Fareed Zakaria: “Iraq is Now a Civil War”

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Fareed Zakaria captures clearly the consequences that have been wrought from America’s misguided adventure.
Zakaria writes:

Iraq is now in a civil war.
Thirty thousand Iraqis have died there in the past three years, more than in many other conflicts widely recognized as civil wars. The number of internal refugees, mostly Sunni victims of ethnic cleansing, has exploded over the past few months, and now exceeds a quarter of a million people. (The Iraqi government says 240,000, but this doesn’t include Iraqis who have fled abroad or who may not have registered their move with the government.)
The number of attacks on Shiite mosques increases every week: there have been 69 such attacks since February, compared with 80 in the previous two and a half years. And the war is being fought on gruesome new fronts. CBS News’s Lara Logan has filed astonishing reports on the Health Ministry, which is run by supporters of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
According to Logan, hospitals in Baghdad and Karbala are systematically killing Sunni patients and then dumping their bodies in mass graves.

This Iraq crusade has been so harmful to so many, and America’s ability to do great things in the world has been crippled by the likes of Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney, Bolton, Rumsfeld and others.
It sickens me that the ‘Axis of Evil’ man himself, David Frum, who is also one of the people who helped diminish the stature and power of the United States is able to so freely warmonger for more.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

33 comments on “Fareed Zakaria: “Iraq is Now a Civil War”

  1. Eli Rabett says:

    I left the following note for Zakaria on msnbc
    You took an active part in planning this war and propagandizing for it. You never revealed your role in providing analysis and advice on invading Iraq. (see http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/001687.php for a discussion and links)
    A couple of questions occur:
    1. Why should anyone grant any respect to your opinion?
    2. With about 500,000 dead Iraqi’s resulting from this fiasco, how do you continue to live with yourself?
    Please don’t try and give me any nonsense about cluster sampling. I know a lot more about it than you.

    Reply

  2. Marky says:

    Lyle,
    The researchers have samples from across the entire country, including provinces where the level of violence is higher than in Baghdad.
    Are you saying there was a difference in the way they conducted interviews outside of Baghdad?

    Reply

  3. Lyle says:

    The body count research is a much-needed corrective, but it is likely too high. According to the pieces I’ve read, the researchers did door-to-door interviews only in Baghdad, where much of the fighting is. Extrapolating that data to reflect the whole country would be misleading since many areas are not seeing the same level of violence.
    Btw, as a Canuck, I have to let you know that David Frum was our secret weapon to induce the US on the path to self-destruction, in order to clear the way for Canadian world domination. Don’t fight it; you’ll be working as our domestic help soon enough!

    Reply

  4. Neil says:

    Oct 2006 Neil Maydom
    655,000 dead Iraqis! For What!!??
    With Johns Hopkins blowing the whistle on the ‘official’ Iraq body count, our lying rodent of a PM decides to join America’s lying rodent of a President to shoot the messenger.
    Knowing what pathetic excuses for human beings these liars are the question on everyone’s lips, especially American lips, should now be “How many Coalition troops have REALLY been sacrificed to enrich the handful of weapons makers and oilmen with a vested interest in Perpetual War?”
    The toll of 655,000 Iraqis killed for a litany of lies strongly suggests that ‘The Job’ Bush, Howard and Downer want ‘done’ in Iraq is the killing of 1 million Iraqis.
    This, and the total destruction of their country, seems an unreasonably high price for Iraqis to pay for 9/11, when one considers they had nothing to do with it.
    In my opinion it’s time for Regime Change in Australia, America and the UK followed by the appearance of the leaders deposed thereby before a War Crimes Tribunal with very sharp teeth.
    If these insane non-combatants want perpetual war, let them fight it in person from the front, instead of hiding among civilians like the cowards they are.
    We’ll all feel a lot safer when Bush, Howard, Bliar, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Airhead Olmert are rotting in Hell – like Iraqis, Palestinians and Afghanis.

