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Friday, August 11, 2006


civil war in Iraq

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, August 11, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
This is becoming so routine, that barely anyone even thinks it's news anymore. 35 dead in Najaf:

A suicide bomb attack at a market in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf has killed at least 35 people and injured more than 90 others.

Reports say the bomber detonated a belt of explosives at a police checkpoint.

The attack occurred near the Imam Ali shrine, one of the most sacred Shia Muslim sites. A Sunni insurgent group claimed it had carried out the bombing.

Michael Yon - who is one of the few voices, another being Michael Totten, who can say that things aren't just peachy-keen in Iraq and not be immeddiately castigated as a dhimmicrat-appeaser by the conservative pro-war blogsphere, has been sounding this alarm for a year. And he sounds it again:

For the past year I have steadily been warning that if we do not act now Iraq’s smoldering civil war could burn out of control. Recently, even the Army Public Affairs Office seems to recognize this. Although many commanders have asked that I return to Iraq and report on their efforts and progress, PAO Officers such as LTC Barry Johnson in Baghdad have turned down my embed requests.

It bears repeating, despite the incredible progress that has been made in Iraq; we are in great peril of losing the war entirely. Having seen and reported on how it doesn’t have to end this way, because there are units and leaders in our military who know how to succeed in Iraq, who have won the peace for communities once considered as dangerous as Baghdad, I have always maintained a hope of the eventual success of the mission citing conditions on the ground as justification. Unfortunately, given what we have for information sources, now may have passed. Now could be yesterday, or last month, or even last year. Now it may be too late.

General John Abizaid, whom I hold in high regard, has testified to Congress that Iraq is closer to civil war than ever before:

"I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war," he said. "Al-Qaida terrorists, insurgents and Shia' militia militants compete to plunge the country into civil war. It is a decisive time in Baghdad and it requires decisive Iraqi action with our clear support."

That's the straight talk from in the field. But the Administration - via Rumsfeld - remains in denial:

Q: Is the country closer to a civil war?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I don't know. You know, I thought about that last night, and just musing over the words, the phrase, and what constitutes it. If you think of our Civil War, this is really very different. If you think of civil wars in other countries, this is really quite different. There is -- there is a good deal of violence in Baghdad and two or three other provinces, and yet in 14 other provinces there's very little violence or numbers of incidents. So it's a -- it's a highly concentrated thing. It clearly is being stimulated by people who would like to have what could be characterized as a civil war and win it, but I'm not going to be the one to decide if, when or at all.

As for the President, he isn't even spinning like Rummy - his rhetoric seems completely detached from the facts on the ground.

And some people wonder why Djerjian has been "a daily one-note on how there are no grownups in charge" ? The grownups are in the field, not in charge. That's the opposite of how it should be.

And yes, everything IS connected. Our failure of diplomacy in Lebanon could have serious consequences in Iraq.

I was against the Iraq war. But I have been steadfast in my belief that having occupied Iraq, our troops in Iraq have been a force for more stability than their absence would be. But we are fast approaching a point - and may have even passed it - where that presence is more harmful than good. And I am drawn inexorably towards the withdrawal camp.

It has long been true that invading Iraq was an "own-goal" in the war on Terror. The question is, as Iraq slides towards civil war and the Administration remains oblivious, has our occupation become an "own goal" as well?


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.