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Some uncivil thoughts about Iraq’s civil war

By Doug Thompson
November 28, 2006

Amazing. Two staunch members of the Legion of Mainstream Media (otherwise known as the LMSM) have declared the debacle in Iraq to be just what it is:  a civil war.

NBC Monday announced that from that point forward it would describe the Iraq conflict as "a civil war."

To announce this radical change in policy, NBC didn’t send out serious Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Nah, this story is too big for Brian. Give it to the prince of fluff, Today’s Matt Lauer.

"For the most part news organizations like NBC hesitated to characterize it as such," Lauer told the Monday morning audience. "After careful consideration, NBC News has decided the change in terminology is warranted and what is going on in Iraq can now be characterized as civil war."

Interesting that as the reports of daily slaughter increase in Iraq, NBC chooses to announce its decision on the show where news is an afterthought. I’m surprised Lauer had time to report it amid all the stories about Christmas shopping, winter fashions and the latest antics of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Keith Olberman gave it more serious treatment Monday night on his MSNBC Countdown show but that came after a full day of White House spin claiming the trouble in Iraq as all al-Qaida’s fault and how dare a news organization call a civil war a civil war. But that’s the White House, where truth is treated as an enemy combatant.

NBC joined The Los Angeles Times, which quietly began calling it a civil war over the weekend. The Times didn’t see a need to trumpet its decision. It just instructed writers to call a civil war a civil war.

Other news organizations stick with the White House spin. The Washington Post refers to what is happening in Iraq as "sectarian strife" while Reuters calls it "sectarian conflict" and McClatchy Newspapers say it is "sectarian violence."

But The Christian Science Monitor, which I’ve long considered the best newspaper in America, refers to it as a "deepening civil war" while Fareed Zakaria in this week’s Newsweek is far more blunt.

Writes Zakaria:

We’re in the middle of a civil war and are being shot at by both sides. There can be no more doubt that Iraq is in a civil war, in which leaders of both its main communities, Sunnis and Shiites, are fomenting violence.

Interestingly, Newsweek is owned by The Washington Post Company where Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Dana Priest told MNBC’s Chris Matthews:

It seems to me, the President’s afraid that people will begin to think it is a civil war and not the way he wants to define it, which is we gotta fight them there before they fight us here.

Well, I think one of the reasons the President resists that label is because it equates almost with a failure of U.S. policy. I will say for The Washington Post, we have not labeled it a civil war. I have asked around to see why not or see what’s the thinking on that — and really our reporters have not filed that. We try to avoid the labels, particularly when the elected government itself does not call its situation a civil war. I certainly – and I would agree with General McCaffrey on this – absolutely the level of violence equals a civil war.

In other words, the Post will not call the civil war what it is until either the White House or the government of Iraq says it’s OK to do so. Gotta wonder when the mighty Washington Post became a propaganda machine for the Bush White House.

And the White House? They say they’ve never even heard of a civil war in Iraq.

"While the situation on the ground is very serious, neither Prime Minister Maliki nor we believe that Iraq is in a civil war," reads the official release from the White House press office.

Of course this is the same White House that believed weapons of mass destruction would be found in Irag and that Saddam and Osama were shacking up to plan 9/11.

For the record, we’ve been calling it a civil war for months now because that’s exactly what is happening in Iraq.

So who are you gonna believe? Us or your lying President?

26 Responses to Some uncivil thoughts about Iraq’s civil war

  1. Jerry

    November 28, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    It’s not a civil war. Even if Laura and Barney are the only two on the planet who agree with George, until Barney says it’s a civil war, George will refuse to accept it.

    And Barney ain’t talking.

  2. Johnny

    November 28, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    Ok, fine. It’s not a civil war. That’s probably too nice a term.
    I’m satisified with a host of other terms: tragedy, travesty, castastrophe, total mess, Bush mess, Cheney mess, Neocon failure, big lie, major ass wipe, ruthless violence, road to nowhere, mess-o-potamia, oil grab, defense contractor heaven, war crime, end of an empire, crime on humanity, . . . . stop me when you get tired.

  3. John Hanks

    November 28, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    I suppose we will never hear it called the “money pit” or the “gold mine” or the “money laundering operation”.

  4. Fred P

    November 28, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    @Frazier-

    I think that it’s the principle of the thing, not who will succeed him as president.

    Cheney for President in ’07!

    Impeach Bush!

  5. Gerald Sutliff

    November 28, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    Well said Doug. Allow me to suggest we refer to the “strife” as “entirely predictable in 2002 civil war.”

