The linked blog post, as useless as it is, points to an interesting article that splits the definition of civil war into (overly specific? arbitrary?) components and finds that what is happening in Iraq right now is not technically a civil war. I am not a military historian and won’t pick apart the article, if anyone wants to, please feel free. I have some issues with the arbitariness of some of the stipulations, but that is not what I’m really interested in, and I’m not really qualified to comment on anyway. Two things about this terse little post and the article do interest me, however.
First, if Iraq is not in a civil war, what the hell is it?
And two, why is it important what it is called? Is this merely a semantic argument, or is there more at stake? Is it because civil war sounds nastier than insurgency? Is it because of how the terms play in the media? Is it because Iyad Allawi has said it is a civil war? If not a civil war now, might it soon be?
Is this another case of the optimism of the right – “oh, I reallyreallyreally hope it’s not going to be a civil war.”
The poster, whose blog is linked through the Blogging Tories, didn’t explain why the article was important to him/her, and I have to wonder. Their only comment is “This is a great read for those who think Iraq is in the (sic) state of civil war”, which doesn’t say much, but implies its importance. Like “ha, I’ve won the argument and here’s proof”.
Okay, I’ll bite – what’s your point?