Approximately one year ago — in an August 2006 appearance on the Charlie Rose show — Bill Kristol acknowledged that Iraq was teetering on the edge of civil war, stating: “It is true that we are at risk of a sectarian civil war there, and I’m extremely worried about that. I don’t quarrel about that.”
Since Bush adopted his escalation strategy earlier this year, Kristol has turned to defying the reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq in order to justify the troop increase. Today, on Fox News Sunday, Kristol argued that the violence in Iraq does not constitute a civil war:
We’re not in a civil war. This is just not true. American troops are attacking al Qaeda. They’re attacking some elements of the Shi’a militias. They’re doing other things, helping with reconciliation. They are not in the middle of a civil war. It’s not true.
As sectarian violence has increased, multiple U.S. intelligence sources have acknowledged the civil war. In January, the National Intelligence Estimate said, “the term ‘civil war’ accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict, including the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization, and population displacements.” In March, the Pentagon for the first time said the violence in Iraq constituted a civil war.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell explained, “I have characterized it as a civil war even though the administration does not call it that. And the reason I call it a civil war is I think that allows you to see clearly what we’re facing. We’re facing groups that are now fighting each other: Sunnis vs. Shias, Shias vs. Shias, Sunni vs. al-Qaeda. And it is a civil war.”
UPDATE: More Bill Kristol delusions. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, he writes “Why Bush Will Be A Winner.”
UPDATE II: Atrios has more.