Custom Search

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Army Maj. Gen. Explains Civil War

For those that do not bother learning history or the actual "meaning" of civil war and the criteria needed to actually name a conflict a civil war,
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell of the Army explains it in terms that even the mentally challenged should be able to grasp.

BAGHDAD -- I don't see a civil war in Iraq. I don't see a constituency for civil war. The vast majority of the people want hope for their families, not to massacre their neighbors or divide their country. A poll conducted in June by the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan group that promotes democracy, found 89 percent of Iraqis supporting a unity government representing all sects and ethnic communities. No wonder no "rebel army" steps forward to claim credit for vicious car bombs and cowardly executions of civilians.

I see debates among Iraqis -- often angry and sometimes divisive -- but arguments characteristic of political discourse, not political breakdown. The Council of Representatives meets here in Baghdad as the sole legitimate sovereign representative of the people, 12 million of whom braved bombs and threats last December to vote. No party has seceded or claimed independent territory.

I see a representative government exercising control over the sole legitimate armed authority in Iraq, the Iraqi Security Force. After decades in which the armed services were tools of oppression, Iraq is taking time to build an army and national police force loyal to all. There have been setbacks, but also great successes. In Fallujah, a city almost lost two years ago, I have seen the cooperation between the local army commander, a Shiite, and the police chief, a Sunni.

I don't see terrorist and criminal elements mounting campaigns for territory. Al-Qaeda in Iraq doesn't use roadside bombs, suicidal mass murderers and rocket barrages to gain and hold ground. Extremist Shiite death squads don't shoot people in the back of the head to further their control of the government. I do see random executions seeking to instill fear and insecurity. I don't see a struggle between armies and aligned political parties competing to rule.

I studied civil wars at West Point and at the Army Command and Staff College. I respect the credentials and opinions of those who want to hang that label here. But I respectfully -- and strongly -- disagree. I see the Iraqi people suffering from overlapping terrorist campaigns by extremist groups combined with the mass criminality that too often accompanies the sudden toppling of a dictatorship. This poses a different military challenge than does a civil war.

As the Iraqi people labor to build a country based on human rights and respect for all citizens, they are moving from the law of the gun to the rule of law. Violence will increase before life gets better. Those who know that freedom and democracy offer more hope than anarchy will not give up.

Regardless of what academics and pundits decide to label this conflict, hundreds of thousands of brave Iraqi soldiers, police officers and civil servants will continue to go to work building a free, prosperous and united Iraq. And every day more than 137,000 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen will lace up their boots, strap on their body armor and drive ahead with our mission to support these courageous Iraqis.

He makes it clear in a simple manner. The poll he refers to has some other interesting data that I haven't seen posted much around the internet and definitely not in the mainstream media. It doesn't have the headline factor that most news outlets seem to thrive on.

This was released back in July 2006.

A new poll released by the International Republican Institute (IRI) found Iraqis strongly oppose the idea of segregating the country. Seventy-eight percent strongly disagree or disagree with the idea of segregating Iraqis according to religious or ethnic sects. An overwhelming majority, 89 percent, believe that a unity government is extremely important to Iraq's future.

Iraqis also indicated support for Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and the new government. Fifty-five percent approve of the way Prime Minister Al-Maliki is handling his job and 58 percent of Iraqis indicated they are very confident or somewhat confident in the new government compared to 27 percent who are somewhat unconfident or not confident. With this new government in place, 41 percent of Iraqis now feel the country is on the right track, compared to 30 percent in the last IRI poll (Survey of Iraqi Public Opinion, March 23 - 31, 2006).

Security, infrastructure and economic development are the most pressing issues facing the country according to respondents. As the new government begins its work, 51 percent of Iraqis feel security should be the highest priority for the new government, 33 percent listed it as the second and third priority. Twenty-three percent responded that improving Iraq's infrastructure should be the highest priority, with 48 percent listing it second and third. Only seven percent of Iraqis listed economic development as the highest priority, however, 47 percent listed it as the second and third priority.

More than 2,800 face-to-face interviews were conducted from June 14-24, 2006. Interviews were conducted in all of Iraq's 18 governorates. The margin of error is plus or minus three percent. The new poll is attached and can be found at

Link to current poll:

Survey of Iraqi Public Opinion, June 14 - 24, 2006

It seems the Iraqi's and our military that are IN Iraq are seeing things that our media does not deem fit or newsworthy enough to tell the American people. Ever ask yourself why?

After decades of repressive, tyrannical rule, Iraqis face the challenge of building a functioning democracy that respects the rule-of-law and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. Over the past three years, the citizens of Iraq have made remarkable strides towards the establishment of a rare democracy in the Arab world. In particular, the three votes that took place in 2005, one constitutional referendum and two parliamentary elections, proved that despite considerable adversity, Iraqis are invested in their new democracy. Less publicized, but perhaps equally crucial, has been the blossoming of a vibrant civil society, populated by political parties, women's groups, human rights groups, and many other types of civic organizations.

The focus now rests on translating this popular support into the establishment of stable and effective democratic institutions. The consolidation and expansion of these gains requires the input and active participation of Iraq's citizens and their representatives in government. IRI is working with thousands of dedicated Iraqis in the governmental, political, and NGO sectors who have bravely committed themselves to a brighter future.

Others discussing:
Prairie Pundit.
Blue Crab Boulevard.