Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess

by TChris

The Friday that kicks off a holiday weekend is a good time for the government to release news it hopes will go unnoticed.

In a grim 63-page report, the Pentagon chronicled bad news on a variety of fronts.

Grim indeed:

"Death squads and terrorists are locked in mutually reinforcing cycles of sectarian strife, with Sunni and Shia extremists each portraying themselves as the defenders of their respective sectarian groups," the report noted. "The Sunni Arab insurgence remains potent and viable."

"Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, especially in and around Baghdad, and concern about civil war within the Iraqi population has increased in recent months."

When competing militias regularly do battle, it may be more accurate to say that civil war already exists in Iraq, but that's the kind of negativity that upsets the ever-optimistic president. The report skates around the question.

As a consequence of the rising violence, the number of Iraqi casualties -- civilian and well as military --jumped to almost 120 a day. Further, the confidence of Iraqis in the future has diminished, according to public opinion surveys cited in the Pentagon report. Still, the study asserts that the fighting in Iraq does not meet the "strict" legal definition of a civil war.

Who knew there was a "strict" legal definition? The report (pdf) actually says:

there is no generally agreed upon definition of civil war among academics or defense analysts. Moreover, the conflict in Iraq does not meet the stringent international legal standards for civil war. However defined, movement toward civil war can be prevented.

Does the Pentagon's hair-splitting and sunny assurance leave you feeling more optimistic as you head into your holiday weekend?

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    Re: Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess (none / 0) (#1)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 05:44:15 PM EST
    The long weekend will give our people an opportunity to get out of the barracks and paint a few Iraqi schools.

    Re: Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess (none / 0) (#2)
    by Sailor on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 06:24:24 PM EST
    Re: Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess (none / 0) (#3)
    by Sailor on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 06:29:06 PM EST
    Funny, all the dictionaries I consulted agree on the definition, these guys sound like they're talking about obscenity, they can't define it but they know it when they see it. Come to think of it, they are talking about obscenity.

    Re: Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess (none / 0) (#5)
    by john horse on Sat Sep 02, 2006 at 10:34:04 AM EST
    Sailor re: "but they (the Pentagon) know it (whether Iraq is in a civil war) when they see it." I think the problem is that it is right in front of their eyes. This is amazing. Its been three years since we invaded Iraq and despite all rose-colored optimistic forecasts of impending victory by Bush and his neocon cheerleaders, things just keep getting worse. To me this is very simple. 91.7% of Iraqis don't want us there. It is the Iraqis who are most directly affected by our occupation. They don't see any benefit to our being there. Why are we there? After all, it is their country, isn't it?

    Re: Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Sep 02, 2006 at 10:57:38 AM EST
    You mean there aren't nonstop ticker tape parades for USA liberators? They are such sticklers for honesty over there aren't they? What's the harm of a few lies if you get rid of a brutal dictator like Saddam?

    Re: Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess (none / 0) (#6)
    by Sailor on Sat Sep 02, 2006 at 05:05:19 PM EST
    Re: Holiday News: Iraq Is a Mess (none / 0) (#7)
    by john horse on Sun Sep 03, 2006 at 11:17:57 PM EST
    Civil war in Iraq? What civil war? According to new Pentagon policy, what is going on in Iraq will be referred to from now on as the War Between The States (sarcasm alert for Civil War history buffs).