March 21, 2006
A Glass Half Full?

I'm quite chary of believing in any completely positive report on Iraq. I've read far too many accounts of reporters seeing the debacle in Vietnam and reporting all was wine and roses for that. However, I'm likewise very suspicious of current media declarations of civil war. I've watched them get far easier things completely wrong simply to push an agenda for that. That's why I think this Belmont Club piece is of interest. What spin there is seems to be well-cited, and definitely contains more depth than most:

The principle in determining truth should be to apply the factual indicator test. A civil war is a visible event whose indicators includes the insubordination of armed units, mass refugee flows, the rise of rival governments, etc. The test is whether those events are being observed.
Instead of insurgency the talking points have changed to how Sunnis might soon become victims of an ethnically hostile Iraqi army in a Civil War. Going from a boast of conquest to a portrayal of victim is usually an indicator of something. In my view, the shift of meme from the "insurgency" to a "civil war" is a backhanded way of admitting the military defeat of the insurgency without abandoning the characterization of Iraq is an American fiasco. It was Zarqawi and his cohorts themselves who changed the terms of reference from fighting US forces to sparking a 'civil war'. With any luck, they'll lose that campaign too.

Read the whole thing before you chalk it all up to my slavish dedication to my neo-con causes.

Posted by scott at March 21, 2006 11:33 AM

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