Monday, November 27, 2006


Kudos to NBC News and MSNBC (the same organ) for embracing reality by calling a duck a duck today. They are to date the only news organization to stand up and tell their viewers that the nightmare in Iraq is exactly what the general public has thought it is for some time now; namely a civil war.

The news from Iraq is becoming grimmer every day. Over the long holiday weekend bombings killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad. And six Sunni men were doused with kerosene and burned alive. Shiite muslims are the majority, but Sunnis like Saddam Hussein ruled that country until the war. Now, the battle between Shiites and Sunnis has created a civil war in Iraq. Beginning this morning, MSNBC will refer to the fighting in Iraq as a civil war — a phrase the White House continues to resist. But after careful thought, MSNBC and NBC News decided over the weekend, the terminology is appropriate, as armed militarized factions fight for their own political agendas.

The other news organizations however insist on doing verbal calisthenics when speaking of the Iraq civil war. It's almost funny the iterations the news organizations come up with, including the regular "sectarian violence," "snowballing sectarian violence," "sectarian slaughter," "widening sectarian war," and "sectarian strife". Then there are some other outlets who continue to claim that while there's not a civil war going on in Iraq, one could certainly be on the way like the Washington Post's "... closer to full-blown civil war...," and the Chicago Tribune's "... the prospect of civil war in Iraq festers...".

So instead of nutting up and calling a spade a spade, the majority of television and print media continue to toe the White House line and come up with new and clever ways to describe the CIVIL WAR that rages in Iraq. We as a nation cannot address the problem if the problem itself cannot be properly identified. Just because Bush cannot come to grips with the hell on earth he has unleashed (in the name of WMDs or spreading democracy or freeing the Iraqis from Saddam or whatever reason of the week Bush is using to justify this folly) doesn't mean the American people are incapable of embracing this awful reality.

UPDATE: A writer with the Washington Post explains why they do not label the ongoing and worsening sectarian violence in Iraq a civil war - because the leaders in Iraq do not call it a civil war. As Think Progress notes, "Government officials in Iraq have a direct interest in avoiding the characterization of violence there as a civil war. The Washington Post’s job is not to act as stenographers for officials in positions of power, but rather to report facts as they exist on the ground."

And the fall of a once great newspaper continues...

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