    Reply

  5. Dan Kervick says:

    pt,
    You’re right. It’s a free country, and Zakaria is “entitled to his views”. And others who hold his views in contempt are entitled to their views as well.
    Your analogy makes no sense. If Zakaria simply spoke in a public forum in favor of the invasion, there would be no problem.
    If a reporter or newspaper editor met secretly with Dean to advise him on his candidacy, and did not disclose that partisan activity to his readers, then he is dishonest. If that reporter or editor made a clandestine deal with Dean to spin the news in his favor, and signed a secret non-disclosure agreement to keep the agreement out of the public record, then his behavior is worse than dishonest – it is reprehensible, unprofessional and pillory-worthy.

    Reply

  6. Marky says:

    Pt,
    Nothing personal against you, btw.
    It’s just that 8 years of having people pretending that the Chimperor had clothes on has really gotten on my nerves!
    Unlike any other Presidential candidate in my memory, nominated or not, I cannot recall anyone that was remotely as unqualified as Bush. Sharpton has tons more on the ball than W, for example.
    Bush’s ineptitude was totally evident in 1998,when the full-throttle media kiss-up started, and he’s only gotten worse over time.
    Republicans, who actually never cared one whit about Bush’s competence, believing that the eminences grises would handle policy, have pretended that Bush is competent, decisive.. even a genius. If it weren’t for the billions of dollars (direct donations plus fawning media coverage) that supported his run for office, he would never have been anything but the weakest son of a mediocre President.
    This nation has a LONG way to go to recover from the Bush presidency, and I for one hope that he doesn’t get a Nixon-style pass for his crimes, but sees full justice in our courts and international courts as well.

    Reply

  7. Marky says:

    Pt,
    Thanks for the info about Chamberlain!
    If you’re scared by my view, I’m appalled by yours! Attacking Iraq was as reasonable as jumping off a cliff. To say that no reasonable person should have supported the war is a view amply supported by the results, and especially by the knowledge we have now about the false case for war that Bush presented. Look back and compare the warnings of those against the war with the statements of the Bushistas, which were on the like of “Mushroom Cloud”, “Evil bastard!”, “The Iraqis will LOVE this war”, to know who could be trusted. How could ANYONE support a war promoted by such imbecilic arguments?
    In my opinion, that Bush could not be trusted on important matters was demonstrated even before he was “elected”. The scale of his lies about economic policies during the 2000 campaign was truly staggering—on the order of trillions of dollars of repeated, deliberate misstatements of costs. Then you have the election: by 2002 it was crystal clear both that Gore had won, and that various forms of cheating determined the outcome in Florida.
    To give a scoundrel like Bush the benefit of the doubt about a matter as grave as waging an aggressive war against a potential threat was absolutely indefensible.
    I don’t generally like absolute evaluations, but in Bush’s case, I have no problem.

    Reply

  8. pt says:

    Marky: Right, well at least that’s clarifying. You think there has always been only one legitimate way of viewing the war in Iraq, that support for it was never a reasonable position. I have to say, views like yours scare me.
    Oh, and for the record, Churchill had Chamberlain in his war cabinet. And Halifax.

    Reply

  9. marky says:

    PT, I dont’ find anything unseemly about outrage expressed towards a warmonger.
    I’m angry that people like Zakaria—and especially more egregious suspects like Pollack—are given ANY platform for expressing their opinions.
    I don’t recall that Churchill asked for Chamberlain’s opinion on how to fight the Germans. Some people have been so utterly and foolishly wrong, their opinions merit no attention at all. Another example is Tom Friedman. If the NYTimes had any integrity, they would fire him.
    Let’s not forget one of the nastiest pieces of work—David Brooks, who cheerleaded not only the war but insisted on the moral necessity of supporting our troops when they commit atrocities.

    Reply

  10. pt says:

    Fareed is first and foremost an opinion writer. he is also a conservative, which he is perfectly entitled to be. Much of the outrage against him on this site is unfair and unseemly. Would you be equally outraged if an anti war commentator met with Howard Dean; or what if a crusading journalist like Nicholas Kristoff spoke at a meeting for intervention in Darfur? I don’t think so. It seems that you are angry because you disagree.

