"Civil war" is not an accurate description of the current situation in Iraq. It is in fact a euphemism for what is happening in Iraq. A traditional civil war would be an improvement, presenting the U.S. with a more predictable environment, and organized factions with which to negotiate, or support, or oppose.
As it is we're now talking to the once dismissed leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), Abdul Aziz al-Hakeem, whose militia, the Badr Brigades, is more closely linked with Iran (having fought on its behalf in the Iran/Iraq war) than any other faction; all while insisting that Iran's meddling is destabilizing Iraq.
We are left hedging an uncertain bet (on precisely what exactly is becoming less clear all the time) on a shaky regime by dealing with, or assenting via inaction to the activities of (in the case of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army), those who are killing, kidnapping, and terrorizing each other, or the civilian population as a whole. This while the last of the neocon diehards are still pressing for war against Iran for supporting these same groups (a likely [and why wouldn't Iran want to influence the outcome?] but unproven assertion, by the way).
Just don't call it a civil war. Well, okay.
As for the issue of accuracy in reporting: "chaos", "civil collapse", "societal breakdown", or maybe "rampant warlordism", each would be more apt. Does anyone recall the terminolgy used to describe the situation in Mogadishu before our ill fated intervention in 1992? It seems Iraq is closer to that than to any sort of civil war we would recognize.
Closer to home:
"Unarmed" is a technically accurate description of a man who struck a police officer with his car before ramming an undercover police vehicle twice, all while not posessing a firearm. But the term is misleading if used outside of this context. There is a reason we have codified into law something called vehicular homicide.