November 29, 2006

Civil Stupidity

The Boston Herald editorial staff asks a piercing and insightful question about the discovery of Iraq's civil war by the American press, emphasis in first paragraph mine:

... The CIA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, insists “the Iranian hand is stoking violence” in Iraq. Does that fit the classic definition of a “civil war”?

But words, especially those used by the major media, have consequences. After all, if this is merely a civil war, then it’s natural to ask what American troops are doing in the middle of it.

With its announcement NBC stepped out of the role of being an objective reporter of the news and into the role of overtly trying to shape the news. This isn’t Vietnam. If only it were that simple. And in trying to make it so, NBC does its viewers a grave disservice.

There are two options here: Either the pH of this editorial's idiocy approaches 1, or the Boston Herald editorial staff have discovered a definition of civil war that excludes the majority of the internecine conflicts raging in the world today.

By their definition, which excludes as 'classic' civil wars any conflict in which a foreign power is backing one of the sides ... Sudan must be excluded from being called a civil war because the Arab militias and the government are getting aid variously from China and other Arab nations to commit genocide against the people of Darfur. Sri Lanka must be excluded because the government is getting foreign aid from the US and other nations to continue their fight against the Tamil rebels. The fighting in Nepal must be excluded from the definition because China is backing the communist rebels. The Nicaraguan conflict can't be regarded as a civil war because the US was funding the Contras against the Sandinistas. Iraq would by definition have been excluded long ago because the US is funding and supporting their current government, which counts as foreign involvement unless Iraq has become a 51st state without anyone having been notified.

Finally, the Vietnam war cited by the editors at the end of their piece has to be left out of the civil war club because the Soviets and China were funding the Viet Cong, while the government was being supported by the US.

So maybe they should have handed this one over to the copy room staff. Someone who hasn't been mainlining the Beltway KoolAid might have spotted this egregious logical error before they demonstrated their objective density.

Posted by natasha at November 29, 2006 03:14 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |

You make many good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armements”

The Pentagon is a giant,incredibly complex establishment,budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Adminisitrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the Sec. Def. to be - Mr. Gates- understand such complexity, particulary if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefor he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is ablsolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen unitil it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagon instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

Posted by: Ken Larson at November 29, 2006 05:16 PM

okay ....

British Airways to Contact Passengers After Traces of Radiation Found on Planes

Posted by: wdfcwd at November 29, 2006 07:37 PM

this is ....

British Airways to Contact Passengers After Traces of Radiation Found on Planes

Posted by: qdqd at November 29, 2006 07:41 PM

Ah....Didn't the British support the Confederacy?
Then our CIVIL WAR doesn't fit the definition then either, does it?

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