Monday, November 27, 2006

Iraq Civil War Debate Dominates Mainstream Media Coverage

I turned on the television news a few minutes ago to see what the cable news networks were talking about today and from what I saw the big debate was about whether the War in Iraq had turned from a military conflict into a civil war. NBC News announced today that from now on they would refer to the Iraqi War as a civil war in their reporting of the conflict. The Bush Administration was quick to denounce this move by NBC News as they continue to claim that the conflict in Iraq is not a civil war by their definition. It is sad, to me, when major news organizations and the leader of the free world, President Bush, argue over the details of whether the War in Iraq has become a civil war or not. None of these, word games, being played by the media and the administration matter in the least to the over one hundred thousand US troops serving in Iraq right now.

Just like in any war, which drags on too long, both political party’s will choose up side and fight a war of their own, with words, and this latest “civil war” debate, going on today in Washington, is no different. US troops in Iraq don’t really care how this war is defined, they just care that it is being fought and their lives are being put at risk each day, without any end to the fighting in site. I personally believe the War in Iraq has been a civil war for over a year, but whether I believe that or not is beside the point. Our troops are in harms way in Iraq and we must find some way to stabilize that country and get our men and women home as soon as possible. No one, except maybe John Murtha, desires to “cut and run” from Iraq, but almost everyone believes the current strategy isn’t working and a better plan must be put into effect, soon.

Only in America will two powerful forces, the media on one side and the President of the United States on the other, allow their own egos to get in the way of the men and women who are dying in the streets of Baghdad right now. This discussing debate of what kind of war is being fought in Iraq right now will solve nothing and it is time for all people involved in the planning and reporting of this story to take a few steps back and look at the War in Iraq as an American conflict which must be won, in some small way, so our troops can come home. I am a long time viewer of NBC News and I watch Brian Williams’ telecast almost every night. I believe NBC does a good job in reporting the War in Iraq, but this latest decision to pre announce their changing of wording was a silly move just to get publicity for their own network.

From the point of view of any casual observer, the War in Iraq has been civil by nature ever since the two main Muslim factions in that country started killing each other in a wholesale fashion over one year ago. There is no real law and order in Iraq and when local residents cannot trust their own police force to do the right thing, then vigilante justice is bound to take over and once that happens a civil war is inevitable. From my limited knowledge of what is happening on the ground in Iraq, members of each faction have infiltrated the ranks of the Iraqi Army and local police with the goal of not keeping the peace, but settling scores against old enemies. How could anyone not refer to what is happening in Iraq as anything but a civil war?

President Bush has been wrong in every leadership decision he has made in Iraq since “Mission Accomplished” was declared after the Saddam government fell. I like President Bush, but he does not know how to build a country and if he would have stuck to traditional Republican values of not trying to use US military power in “nation building”, the US would not be in this quagmire right now. However, now that President Bush has put his entire legacy into the outcome of the Iraqi War, there is no way he is ever going to back down and admit he was wrong about going to war in Iraq in the first place and he also will never admit that what is happening right now in Iraq is truly a civil war situation. Even strong supporters of President Bush know, down deep inside, that Iraq is a mess and that mess started when the US decided to impose its will on another country.

When will leaders in the United States learn the lessons of history when it comes to trying to build nations in our own image? The United States is a world leader because other nations look upon our country as the land of opportunity and they wish to copy our success. However, no other country desires to be invaded and have those ideas and principles imposed on them at the butt of a gun. The US always looks better in the eyes of the world when we lead by example rather than using our military to impose political will on another nation. Unfortunately, the history of the George W. Bush presidency could be written in a way that says he started a civil war, where none existed before his decision to invade. Any time a group of individuals or politicians believe that they are wiser than the folks of a nation whom they wish to invade, all hell usually break loose in the end and just like in Iraq, a civil war is always possible when war is started with the wrong purpose and poor planning of how military forces will be received in the invaded country.

NBC New should have just changed their language without pre announcing their plans on television this morning. By making an announcement ahead of time, they appear to be more publicity hounds than a group of professional reports that are trying to do the right thing. Today’s, civil war, announcement by NBC News will not save the life of any American soldier nor will it bring this conflict to an end any sooner. It is time for media pundits and politicians to stop fighting over words like, “civil war” and get their focus back on finding a way to end this bloodshed in Iraq. I will continue to watch Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News because that network does a good job at reporting. I just wish they would not have pre announced their “civil war” decision on the “Today Show” this morning like some type of public service announcement.

Related: Stuck In Iraq, Bush Poll Numbers, Troops Remain Positive

Civil War Debate

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