Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I can't think of any single person (other than the president) in more dire need of having his ass fired, and then a long, long rest in a facility where his movements are...constrained, than Don Rumsfeld. His press conferences, even more than the president's, have taken on a pure Alice in Wonderland quality, where one gets the distinct sense that this man, who just happens to control our military, is simply unmoored from anything as quaint as reality.

In a press conference chock full of hallucinogenic flights of fancy, I enjoyed this bit of sunny optimism/dissembling:
Iraqi security forces control the battle space currently for about 60 percent of Baghdad, including areas such as Haifa Street, Sadr City and the airport road.

Yes, bad enough that only 60 percent of Baghdad is under control three years after the invasion. Much, much worse when you consider that Iraqi security forces are deeply infilitrated by Shi'a militiamen, many of whom are effectively under the command of Moqtada al Sadr.

As for Rumsfeld's (and the entire administration water brigade's) insistence that there is no civil war in Iraq, one is forced to ask: What is your definition of a civil war?

You know, it's a good question, and we have been trying to look for a way to characterize what are the ingredients of a civil war, and how would you know if there was one, and what would it look like, and what might be its progression, either up to increased violence or down to less violence. And it's a hard thing to do, and people are analyzing that and thinking about it. And I think until I've had a chance to think more about it and -- I will say, I don't think it'll look like the United States' civil war.

So, basically it comes down to the fact that the insurgents haven't yet designed their own flag. Also, we don't know yet who gets to wear blue and who gets to wear gray.

civil war
A war between factions or regions of the same country

Of course, it's well known that the people who designed the English language hate America, love tyranny, and want the president to fail. So such obviously partisan definitions can be dismissed out of hand while a new definition is cooked up which won't add to the mountainous buffet of evidence of Donald Rumsfeld's criminal incompetence.

I attended a talk by Anthony Shadid a few weeks ago, he suggested that a civil war had begun over a year ago. Given that Shadid a) has spent a great amount of time in Iraq before, during, and after the invasion, b) speaks fluent Arabic, and c) doesn't have a history of bald-faced lying, I'm inclined to go with his assessment. Rumsfeld is right, though. Iraq's civil war won't look like the United States' civil war. It will look more like Lebanon's, where there aren't two sides, there are five. Or more.

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