It's Not a Civil War ... Really, Honest, Not Yet

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's Not a Civil War ... Really, Honest, Not Yet

Remember that report that President Bush referred to last week in Salt Lake City? In his speech, Bush said:
This cruelty and carnage has led some to question whether Iraq has descended into civil war. Our commanders and our diplomats on the ground in Iraq believe that's not the case. They report that only a small number of Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence ...
The new report to which Bush referred -- produced by the Pentagon -- is not brimming with optimism. And the report's conclusion about civil war is a bit more complicated than the one-dimensional picture presented by the president.

The Pentagon report finessed the issue very delicately, declaring that the "current violence is not a civil war, and movement toward civil war can be prevented." Of course, the Pentagon would never refer to possible "movement toward civil war" unless the potential was significant.

These details from CNN are also noteworthy:
Increasing violence is affecting "all other measures of stability, reconstruction and transition," according to the (new Pentagon) report, which examined the situation in June, July and August. .... The report said the quarter had seen a 51 percent increase in Iraqi casualties ...
In the Washington Post story:
"Sustained ethno-sectarian violence is the greatest threat to security and stability in Iraq," the report said. "Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq."
So there you have it. It's not yet a civil war, but the Pentagon says the "conditions" for civil war are there, and the Pentagon hints of "movement" in that direction.

And this is something Bush wanted to gloat about.

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