War or CIVIL war?
Over the past week, the media have -- finally -- taken to describing the state of affairs in Iraq as a CIVIL WAR.
George W. Bush has resisted strenuously.
Why? A lot hangs on a word.
Admitting that Iraq has sunk into a civil war will be admitting that his policies have failed utterly.
You can understand a man of President Bush's temperament NOT wanting to admit failure.
Many people believe he has done nothing but fail upward his whole life. But this would not be an UPWARD failure, as his father and friends have been able to make all the others.
This one is the end of the road.
But more important than President Bush's self-esteem is what the realization that US troops are bogged down in a civil war in a foreign country means for EVERYONE ELSE.
Parents will be asking why their children should die in another country's civil war.
Enlistees will be asking why they should die in another country's civil war.
EVERYONE will be asking why our kids should die in another country's civil war.
Bush, however, seems to have dug his heels in. He has his own answer to the question.
In Riga, Latvia, on Tuesday, he said, "There's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete. [...] We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren."
And minutes ago, in an NPR sound clip, Bush said, "We're gonna stay in Iraq to get the job done..." (8:30 AM)
A lot hangs on this word.
-- Dan Damon
Timeline of media references to CIVIL WAR:
- Monday, November 20
USNews & World Report: "Who Lost Iraq?"
- Saturday, November 25
Los Angeles Times: "Wave of retaliation sweeps Iraq"
United Nations (Reuters): "U.N. urges Iraqi to halt slide into civil war"
- Sunday, November 26
NY Times: "A Matter of Definition: What Makes a Civil War, and Who Declares It So?"
Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Scholars call Iraq unrest a civil war; Bush says no"
- Monday, November 27
NBC: "NBC: Iraq in civil war; White House disagrees"
NPR: "NBC Is Latest to Deem Iraq to Be in Civil War"
NY Times: "Bush Asking Arab Friends for Iraq Help"
Reuters: "U.S. says Iraq in "new phase" but denies civil war"
- Tuesday, November 28
UN (WashPost): "Civil War in Iraq Near, Annan Says"
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