Yesterday, a reporter asked President Bush, “What is the difference between what we’re seeing now in Iraq and civil war?” Bush responded by dismissing the significance of the rash of violence afflicting Iraq in recent months. He told the reporter that “we’ve been in this phase for a while.” Watch it:
His own administration disagrees. ABC News reported yesterday that the White House acknowledged “that Iraq is clearly in a ‘new phase’ and new solutions are urgently needed to stem the violence.”
Q Mr. President, thank you, sir. What is the difference between what we’re seeing now in Iraq and civil war? And do you worry that calling it a civil war would make it difficult to argue that we’re fighting the central front of the war on terror there?
PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, the plans of Mr. Zarqawi was to foment sectarian violence. That’s what he said he wanted to do. The Samarra bombing that took place last winter was intended to create sectarian violence, and it has. The recent bombings were to perpetuate the sectarian violence. In other words, we’ve been in this phase for a while. And the fundamental objective is to work with the Iraqis to create conditions so that the vast majority of the people will be able to see that there’s a peaceful way forward.