks have really devolved into the Chinese talks, and the Chinese have their own agenda," she said. "I'm not sure that the six-party talks is the only route we should be following."

_On Venezuela, Negroponte said U.S. intelligence expects President Hugo Chavez to deepen his relationship with Cuban President Fidel Castro and "seek closer economic, military and diplomatic ties with Iran and North Korea."

Negroponte said the U.S. is concerned about Chavez's arms purchases, using profits from oil production. "I would say that it's clear that he is spending hundreds of millions, if not more, for his very extravagant foreign policy" at the expense of the impoverished Venezuelan population, he said.

__

i think all wars and terris... (Below threshold)
Bianca:

i think all wars and terrisiom needs to end because everyday i walk out the door i dont feel safe.

i think all wars a... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
i think all wars and terrisiom needs to end because everyday i walk out the door i dont feel safe.

Well, then let's just send all those violent people/countries cease and desist letters so that you can feel safer.

Pete Negroponte neve... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Pete
Negroponte never once in your posting said that Iraq was in a civil war. Only that it would be a terrible thing if there were one, which is true. Nice try.

Jason
Civil war isn't the measurement of how many people are dying per week. There are many people being killed in U.S. every week. France wasn't in a civil war when the Germans invaded and kill thousands. Civil war is when "indigenous" groups within a country seriously threaten the current government control of a country or a significant portion thereof through the use of violence usually involving deaths of a relative large percentage of the population.

Wayne: Surely when... (Below threshold)

Wayne:

Surely when indigenous groups are killing 1,300 people over the course of a few days the government's "control" has to be in question.

Double check those numbers.... (Below threshold)

Double check those numbers.

The morgue reports on dead are in the *low* hundreds... I saw 249.

But even if the 1300 number was even close to accurate, it's hard to call it a civil war. Strife, sure. But reports are that just as many people are motivating and calling for calm and political solutions if not considerably more.

Honestly, people talk like the Iraqis simply won't be able to help themselves, that no one there thinks before they act, and it's all doomed. When you figure that a whole bunch of people have been searching for any sign of failure from day one, it's hardly surprising that they are going all chicken-little when there actually *is* some trouble.

And it's like... *duh*. I'd have been surprised if there didn't get to be some at some point. Different factions and groups *are* working out the balance of power and what form it will take. It's *important*, and you can't get to the "it's all worked out" part without doing the back and forth. And we can hope that's not violent, but it's got to happen.

How long does it take for everyone to settle in? What examples do we have from History? How long does it take?

JasonWhat off... (Below threshold)
Wayne:


Jason
What official site did you get the 1300 from? There have been some reports that state that it is rumor to have happen but has not been substantiated.
Much of the fighting has been cause by non-indigenous forces. Trying to equate Government control with government being able to control all that happens in a country is lame. Over 3000 died in single day in U.S. Were we in a civil war? How many die everyday in U.S. of violence? Are we in a civil war? If some group in the U.S. causes 1300 deaths in a few days, would we be in a civil war?

I'm concern that Iraq could end up in a civil war but it is not there yet. I also don't appreciate all these Bush haters who are eager and hopeful for bad news and if it is not there they make it up.

I got the 1,300 from the Wa... (Below threshold)

I got the 1,300 from the Washington Post, among other places. It's been on the AP wire for days now... are you seriously telling me this is the first you've heard of it?

[email protected] jason... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ jason

I got the 1,300 from the Washington Post, among other places. It's been on the AP wire for days now... are you seriously telling me this is the first you've heard of it?

LOL! There's your problem Jason, you're relying on the Washington Post.

That number, and the Washington Post article that purports it, have been debunked from one end of the Earth to the other.

Jason The Washington... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Jason
The Washington Post isn't an official source. As I already stated there has been reports of rumors of 1300 dead but rumors aren't facts. The MSM now days report on gossip and rumors instead of fact. One paper will start a rumor and the many others will report that rumor as fact stating the Washington post said such and such. Pretty lame reporting in my opinion.

Since the "official sources... (Below threshold)

Since the "official sources" don't give out any information on the topic, I think we'll just have to take dozens of America's most reputable news outlets at face value.

Anyhow, since the closest we get to official stories from the Pentagon are what they bribe some Iraqi newspapers to print as " original stories", how would we even know an official source when we see it?

JasonTaking the MSM ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Jason
Taking the MSM report at face value especially the so call report of rumors is your first mistake. If you have ever had much dealing with them you would know how often they have it wrong.
The Whitehouse, Pentagon or Commanders on the ground release reports on a regular bases.
Again the numbers are a side issue but it shows how you blindly follow the MSM propaganda and pull what insinuation from them you chose without regards to facts. You do know what a rumors is?

JasonOne more thing,... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Jason
One more thing, how many deaths, rapes and crimes did these reputable news outlet reported at the Superdome which turn out as false.

I know this is going to be ... (Below threshold)

I know this is going to be lost on you, but did it ever dawn on you that governments lie?

JasonOf course but t... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Jason
Of course but they have the media to beat them over the head when they do. That same check doesn't exist with the media. Lately the MSM media has shown their bias far more than the government has and they try to claim that they are not bias. The MSM are allow to use propaganda but beat the government over the head when the government do it to help fight a war.

"although i think the gene... (Below threshold)
Plato:

"although i think the general usuage usually requires the official power structures to be either dissolved or completely pointless,"

That qualification certainly doesn't (or didn't) apply to the American Civil War - the U.S. government remained firmly in control of the states remaining with the Union, and the states that seceded formed their own government. At no point was the official power structure in the North or South "either dissolved or completely pointless." Also, if, during the period 1861-1865, Ralph Peters had taken a carriage ride through any city in the U.S., he would not have seen many signs of the ongong Civil War (with the exception of Gettysburg for a few days in early July, 1863). His essay reminds me of the old saying, "There is none so blind as he who will not see."

Plato




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