In any event, a major media outlet, NBC has begun to use the term to describe Bush's debacle in Iraq.
President Bush is now in the midst of an overseas trip that will take him later this week a meeting in Jordan with Iraq's prime minister. But behind in Washington, D.C., the nation's Capitol is now gripped by a ferocious debate over the term "civil war."If it walks like a duck.
Today, as Air Force One was halfway over the Atlantic Ocean, a White House spokesman protested a decision by several American news organizations, including NBC News, to call the violence in Iraq a civil war.
This morning, on the Today Show, Matt Lauer said, "NBC News has decided a change in terminology is warranted -- that the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas -- can now be characterized as a civil war."And quacks like a duck.
Bush administration officials fear that when most Americans hear the term civil war, they associate it with out own war between the states 140 years ago. That was a conflict between the Union North and the Confederate South that produced 650,000 casualties, or one out of every 50 Americans at the time. To this day, the U.S. Civil War remains a force in America's historical identity and psyche.
However, the U.N. reported last week that an average of 120 Iraqi civilians are getting killed every day. This weekend, the violence in Baghdad claimed the lives of 215 people in one day. Several experts say Iraq reached civil war status months ago.It's probably a duck.
But leave it to the administration that "makes it's own reality" to describe it otherwise.
This fall, press secretary Tony Snow declared Iraq does not qualify as a civil war because the violence is different. "You do have a lot of different forces that are trying to put pressure on the government and trying to undermine it,” Snow said. “But it's not clear that they are operating as a unified force."Here's the transcript from Whitehouse.gov. The press briefing was from October.
Q Tony, a couple of minutes ago, you said one of the goals in Iraq is to prevent civil war. Can you take a minute and give us the definition that the President is working with? Because he continues to say it's not at that state yet; lots of analysts do say it's at that state. What's the threshold that the administration is working with --So to the worse administration ever, unless the situation on the ground more or less matches the American Civil War (known to our southern friends as "The War Between the States), it ain't the walking quacking duck that everyone else sees.
MR. SNOW: I think the general notion is a civil war is when you have people who use the American Civil War or other civil wars as an example, where people break up into clearly identifiable feuding sides clashing for supremacy within Iran.
Q And there's nothing on the ground that the President is looking at that he thinks is a prospect --
MR. SNOW: At this point, you do have a lot of different forces that are trying to put pressure on the government and trying to undermine it. But it's not clear that they are operating as a unified force. You don't have a clearly identifiable leader. And so in this particular case, no.
What you do have is a number of different groups -- you know, they've been described in some cases as rejectionists, in others as terrorists. In many cases, they are not groups that would naturally get along, either, but they severally and together pose a threat to the government.
And why would this be?
Bush administration officials fear that when most Americans hear the term civil war, they associate it with out own war between the states 140 years ago. That was a conflict between the Union North and the Confederate South that produced 650,000 casualties, or one out of every 50 Americans at the time. To this day, the U.S. Civil War remains a force in America's historical identity and psyche.And that would further undermine support for Bush's war. Further undermine?
And let's remember that Iraq's population (according to the CIA Factbook) was estimated at 26,783,383 . So we're talking that the population of that country is a little less than one-tenth of the US.
So to imagine the same numbers here, on average at least 1200 people would have to be dying per day. Imagine if 2150 died in violence in NYC or Washington DC on one day this weekend.
No of course it's not civil war - because according to Tony Snow, there isn't a "clearly identifiable leader" on the otherside.
And the funny thing? Since we are the occupiers of that country, we're responsibile for the security of that country.
Another Bush failure.