After the golden dome blast in Iraq back on February 23rd, the media focused on rising violence in Iraq and speculated on whether or not a full-fledged civil war was taking place in Iraq. Ralph Peters, writing in the New York post today, tries to answer that question:
I’m trying. I’ve been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I’m looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can’t find it.
Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view’s clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn’t give me the right skills.
And riding around with the U.S. Army, looking at things first-hand, is certainly a technique to which The New York Times wouldn’t stoop in such an hour of crisis.
Let me tell you what I saw anyway. Rolling with the “instant Infantry” gunners of the 1st Platoon of Bravo Battery, 4-320 Field Artillery, I saw children and teenagers in a Shia slum jumping up and down and cheering our troops as they drove by. Cheering our troops.
All day – and it was a long day – we drove through Shia and Sunni neighborhoods. Everywhere, the reception was warm. No violence. None.
And no hostility toward our troops. Iraqis went out of their way to tell us we were welcome.
Instead of a civil war, something very different happened because of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. The fanatic attempt to stir up Sunni-vs.-Shia strife, and the subsequent spate of violent attacks, caused popular support for the U.S. presence to spike upward.
Make sure to read the whole thing. Is the media trumping up the charges of a vast ‘civil war’ in Iraq?
General George Casey via teleconference in Iraq has said essentially the same thing as Peters – that there is no ‘civil war’ in Iraq. Unfortunately, as Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette writes, there is a disconnect between what General Casey asserted and how the media are reporting his comments. Surprise surprise.