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What Makes a Civil War?

Friday, December 1, 2006

I know my Iraq stuff rarely gets the crowd going anymore. But I continue to bang the drum because I believe the issue will define our time much like Vietnam did the post-Kennedy 1960s. Perhaps they'll do so for different reasons. Yet each also represents a time when America grew too big for its britches and was reminded that even our military influence on the world stage has its limits.

Back to today's issue. For me (and the 65% of like-minded Americans according to the latest polls), the idea of President Bush still failing to identify a civil war from the violence in Iraq is almost comical. Indeed, it has lead to headlines of "Delusional or Dedicated." I won't delve into that question (though I do think it's a combination of both). Yet, upon further consideration, I can hardly criticize Bush for not identifying an Iraqi civil war today since it's perfectly consistent with all prior failed visions for the Middle East.

You see, remember how President Bush and his advisors told the American people starting back in 2002 that we "fight them in Iraq so that we don't have to fight them here?" How many times did we hear those very words in State of the Union addresses alone? And to this day, Bush continues to state that the war in Iraq is actually fueled by al Queda -- and that it's NOT a power-struggle between distinct sects for dominance in an artificial vacuum created in the heart of the Middle East, as most experts describe the conflict.

So if Bush were now to join the overwhelming majority of Americans who see our presence in Iraq as somewhat analogous to policing a civil war, then that would mean our troops are fighting Sunni insurgents and Shi'a deathsquads in order to prevent the Sunni and Shi'a civil war from being fought here in America!

Absurd? Sure. But as long as 2+2 still makes 4, then Bush's own words indicate a real fear that some Sunnis in New Jersey may declare war on a few Shiites in Detroit! Scary stuff. Perhaps they could just settle it with a good Nets-Pistons basketball game and our troops in Iraq can start coming home? I won't hold my breathe, but my money would be on the Pistons!