Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's all relative

National Review's Rich Lowry --

By the way, I take issue with his [Ralph Peters] contention earlier in the column that Iraq wasn't in a civil war. Of course it was. By any reasonable standard, that level of sectarian violence and cleansing constitutes a civil war

Rich Lowry on the actual Iraqi civil war --

[Nov 2006] Just a quick note on this semantic brouhaha. It seems obvious that there is a kind of civil war in Iraq, even if it is not a replica of our civil war or (yet?) as violent as some others. So I don't think it's necessarily out-of-bounds for the media to use the phrase (although even some MSM types see an agenda in the big NBC announcement). On the other hand, it is understandable that the U.S. and Iraqi governments want to parse the phrase very closely and avoid it all costs, for fear of the effects it might have on the ground and here in the U.S.

So, what happened? How does the now obvious fact that Iraq was in a civil war in 2006 relate to Lowry's view in 2006 that this was mere semantics, albeit semantics that the Iraqi and US governments were justified in wanting to avoid?

Because, in 2006, it was politically damaging for George W. Bush for it to be said that Iraq was in a civil war. Completely off-message with the demands for "good news from Iraq."

One wonders what contemporary issues might be getting the same treatment from Lowry, in the opposite direction since it's a different President now.

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