    Reply

  11. JS says:

    That number is extremely high.
    Not saying I outright dismiss it. But it seems to take into account all deaths in Iraq since the US invaded. Does that mean theyre counting elderly Iraqi’s dying of natural causes? Does it mean they are counting foreigners?
    650,000 doesnt make sense in a country with as small of comparative a population as Iraq has.
    Regardless of whether its 1 or 650,000 it just goes to show the mess that it has become.
    The saddest part in Iraq as it still is in Afghanistan is that we havent learned lessons in reconstruction.
    As the general in Afghanistan said, “where the road ends, the Taliban begins”.

    Reply

  12. john o. says:

    This avoidable and needless tragedy is a crime. I hope that, if there is a Democratic takeover next month, the Congress will pursue impeachment. It won’t undo the damage in Iraq or restore the dead to life, but might put future presidents on notice that the cynical warmongering and related perfidy of the bush administration is unlawful and unAmerican and will not be tolerated. Otherwise, we tacitly approve of criminals like bushco. Our history and descendants deserve more.

    Reply

  13. dahreese says:

    Regarding Zakaria; His behavior (pre-Iraq invasion “brainstorming” with the administration)is another example of the abuse of the mainstream’s media bias towards manipulating the American people’s thinking by feeding them inaccurate information and creating war in the Middle East. And he and his editors want us to trust their reporting and what Zakaria says??? If I recall correctly, either in 2000 or 2001, Zakaria was praising the fact that [Bush has wonderful foreign policy leadership with Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Powell]. Well, look where that leadership has got us now. You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.

    Reply

  14. Frank says:

    To Zakaria
    Regarding the fiasco in Iraq, your use of the cliche “we are where we are”, a pathetic meme now permeating polite political Iraqi fiasco discussions, is because of people like you “were there where you were”. Your participation in the secret FACA “barnstorming” pre Iraq war meeting called by Wolfowitz, a (feasibility/justification of Iraq invasion meeting?) makes you a player in the “killing fields of Iraq” . Your secret cerebral contributions must have been colored by the flattery of being invited to that meeting by that exemplar of intellectual masturbation Wolfowitz, for we now “are, where we are”.
    The American people thank you for your secret journalistic contributions to the realization of the Iraqi civil war.

    Reply

  15. Cypher says:

    At least Zakaria has put out on the table one key fact: Those who argue that we can’t leave Iraq because then we would lose are ignoring the fact that we have lost already, and it is our presence and that alone that is making things worse, but within the country and in our supposed WOT.
    We see the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq. We see estimates of the number of Iraqis killed in their civil war. There are two numbers which I would like to see reported, if only to get a complete picture of the human cost of this terrible, tragic mistake. The number of civilian U.S. government employees — citizens of our country, after all. And the number of employees of contractors being paid by the U.S. government, citizens and non-citizens employed by U.S. companies engaged in war profiteering.
    This set of data points will not change our view of the situation in Iraq. It will bring up the fact that, up to now, the deaths of all these American civilians has seemed not to count.

    Reply

  16. Frank says:

    Zakaria should recuse himself from any reporting about Iraq. His secret FACA role in pre Iraq invasion “barnstroming” discussions with this administration, was a gross conflict of interest blunder, and instead of reporting the news, he has been revealed to have been helping this administration make the news.
    His sense of professional propriety matches FOX news; he is damaged goods, and anything he reports about Iraq now has the stink of embalming fluid.

    Reply

  17. steve duncan says:

    Say somebody did away with Bush. The perp’s defense team constructed a case highlighting reports of the slaughter unleashed on innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan. You are on the jury. How could you vote to convict? An invader in your home can be gunned down by you and all you’ll suffer is a cursory hard look from the authorities before you’re absolved of wrongdoing. Bush has invaded tens of thousands of homes, killing many innocents and bystanders. Wouldn’t you have to lean towards justifiable homicide in considering the fate of his assassin? In your heart how could you feel punishment was merited?

    Reply

  18. Anne says:

    Civil war thanks to the Negroponte Salvador Option.
    When do people acknowledge this?

    Reply

  19. Marky says:

    Humanist,
    My point was only that a reasonable person would estimate a much higher number than 30,000 civilian deaths, not that the number is as low as I offered.
    Zakaria has MUCH more blood on his hands than he wants to admit.

