"We're clearly in a new phase, characterised by this increasing sectarian violence that requires us obviously to adapt to that new phase and these two leaders need to be talking about how to do that," Stephen Hadley, White House national security adviser, told reportersThe remainder of the national media are staking out positions somewhere between Hadley's reassuring "new phase" and CBS's scary "civil war".
Well, I think one of the reasons the President resists that label is because it equates almost with a failure of U.S. policy. I will say for the Washington Post, we have not labeled it a civil war. I have asked around to see why not or see what’s the thinking on that -- and really our reporters have not filed that. We try to avoid the labels, particularly when the elected government itself does not call its situation a civil war. I certainly — and I would agree with General McCaffrey on this — absolutely the level of violence equals a civil war."
"We expect to use the phrase sparingly and carefully, not to the exclusion of other formulations, not for dramatic effect. The main shortcoming of "civil war" is that, like other labels, it fails to capture the complexity of what is happening on the ground. The war in Iraq is, in addition to being a civil war, an occupation, a Baathist insurgency, a sectarian conflict, a front in a war against terrorists, a scene of criminal gangsterism and a cycle of vengeance. We believe 'civil war' should not become reductionist shorthand for a war that is colossally complicated."Notice how politely, among their seven other things the war might be, they do include the one the Bush administration favors, along with six other things that a lot of people would call civil war, and, they also call it a civil war. The technical term for this approach, by the way, is persiflage.
My greatest fear is that this Republican loss will be seen by our adversaries as a great victory.And from Jonah Goldberg, these brave, if insane, words:
How Bush Should Handle Loss [Jonah Goldberg]OK, OK, it wasn't a victory, but please don't hit me with that bloody bearskin.
I think James Baker and Dick Cheney should take Bush out to the woods around Camp David. After 24 hours in a sweat lodge, he should be given only a loin cloth, a hunting knife and a canteen of water. Bush should then set out to track and kill a black bear, after which he should eat its still beating heart so he can absorb its spirit. He should then fly back to Washington in Marine 1. His torso still scratched from the bear's claws, his face bloodied and steaming in the November chill, he should immediately give a press conference at which he throws the bearskin on the front row of the press corps, completely enveloping Helen Thomas, declaring, "I'm not going anywhere."
This will send important messages to Democrats and well as to our enemies overseas, who are no doubt high-fiving as we speak.
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