It’s not a civil war…

It’s not a civil war in Iraq

Things are getting very bad and they’re going to get worse,” a special forces officer said close to the airport yesterday. “But no one is saying that – either because they don’t know or because they don’t want you to know.”, Robert Fisk in Fallujah 

 The White House (and much of the U.S. media) is playing what’s happening in Iraq as a civil war. But that’s not what’s happening. Not at all.

In a civil war, the populace fights each other. In Iraq the populace is fighting an occupying army. If they push the invaders out then, yes, there might be a civil war – but not until then.

And it is indeed the populace of Iraq who is fighting. Even Bremer has stopped pretending ‘outside agitators’ are responsible for the insurgency.

Fear of losing control drives assault

U.S. Marines fighting dangerous street battles in a Sunni stronghold west of Baghdad hope the aggressive new tactics will finally subdue insurgents there.

Every time the U.S. gits tough against the insurgents, the resistance increases. Just a few short months ago the insurgents were throwing rocks. Now they have militias in the tens of thousands and control cities. U.S. forces have, let’s be honest, gotten clobbered these past few days.

“Fear of losing control?” I’d say the U.S. already has lost control.

George Will in the Washington Post says:

After last week’s murder of four American civilian contractors in Fallujah, U.S. leadership in Baghdad promised that the response against that city would be “precise” and “overwhelming.” But precisely who is to be overwhelmed, and what will be the metric of success at overwhelming? How many troops will it take to find those involved in the killing of the contractors? And on the basis of what intelligence?

As this is written, headlines speak of 1,200 Marines “encircling” Fallujah, which is as populous as Newark, N.J. It is a sign of things falling apart that common language seems unable to get a purchase on Iraq’s new reality.

Indeed, 1,200 Marines can not take and hold Newark and they can not take and hold Fallujah. But many on both sides, as well as innocents caught in the middle, will die – and to what purpose?