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Ignore the Civil War Behind the Curtain

Reported by Janie - August 24, 2006 -

"Special Report" has been airing very brief segments throughout the past few weeks on the status of Iraq. Most of them have shown a peaceful, "happy" version of a land in turmoil. During Tuesday's (8/22) episode, Fox Correspondent Mike Emmanuel filed a report to comfort Fox viewers and make sure the GOP/Administration's message got across: IRAQ IS NOT A CIVIL WAR.

Emmanuel got right to the point once introduced, by beginning the segment with a clip of the top British General in Iraq, Lt. Gen Robert Fry: "In my judgment, we are not in a situation of civil war."

ME: "The top British commander in Iraq offered that assessment to Pentagon reporters after some elected officials and some in the media have declared that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war.

Lt. Gen. Robert Fry cautioned reporters against using that term."

RF (clip): "I think it's very important that we talk, we don't talk about civil war, because of itself it is inflammatory language, it's implying that the situation is worse than it is."

George Bush (clip): "I hear a lot about civil war, I'm concerned about that, of course."

ME: "In recent weeks, much of the debate in Washington has been whether Iraq may be heading toward civil war."

Chuck Hagel (clip): "We in fact are in probably a low grade, maybe a very defined civil war."

Gen. Abizaid (clip): "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it in Baghdad in particular, and if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war."

Comment: As Fox is trying to discredit the people that are claiming there is a civil war in Iraq, it should be noted who Gen. Abizaid is (which Fox did not mention):

"As head of US Central Command, Lieutenant General Abizaid will be responsible for military operations from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia, covering much of the Middle East.

He faces a tough task, dealing with the increased terrorist threat in the region as well as reconstruction commitments in both Afghanistan and Iraq."


Dick Durbin (clip): "If losing 100 innocent civilians every single day is not an indication of instability, if not civil war, I don't know what is."

ME: "But (Comment: Notice the use of the word "but" as though General Fry is the final word on the matter, and Fox is trying to contradict all of the clips they just provided to the audience) General Fry says he prefers to describe the situation in Iraq as very intense sectarian conflict."

Comment: I have to ask - is this a joke? "Intense sectarian conflict"?

Civil War: "A war between factions or regions of the same country."

Ok, so we've got our sectarian part. Now let's see the definition of war.

War: "a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air."

So, "intense sectarian conflict" is the LITERAL definition of "civil war". Basically, Fox is saying "it's a civil war, we just want to call it something prettier."

RF: "What I think we have is something which is at the very best civil war in miniature, at the very best. It is not resulting in the mass movement of population, which is characteristically what civil wars do. And it's still being conducted in environment which has the central institution of the state functioning. Now, this isn't a situation that I recognize at the present time, I do not see that as civil war."

Comment: Didn't the United States government continue to function during the civil war? Apparently that isn't a firm characteristic.

According to Wikipeida, a Civil War is categorized:

"A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality fight for political power or control of an area. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by some historians if, and only if, organized armies fight conventional battles. Other historians state the criteria for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not)."

Iraq certainly fits this bill.

Emmanuel finished the segment by discussing the sudden call up of Marine reservists, before turning it back over to Brit Hume.

Did you all get the message? (IRAQ IS NOT A CIVIL WAR) Did you pick up the not-so-subtle GOP talking point? (IRAQ IS NOT A CIVIL WAR) While scholars, Generals, Commanders on the ground (except one apparently) feel that Iraq is sliding into civil war, Fox is stepping right up in time for the mid-term elections to make sure the proper message, one that will help the GOP gets out (IRAQ IS NOT A CIVIL WAR).

Just ignore that "intense sectarian violence" behind the curtain.