  6. Timothy Richley

    November 28, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    truth 101, you keep beating your chest for impeachment and saying that the incoming speaker has done something so terrible that she can never function as speaker. Fine, thats your opinion. Uncolored by facts, but your opinion all the same. The dems do not have the numbers for either impeachment or conviction. You all seem to forget that this country is pretty much equally divided dem and rep. Yah, the rep’s voted to impeach WJC. They had enough numbers so they didn’t need the dems. The fact that the reps wanted to impeach a dem any dem, didn’t matter who, they just wanted to do to a dem, what they thought had been done to Nixon(never mind that Nixon was guilty)The reps have, since 2001, excluded dems from all facets of the legislative process, what ever makes you think that those who voted to impeach WJC(reps) would vote to impeach GWB. The dems would need to get a super majority in order to both impeach and convict GWB and by then it would be to late. But, could an ex president and or vice president be chaged with crimes that they did while in office. I wonder if there is any law on that. But just talking about impeachment is just beating a dead hourse. The people did not like the fact that the reps impeached WJC. That was when the hubris of the reps started. They thought that they would be in charge forever, and they tried hard to make it happen. But because there are now some new dem state ledge and gov’s what is to stop the dems from doing what Texas did? Gerrymander the state so only dems get elected. After all GWB’s SCOTUS said it was OK

  7. Ted

    November 28, 2006 at 7:29 pm

    Impeach Bush and Cheney would immediately pardon him. Impeaching Cheney and his VP would pardon him. tHAT WOULD BE FOOLISH.

    The smart thing to do is to wait until both are out of office and therefore without the power of federal office. Then go after them through the justice depertment and they can spend their own retirement money/blood money (not tax dollars) for their own defense lawyers. Its kind of like Mohammad Ali’s “ROPE A DOPE STRATEGY”

  8. Judy B

    November 28, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    Bush – Cheney :
    By any name, are nothing more than liars & criminals.

    The Iraq war :
    By any name, is now a civil war

    Bush :
    By any name a spoiled ignorant dishonest bully and complete failure.

    GWB got where he’s at because of his dad’s name, money, position and connections. These are what got him:
    Into & out of the military with honorable discharge , into a college & out of it with a diploma and ending up as our appointed president. Yet, all the kings horses and all the kings men can NEVER undo the deadly & expensive damages that have been caused to America & Americans by this indulged, inept “I am the decider” president and his corrupt and greedy congress.

  9. Fred P

    November 28, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    @Ted-

    They couldn’t pardon each other; Article II section 2 of the constitution: “The President shall… have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”

    A super-majority is only needed for conviction, not impeachment (Article I, section 2 & 3). If the Vox Populi were angry enough, we could probably get that number.

  10. South Point Man

    November 28, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Bush and Cheney don’t necessarily have to be impeached. They can just be arrested for the actual crimes against the USA they have done. Arrested, charged, tried, convicted, and imprisoned.

    We don’t call it mainstream media anymore. We call it lamestream media.

    Do we believe Bush? Lips the Liar? Nope, nope, nope. These wackjob molech worshippers have done more harm to the USA in the past 6 years than all the other previous ordinary wackjobs combined.

    Just say “NO!!!” to the Bohemian Club and its subsidiaries. The slimey, insane abominations of evilness.

    Poor, poor area now known as Iraq… Once the “cradle of civilization” and now a cradle of rampant insanity and permanently poisoned with uranium dust. Iraq is now and forever a radioactive hell of cancer and birth deformities and heavy metal toxicity.

  11. suzanne oneill

    November 28, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    bush, cheney et al are drowning in the blood spilled in iraq and the tears shed all over the world because of this unending insanity. i don’t think we have the time to impeach bush and cheney, since we’ll have to spend the next two years trying to clean up the messes they’ve made all over the world, starting with our zero credibility; HOWEVER, the minute they are out of office (if we live that long!), criminal charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity should be filed against every single person in the bush administration. this should be done by the world court in the hague. there, we the people can try them as the world tried the nazis in nuremberg. when they are convicted (notice i did not say “if”), they should be sentenced to life at hard labor, something unfamiliar to most of them, i daresay. dick cheney should be sentenced to life on a missippi chain gang. “Move your big ass, cheney, or it’s back to the hot box!”

  12. Kent Shaw

    November 29, 2006 at 2:03 am

    Bottom line: Its time to dump a little tea in the harbor and break out the dry powder. Enough is enough.

  13. Ed Davis

    November 29, 2006 at 4:20 am

    Yes,I believe that there is now a civil war raging in Iraq.I have come to believe that this same civil war was caused by our current governmental administration,led by none other than the evil son of an equally evil member of the satanic order of the”Filthy Rich and Greedy Bastards that have nothing better to do than take over the world”(better known as Skull&Bones).Second in command is a person with the unique talents of being able to shoot somebody,avoid prosecution,have the victim apoligize publicly,all while procuring lucrative no-bid government contracts for his filthy rich pals.
    I also feel that personally,I have to be accountable for the crimes against humanity that my leaders have committed.I didn’t vote for these evil people that are now representing me,but I also didn’t speak loud enough,and I was intimidated by the status quo.I’m really sorry and I want to make amends. How about You?

