"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bush, Iraqi Civil War, Sunni, Shiite, al Qaeda - Huh?

According to Stolberg and O'neil at the New York Times:

"President Bush today said Al Qaeda was to blame for the rising wave of sectarian violence in Iraq, which he refused to label a civil war."
REFUSED!!!! Do you here me? He refused to label it a civil war.

More from the NYT article:

"The president acknowledged that there were high levels of sectarian violence in Iraq, but he put the blame for the disorder squarely on Al Qaeda."

“There’s a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented, in my opinion, because of the attacks by Al Qaeda, causing people to seek reprisal,” Mr. Bush said, adding that he planned to work with Mr. Maliki “to defeat these elements.”

"Mr. Bush’s remarks are at odds with statements made in recent weeks both by American military commanders and by Mr. Maliki."
What's the news? Who are the experts from recent weeks? What does a civil war look like?

Of recent weeks statements/warnings I guess have been offered from:
"world leaders, including Jordan’s King Abdullah and Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, that the country is at the brink of civil war."
Ah, Kofi and his expertise have proved very accurate over the years, no?

Bush at odds with recent statements:

While American military and intelligence officials credit Al Qaeda’s attack on a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February with having sparked waves of sectarian violence, more recently the officials have consistently described a more complicated picture. Earlier this month, Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples of the Defense Intelligence Agency characterized the situation before Congress as an “ongoing, violent struggle for power.”

What is more "complicated" here? This is new that there is a "ongoing, violent struggle for power?

That assessment was more in line with Mr. Maliki’s declaration after the recent bombings that such attacks are “the reflection of political backgrounds” and that “the crisis is political.”

Maliki and "reflection(s) of political backgrounds....crisis is political." Is this the "more complicated picture?" Sunni's have hooked up with Al Qaeda; Shiites respond; Moqtada al sadr and followers....etc. They all want power, they're all political in nature this is nothing new. Who tracks who is doing what? Is it something someone tells someone and then passes it on? How often do we know whether this Sunni attack/Shiite response and vice versa is not Qaeda related?

I don't know the answer, but I want to know how others know it is the answer. So much is immediately taken as gospel (apologies to Allah) by the media and then becomes part of the muddying of the picture. Bush has an opinion as does everyone else, but if an opinion disagrees with Bush, then it is "correct" and Bush is wrong. We've gone through a lot of this over the past few years and overall adds to the lack of understanding on all sides.

I'm a bit foggy today, so apologies. I just want to understand how something is somehow different and that this is a new reality. Is it just because it is the opposite of what the president says/said? Who is that Iraqi civilian that killed Sunnis/Shiites in a mortar attack/reprisal for mortar attack? Who is anybody?
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