Saturday, March 25, 2006

Civil War or no, Prof?

Obviously, Prof. Cole is a great deal more learned than I on matters Middle Eastern, and has provided some interesting, if pessimistic analysis of our adventure in Iraq, but I think there's a contradiction in what he's been writing recently and what he'd written as recently as three months ago.

Cole on March 25, 2006:

Year Four of Iraq Civil War: 51 Killed

Cole on December 27 2005:

[MYTH] 8. Iraq is already in a civil war, so it does not matter if the US simply withdraws precipitately, since the situation is as bad as it can get. No, it isn't. During the course of the guerrilla war, the daily number of dead has fluctuated, between about 20 and about 60. But in a real civil war, it could easily be 10 times that. Some estimates of the number of Afghans killed during their long set of civil wars put the number at 2.5 million, along with 5 million displaced abroad and more millions displaced internally. Iraq is Malibu Beach compared to Afghanistan in its darkest hours. The US has a responsibility to get out of Iraq responsibly and to not allow it to fall into that kind of genocidal civil conflict.

So...The country wasn't in the midst of a civil war in December, but now, only three months later, is indeed in the midst of a civil war and has been so for the past three-plus years. Uh, perhaps a word of explanation is in order?

Let me just add that I have no clue as to whether Iraq is in a "civil war" a "low-grade civil war" a "deepening cycle of sectarian violence" or some other such designation. I'm just sitting here in America reading what I can. Still, it would be interesting to get the Professor's take on why he's changed his mind, and retroactively declared the last three-plus years a "civil war."

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:40 AM

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