Friday, March 24, 2006

Krauthammer puts the "Iraq becoming a civil war" meme into context

It is really the profundity of a simple truth, and Charles Krauthammer says it so clearly and succinctly.

This whole debate about civil war is surreal. What is the insurgency if not a war supported by one (minority) part of Iraqi society fighting to prevent the birth of the new Iraqi state supported by another (majority) part of Iraqi society?

By definition that is civil war, and there's nothing new about it. As I noted here in November 2004: "People keep warning about the danger of civil war. This is absurd. There already is a civil war. It is raging before our eyes. Problem is, only one side" -- the Sunni insurgency -- "is fighting it."

Indeed, until very recently that has been the case: ex-Baathist insurgents (aided by the foreign jihadists) fighting on one side, with the United States fighting back in defense of a new Iraq dominated by Shiites and Kurds.

Now all of a sudden everyone is shocked to find Iraqis going after Iraqis. But is it not our entire counterinsurgency strategy to get Iraqis who believe in the new Iraq to fight Iraqis who want to restore Baathism or impose Taliban-like rule? Does not everyone who wishes us well support the strategy of standing up the Iraqis so we can stand down? And does that not mean getting the Iraqis to fight the civil war themselves?

Hence the gradual transfer of war-making responsibility. Hence the decline of American casualties. Hence the rise of Iraqi casualties.

It's true. Isn't this the point we've been trying to get Iraq as a country to? A point where we can hand over more control over to the Iraqis themselves? As that handover slowly progresses, that doesn't mean the fighting will cease, it just means different parties will be doing the fighting as the Iraqi military takes the place of coalition troops against the insurgency. And God bless them for it.