Iraq 'Civil War'
First off...I want to apologize for not answering the comments left here and for not making my usual rounds of the blogsphere.
Unfortunately I am fighting an infection that has laid me up the last two days. I hope to be feeling much better by this weekend.
NBC News made a dramatic announcement yesterday: Effective immediately, it will call the sectarian conflict in Iraq a civil war. And that's the way it is, as a rival network once upon a time might have put it.
"Today" Show host Matt Lauer - last heard from describing the progress of Scooby-Doo and SpongeBob SquarePants down Broadway during Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - said his network gave "careful thought and consideration" to its decision. No doubt.
But that doesn't mean that what's happening in Iraq - as disturbing as it is - rises to the level of civil war.
As the White House noted in disputing NBC's decision, the increasing violence in Iraq is avicious but localized, largely centered around Baghdad - hardly a nationwide civil war.
What's the difference, you might ask; isn't this just a word game?
As radio host Don Imus suggested, NBC seems to be striving for a Walter Cronkite moment - a single broadcast decision that produces a major impact on public opinion about a long and difficult war, just as Cronkite did during Vietnam.
And that, of course, is the whole point.
Once Iraq becomes, in the public mind, a civil war between opposing factions competing for political power - and not a case of a terrorist insurgency aimed ultimately at Western civilization - the sentiment for a hasty withdrawal grows.
As does NBC's perceived power.
Which almost certainly is why NBC made its announcement yesterday.
But wishing doesn't make it so. And misrepresenting the situation in Iraq in hopes of ending the U.S. commitment there - and enhancing one's status at home - won't mitigate the disaster if this country abandons its mission.
Something for Matt Lauer to consider - if he can drag himself away from his next one-on-one with Ol' SpongeBob.