Last week, Gen. John Abizaid, the Commander of the U.S. Central Command, raised the prospect that Iraq could be sliding toward civil war. Abizaid said, “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably is as bad as I’ve seen it in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.” Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “I believe we do have the possibility of that devolving to a civil war.”
Today at a press conference, President Bush dismissed these concerns out of hand. Bush said, “You know, I hear people say, Well, civil war this, civil war that. The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box.”
More than one hundred Iraqi civilians are dying per day, mostly in sectarian violence, according to a recent U.N. report.
BUSH: My attitude is that a young democracy has been born quite quickly. And I think the Iraqi government has shown remarkable progress on the political front. And that is is that they developed a modern constitution that was ratified by the people and then 12 million people voted for a government.
Which gives me confidence about the future in Iraq, by the way. You know, I hear people say, Well, civil war this, civil war that. The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box. And a unity government is working to respond to the will of the people. And, frankly, it’s quite a remarkable achievement on the political front.
And the security front is where there has been troubles. And it’s going to be up to the Maliki government, with U.S. help, to use the trained forces and eventually a trained police force to take care of those who are trying to foment sectarian violence.