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.
American professors who specialize in the study of civil wars say that most of their number are in agreement that Iraq's conflict is a civil war.
The above is from Edward Wong's "A Matter of Definition: What Makes a Civil War, and Who Declares It So?" in this morning's New York Times. Who declares it so? Let's see, an administration that promised WMD that never turned up? An administration that promised a "cakewalk" (the mix must have been Bloody Marble)? An administration that's declared war on science, education and reality? Do they get to call it or do academic experts? Apparently, a reporter calling what was going on before their eyes what it actually was was too much for the Times.
From the article:
"It's stunning; it should have been called a civil war a long time ago, but now I don't see how people can avoid calling it a civil war," said Nicholas Sambanis, a political scientist at Yale who co-edited "Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis," published by the World Bank in 2005. "The level of violence is so extreme that it far surpasses most civil wars since 1945."
There's concern that calling it what it is would result even more Americans objecting on the premise that a civil war between Iraqis really isn't something that American troops can 'fix.' That concern is the administration's. So the paper plays it like these are just strands of opinion.
Meanwhile, in the real world, resistance to the illegal war goes on. From Carolyn Thompson's "War resister who lef the Army building a new life in Canada" (AP via Newsday):
He was on his way to Buffalo, he'd told the higher-ups, to see if Bills quarterback J.P. Losman was "the real deal." On that long bus ride from Clarksville, Tenn., in 2005, Sgt. Patrick Hart vomited twice, maybe three times. Ardent Buffalo Bills fan, yes, but it wasn't an unproven quarterback that had this soldier so unnerved.
With that bus ride, Hart was veering off a road he'd been on for nearly 10 years, one which was supposed to lead to his commissioning as a warrant officer in the U.S. Army.
Every mile he traveled now led away from the Army. Away from his wife Jill and their young son. Away from the country he had made it a career to defend. With his wife's help in the commander's office, Hart had been the "golden boy" at his Fort Campbell, Ky. base. Soon he would be the deserter. From Buffalo, Hart would cross the border into Canada, where he would become one of at least 25 U.S. troops who have applied for refugee status.
Supporters estimate there are well over 200 deserters in the country who have not yet sought formal protection.
In October, two from their ranks -- war resisters is what they call themselves -- returned to the United States and turned themselves in. Darrell Anderson, 24, of Lexington, Ky., was held for three days and received an other-than-honorable discharge. Kyle Snyder, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was ordered to return to his unit. He has since disappeared.
For the record, over thirty have applied for refugee status in Canada and the term "war resister" was not only used during Vietnam, the War Resisters League was started in 1923.
Back to the Times, John F. Burns and Kirk Semple report on "a classified United States government report" which finds that "insurgency" is "now self-sustaining financially." Since the US government tends to misclassify the "insurgency" and "insurgents" (infants have been hailed as "insurgents" before they were discovered to be infants), there's not much point in going over the report a great deal other than to note that three years later and Bully Boy's only now being informed of this? Never a great deal of oversight in his illegal war of choice.
A more useful report is Kirk Semple and Omar al-Neami's "47 Sunni Militants Die in Iraq Gunfights:"
At least 47 Sunni Arab insurgents were killed Saturday during long gun battles with Iraqi security forces in and around Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province, a police spokesman in Baquba said.
In the largest and deadliest fight, scores of insurgents, using assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, laid siege to several government buildings in the center of the city, according to the spokesman. At least 36 of the Sunni Arab insurgents were killed in that clash, which raged for about four hours, according to the official, who said he did not yet know if any Iraqi security forces had been wounded.
Gun battles also broke out in Buhruz, a predominantly Sunni village just south of Baquba, when gunmen assaulted the main police station from three directions using mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles, the police spokesman in Baquba reported.
Saturday, the US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Friday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."
Today, the US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade CombatTeam, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed and two others were wounded when nimprovised explosive device detonated near their vehicle while they were conductingoperations in Diyala Province Saturday. The two wounded Soldiers were transported to Coalition Forces' medicaltreatment facilities." and: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Saturday from woundssustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province.
New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:
Editorial: The Unknown War Resister
TV Review: Confessing to no talent
Magazine Parody: The Elector
Iraq's civil war
TV Review: Burying the living
MyTV's Fascist House
Junior wasn't all that? You don't say
Taking care of the most pressing business first
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