Saturday, December 02, 2006

Definitions

I propose:

"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.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The truth is like a dad, it is always right, and it is willing to knock you around a bit to prove it.
Re "unarmed": I always thought the black community lacked what I call "Dad Truth."
"Dad, the cops beat me up with clubs."
"Well, son, that's what you get if you go on a high speed chase in a Hyundai and resist arrest...if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, you get shot."

"Dad, the cops shot me."
"Well, son, that is what happens if you run your car into cops and cop cars."
There are various levels of Dad Truth starting with "anyone out at that hour should expect trouble." I have never seen these Dad Truths expressed in the black community; in fact, what I often hear is the opposite of Dad Truth. I think many other communities are losing Dad Truth, including the white community. This will be a great loss to society.
Now, I recognize that Dad Truth can be harsh even on innocent parties and most of us males --especially in our younger years -- are going to ignore or challenge some levels of Dad Truth. But having it in our minds gives us a bit of perspective.
I think Dad Truth is a civilization survival mechanism. Perhaps, that explains the lack of civil behavior in many neighborhoods. And as an aside I think a good dose of Dad Truth would work better than tort reform if applied to lawyers. I'll leave the application method to the experts.
steveN

Dennis Dale said...

I think Bill Cosby actually tried this (perhaps the old guy is losing it and thinks he really is Dr. Huxtable). Not only are the kids not listening, the other adults want to lock him up in the basement like a crazy uncle with Tourette's who blurts out embarassing things.

Anonymous said...

Good point on Bill Cosby. It seems there is a refusal to argue any points. You either go along with the race hustlers, or you get thrown off the bus. This is amusing from a group that loves to talk about "keeping it real." Even going to prison is often filed under keeping it real.
So the fact that they've built their own intellectual "jail," complete with guards and wardens (Jessie, Al, ect.), to keep ideas out is amusing. Of course, maybe I just don't understand because I'm not from the Street. I'm from the sidewalk.
steveN