It's not simply a semantic issue. If Iraq is seen as in a civil war by the administration, it has all sorts of policy consequences, and it will more than anything accelerate tremendously the drive or the push to get U.S. forces largely out of Iraq. It's not clear U.S. forces have any useful role if, in fact, you think there's a civil war. This is actually a distinction with a difference.
It may not be an all-out civil war, but it sure looks like one. And I would say that Iraq right now is something of a cross or a blend between a civil war and a failed state. What you do not have is effective central authority. You have the growing war between and among militias.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations talks about whether it matters whether or not Iraq is in a "civil war":
Posted by Nils at 11/29/2006 04:14:00 PM