The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mission Creep

As the White House continues to assert that things are just peachy in Iraq, and right-wing pundits assert that it's only a 'civil war' of people are dying by the tens of thousands, the situation continues to deteriorate in Iraq.

And I'd like to point out an excellent article from The New Republic that's all about defining civil war-- and it will chill your bones. Some of the author's bullet points:

A Hollow State: Civil wars engulf hollow states, with shallow legitimacy and weak coercive and administrative capacity.

Political Polarization: When there are parties and elections in the mix, civil wars are preceded by deepening polarization. Voters rally around their ethnic solidarities, and parties that try to transcend them are crushed.

Human Rights Abuses and Ethnic Cleansing: As countries slide toward civil war, the ethnic other is demeaned as less worthy, less moral, and even less human. Once this psychological and moral descent has occurred, gross abuses of human rights follow. By the fall of 2005, accounts were accumulating of several hundred targeted assassinations and disappearances of Sunni Arabs. Often, their horribly abused bodies would be discovered in fields some days later.

But as leftie talker Mike Malloy pointed out to me on his show last week, wonky analysis doesn't get the job done. Unfortunately, neither does this administration's unwillingness to face reality. And if we couldn't secure a nation already in the iron grip of a totalitarian ruler, we sure as hell can't secure a lawless land of brutal militias and guerilla fighters.