  14. pondering_it_all

    November 29, 2006 at 4:26 am

    I guess the real situation in Iraq is just too complex for George W. Bush to grasp: Almost all the fighting, abduction, murder, etc. is between Shiite and secular Baathist Sunni groups. Neither of these are allies of Al Queda, a Sunni Islamist group. In fact, both of them are natural enemies of Al Queda! (Getting rid of Sadaam was Bin Ladan’s fondest dream.)

    But of course, that doesn’t fit in the “with us or against us” world-view of a small child.

    As a result of such over-simplifications, we have allied ourselves with anybody claiming to be “against terrorism”. So the Saudis are our best buddies, even though most of Al Queda’s money comes from them!

    Bush the second will be known as the FUBAR president…

  15. Kent Shaw

    November 29, 2006 at 5:28 am

    “So the Saudis are our best buddies, even though most of Al Queda’s money comes from them!”

    Yes, this would be the same Saudis who attacked us on 9/11/2001.

  16. dormouse

    November 29, 2006 at 10:14 am

    This civil war, or sectarian strife, or whatever you want to call it was supposed to be over in 2003. It is now 2006. The people in Iraq and America are ready for whatever this is to end. The soldiers should be, too. It’ll take as much bravery to end the war as it is to continue it.

  17. TRUTH 101

    November 29, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    TIMOTHY:

    I “Keep (as you say) beating my chest” for impeachment simply because it is a PROCESS by which we as Americans can FINALLY FOCUS…AND PARTICIPATE in this process, without the continous, distractions, diversions, et al which riddled this government for it’s full term in office whenever they needed to DIVERT attention.

    YES, you need 75% to convict and you’re correct, the votes are “probably” not there, but it would be a hell of a lot closer than the vote to cobvict WJC who simply couldn’t keep his pants on in the Oval Office (not by the way an impeachable offense in the first place.

    I DID NOT refer to Nancy Pelosi in any way as having done something so bad she could not be Speaker of the House, I don’t know where you got that. She has made minor mistakes already, IMO…nothing serious just maybe a no so smart choice in who she supports for this or that leadership role…seemingly not knowing that the red team will be all over every word she says before she is even sworn in. THIS is a concerted effort to make her out to be the big bad wolf of favoritism, before she is even officially in office. OLD TACTIC in DC

    Fox however has made damn sure it has been trotted out three times an hour and made it seem like some sort of capital crime.

    ANYONE that pays attention to ANYTHING most people on FOX say is are MORONS to start with.

    They, as I refer to them, the WWF Crowd, LOVES FOX. Sort of a Summer and Winter slam, The only one with an OUNCE of credibility seems to be Shepherd Smith and even he goes a little off sometimes, IMO.

    The rest are from the closet of Rupert Murdoch, talking heads, blond bimbos one who believes she is a “goddess” and mouthpieces that will say anything and do anything to secure their position on TV, 15 seconds of fame…and a paycheck.

    This is ONE THING so wrong with America. TRUTH on TV. Some Americans…far to many of them, see one of these talking head MORONS on FOX say something in front of the camera and because it’s on TV believe it’s true.

    I do like the suggestions offered by many above, but I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THEY should BE TALKING ABOUT THEM
    day in and day out. IMO because of the new Congress, assuming they in fact stand for REAL CHANGE not just more of the same under a different group, we COULD survive another two years of GWB since he can along with his cronies no longer ramrod anything and everything through as though it was pre-greased.

    He should be checked and slapped down at every turn necessary and no more of this unflinching loyalty.for political gain or favors later.

    THEN when both Cheney and Bush leave office at NOON on January 20th, 2009 at 12:01 unseal and indictment for BOTH for crimes against the United States, violation of BOTH their oaths of Office and put on the cuffs.

    People are essentially correct. After the 64 million dollar impeachment of WJC, the Impeachm,ent process probably is a JOKE. That in itself is a crime, never paid for.

  18. Sandy Price

    November 28, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Of course this is a civil war! If anyone thought about it, it would be the window by which we could remove our troops. But this is Bush’s war and we all should keep our hands off how and why it started and he will tell us when it is over.

    I can’t take the Hollywood celebrities and their mea culpa another day. I don’t give a damn what they do, say or even think.

    Imus calls this crap “The Scum Report” on his show and that is exactly what it is.

    We can’t do anything about the news reports being filtered through the White House, but we need a statesman to be in the White House. We have instead an emotional wreck.

