Military experts who are not members of the Bush Assministration agree – it’s a civil war.
“We’re in a civil war now; it’s just that not everybody’s joined in,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina. “The failure to understand that the civil war is already taking place, just not necessarily at the maximum level, means that our counter measures are inadequate and therefore dangerous to our long-term interest.
“It’s our failure to understand reality that has caused us to be late throughout this experience of the last three years in Iraq,” added Nash, who is an ABC News consultant.
Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told ABC News, “If you talk to U.S. intelligence officers and military people privately, they’d say we’ve been involved in low level civil war with very slowly increasing intensity since the transfer of power in June 2004.”
Since the elections last year, Cordesman says, more radical Islamist insurgents have made “a more dedicated strike at the fault lines between Shiites and Sunnis.” And they have succeeded.
Nash told ABC News, “The vast majority of the personnel in the army come from the Shiite and the Kurd population. And what we need to understand is that a political settlement — not brokered, but insisted upon by the U.S. — that gives equitable treatment to all factions is what we need.”
Cordesman, who is also an ABC News consultant, noted that when military leaders speak publicly, “They have to spin the issue — particularly for American and European audiences — and there’s often a rather serious lack of realism.”