Sunday, February 26, 2006

Baghdad burning

It seems to be quickly becoming conventional wisdom, to the chagrin of the administration, that the current violence in Iraq underlies the collapse of Iraqi unity and the final, inexorable descent into civil war. Even William F. Buckley, a titan and founding douchebag of the conservative movement, proclaimed yesterday in the National Review that America has officially failed in Iraq:
[Bush] will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.
They all may well be right, and I think a perfectly reasonable question right now is "in what way exactly has Iraq not already been in the grips of civil war for months?" Furthermore, the claim of conventional wisdom is bolstered by the simple fact that violence has an uncanny knack for perpetuating itself, as we have seen from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the Troubles in Northern Ireland, or American gang violence.

That being said, if the current situation is not yet civil war, then I don't want to jump to the conclusion that civil war's beginning just yet. My hesitation exists despite what logic dictates, and may stem purely from misguided hope, but nonetheless it exists. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail. For once.

As a side note, Juan Cole, professor of history at UMichigan, has an excellect blog on the subject of terrorism and the Middle East. Unlike reporters, pundits, and most bloggers, he actually knows this subject well (I assume it's his academic specialty).

No comments: