Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

U.S. Marine Lt. Jeffrey Goodman and Lcpl. Jorge Sanchez drag a wounded civilian away from his burning vehicle after he was caught in the middle of an ambush in Al Aziziyah.

Image: source.

This morning on NBC’s Today Show, Matt Lauer started his coverage with “Good Morning. Civil War. A bloody morning of sectarian clashes in Iraq and no sign that it’s letting up.”

The mainstream media (MSM) has made premature predictions before, but does the Iraq situation present a stronger case for civil war than some of the other MSM bungles? Lauer interviewed retired General Barry McCaffrey who also claims that Iraq is indeed in a civil war.

“I have been calling it a civil war, a low-grade conflict, for 18 months,” said McCaffrey. “Now it’s on the verge of spinning out of control.”

Lauer defined a civil as involving ‘at least two clearly-defined and unified groups,’ … ‘groups using violence as a means to gain political supremacy’ [and as having] a government in place that is unable to protect the Sunnis and Shia from each other but innocent civilians civilians as well’. “Any of that bother you in terms of the criteria?”

“No, not at all.” replied McCaffrey. “It’s a fight for power and therefore survival in the world [that] the Iraqis expect to encounter after we [the Americans] withdraw, which they now expect to happen in the next year or so.”

McCaffrey continued; “Thousands are being killed each month. And it’s a struggle without question between two factions — in this case Shia and Kurds [sic, Sunni?] — who have separate political agendas.”

“What about that idea, General, that the violence is primarily centered in Baghdad, that the country hasn’t erupted into all-out civil war?”asked Lauer.

“I think [that’s] a lot of that is nonsense,” countered McCaffrey “Baghdad is 25 percent of the population of the country. It’s the central battlefield.”


You be the judge.



  1. #1 Richard
    November 27, 2006

    It meets all definitions of civil war used in conflict studies and International Relations. The only reason the term is not being used much in the MSM is its obvious domestic political ramifications. With over 600,000 people dead from violence, it has passed far beyond “low-grade”.

  2. #2 llewelly
    November 27, 2006

    With over 600,000 people dead from violence, it has passed far beyond “low-grade”.

    How about ‘high octane’?

New comments have been disabled.