  19. TRUTH 101

    November 28, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    Good Morning:

    ….and in ROUND TWO here from the RED Corner, came FOX (excuse me FAUX NEWS) swinging wildly at NBC about their clearly unthought out position, how dare they and all the usual adjectives…but we should have seen it coming.

    I did however find Newt (I’m running for President while being undeclared) Gingrich actually stating that the Bush (witrhout usung his name) current mess in Iraq is an abject FAILURE…to which hannity of course disagreed

    Fox and Hannity of course,who. IMO give real journalists a bad name, seems to want to go in a NUKE IRAN, Syria and anyone else who simply does not believe as they want them to believe.

    But NEWT, also made an excellent point without fixing any blame anywhere…although even a total moron well except possibly Hannity could figure it out.

    He said and I totally Agree that the USA has completely lost the respect (he used the word FEAR) of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbolla, Hamas et.al and he was 100% on the mark.

    Should the above FEAR the United States of America. I say no but they should respect the fact that it is not a country to get angry at you. Under BUSH 43. we have IMO become a laughing stock, mainly because everything the VP says is totally bogus and always incorrect and Bush smirks and grins through every prepared statement giving only words and no facts…EVER

    “We have a PLAN”

    Mr. Bush, What might that be?
    Oh, it’s Classified !!
    So classified even he doesn’t have access.

    This “meeting” between Bush and alMaliki in Jordan will be a first rate photo op that will go nowhere and say nothing.

    The reason is that NONE of the “players” will be attending PERIOD !!!

  20. Steve Horn

    November 28, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Does what we call the conflict really matter a damn? I mean Tony Snow can call the civil war his boss has created whatever the hell he wants to call it – that doesn’t change the reality of what it is – “sectarian strife”, “civil war”, “iraqi killing club” – doesn’t really matter.
    The point should be that George W. Bush is responsible for the destablization of the Middle East, he’s responsible for the invasion of Iraq and, as commander in chief (or, given his well documented miltiary service, should that be coward in chief?) he is directly responible for the whole mess – from Haliburton’s profiteering to the prisoner abuse at various locations in and out of country.
    But remember – Bush is “the decider” – so HE’LL decide when it’s a civil war.

    Peace

    Steve

  21. TRUTH 101

    November 28, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    Steve;

    WELL SAID !!! and unfortunately so very true. But here come the Democrats. ALL you said, all true, and then there is johnathan Turley, respected law scholar and Law professor who says Bush with JUST the NSA SPY SCANDAL has violated his OATH OF OFFICE more than 30 times. He LIES constantly YET…IMPEACHMET of George W. Bush is, according to Nancy Pelosi is OFF THE TABLE.

    this woman is not even officially in office yet and is headed for disaster. What has this nation become. The OATH says, you break the oath, you are impeached. There is NO WIGGLE ROOM..so somebody tell me what is going on here?

    ….OH, and don’t say it’s in the “spirit of healing and cooperation” that’s BS

  22. Frazier

    November 28, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Truth 101

    Impeaching Bush, as attractive as it sounds leaves us with Cheney as President, and that scares the hell out of me.

    Should Pelosi institute impeachment proceedings against both major liars(Bush and Cheney) she’ll be accused of doing so just to make herself the president, not a position she wants to be in politically. So, as always, it’s not about what’s good for the country, it’s all about what’s good politically.

    Options? A demand by the American people to their representatives that impeachment proceedings start forthwith, proceedings against both the president and the vp, this would allow Pelosi to pursue the process without the accusations

  23. Lynn Morrow

    November 28, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    If it’s not a Civil war, are the people killed any less dead?

  24. Michael

    November 28, 2006 at 4:27 pm

    I would suggest that there are at least two wars going on simultaneously in Iraq; the civil war between Shia and Sunnis, and the insurrection against American occupation. They may not be completely separable, but by acknowledging the complexity of the situation better tactics might be devised to ameliorate it.

  25. Isaiah jefferson

    November 28, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    This is more bull from the CORPORATE MEDIA.Once again the wrong questions are being asked.The #1 question Is, why is this country’s military in IRAQ.Who made this decision and why.This country is no longer a DEMOCRACY,but rather a secret military POLICE STATE.Everything is classified.Can’t answer any questions from the PEOPLE.

  26. Louis

    November 28, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    This is not about a definition this is about “Bush” and all those that continue to profit from the fiasco in Iraq. This country has two sick men (Bush and Cheney)in leadership postions who are elitist and care only for their group.They do not represent America. They cannot and will not tell the truth. It is about “oil” and not some lame excuse to democratize a country. Throw religion in the mix to help stir the pot and you have a civil war. We have young soldiers dying each day for this! The situation in Iraq is and has been a crime from the start.