Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking in Dubai yesterday, labeled Iraq a Civil War and called on president Bush to quit debating the semantics of the violence on the ground there.
Yet it seems to me that there’s actually a good reason not to call what’s going on right now a Civil War. For the simple reason that it robs us of adequate language to describe a conflict that is orders of magnitude worse than what we’re currently witnessing. The conflict that Iraq is on a steep and rapid decent toward becoming.
Iraq is on fire. But the sparks we’re seeing are only from the fuse. The powder keg hasn’t burst yet…
A bit of news from yesterday: President Bush is going to let Rumsfeld stay on through the end of December as a personal gesture, letting him retire as the longest-serving SECDEF ever.
But given the way the the security situation is unravelling in Iraq presently, I’m honestly afraid we don’t have that long for a drastic change of course.
I worry, too, that by the time the Baker/Hamilton commission comes up with its recommedations for Iraq, that they’ll be immediately obselete, suited to an Iraq pre- [[insert pogrom, temple bombing, mass immolation, coordinated nationwide bus bombing, future atrocity of your worst imagining here]].
The time for bold leadership — which involves bringing all parties, the Saudis the Syrians the Iranians the Jordanians the Turks, NATO, Russia, everybody, to the table to hammer out a plan for partition or whatever has a half chance of working — is now.
Not next year, when Iraq’s Ka-Boom may well have been heard throughout the world.