    Reply

  20. OCPatriot says:

    Oh, come on. I begin to feel like Jon Stewart when the General said Aghanistan was sliding away from us and gave it six months. Iraq has been sliding into civil war for too long now, but no one, including the generals who want to keep their jobs, will admit it. As Jon might say, Naw, it’s closer to five months and three days and two hours. Afghanistan is lost, completely lost, already; so is Iraq. We can put more cannon fodder in there; start a draft; maybe that will wake people up to the fact that we’ve botched it. The next President will now have to handle it, and I grieve for any of you readers who are of draft age or have children who will be eligible for the draft. Vote, at least, for Democrats to replace these clowns; they may be wimpy and they may turn corrupt, but at least they’ll give us a breather and some fresh thinking.
    Our government has been acting the way amateurs do, not knowing or understanding the impact of what it has been doing. From President Bush, who makes a joke of his ignorance, to stooges such as Rumsfeld and truly unfeeling fixed-idea men such as Cheney, we have suffered from inept and uninformed leadership. Iraq is just one example of such amateurness, with a war that had no plan for any follow-up. North Korea is another. Iran is another. The way we’ve handled Afghanistan is still another. Our ignoring the essential conflict between Israel and the Palestine peoples, just hoping it will go away. Add them up and we can now see how inept this administration has been. Then look at the current economy, changed from a positive one in which our assets were growing to one in which almost everything except oil has been declining. Asking the military, who weren’t trained to build nations and who did their job heroically in the war, to sort out what needs to be done in Iraq or Afghanistan is truly amateurish; such work was never the military’s job. Not even having a full professional cadre of those who speak the language of our enemies, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Iran to Lebanon – how could this administration even pretend to understand what forces it has unleashed? t on.

    Reply

  21. God says:

    Carroll: I suggested the CIA should suicide Feith, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Perle, Frum, Kristol, and all the other neo’s and their enablers three years ago.
    Perhaps Messers Feith, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Perle, Frum, Kristol, et al deserve to be renditioned to Iraq and dumped on the streets of Bagdhad?
    Who knows, perhaps Sadr would spare each one after they converted to Islam?

    Reply

  22. Pissed Off American says:

    Gee, you are overlooking the estimated 500,000 Iraqi CHILDREN that the sanctions are said to have killed, PRIOR to Bush’s illegal and ill-destined attack on a soveriegn nation that posed NO THREAT to us. But hey, they hate us because of our freedoms, doncha know.
    By the way. The relatively “peaceful” northern Kurdish regions??? The violence there is on an upsurge.
    Good job neocons, you fuckers have an entire country submerged in blood. I hope, that in my lifetime, I see each and everyone of you pay for your crimes against humanity. If we, as a nation, do not hold you accountable, than we are not what we claim to be. History will remember us as it remembers Nazi Germany. And listen, you assholes, you DO NOT torture ANYONE in THIS American’s name. From your idiot figurehead, George Bush, all the way down through the ranks of this administration, you are a DISGRACE to everything we once stood for.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    Where’s the outrage?
    Posted by God at October 10, 2006 09:04 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Right here.
    I suggested the CIA should suicide Feith, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Perle, Frum, Kristol, and all the other neo’s and their enablers three years ago.
    But people thought I was being extremely immoral and too much “like them”. I guess it’s more moral to sit around and lament the thousands of dead people they have piled up.

    Reply

  24. Humanist says:

    marky: Just looking at the news
    Please, get real.
    Looking at the news?
    You actually think the MSM is reporting the actual number of deaths?

    Reply

  25. God says:

    marky: I’m very skeptical of the 600,000 figure
    It is easy to be from where you sit.
    Perhaps you should go to Bagdhad and visit the morgue or perhaps even visit some families and question the authenticity of their death certificates?
    Here:
    Study Claims Iraq’s ‘Excess’ Death Toll Has Reached 655,000
    By David Brown
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, October 11, 2006; Page A12
    A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.
    (snip)
    While acknowledging that the estimate is large, the researchers believe it is sound for numerous reasons. The recent survey got the same estimate for immediate post-invasion deaths as the early survey, which gives the researchers confidence in the methods. The great majority of deaths were also substantiated by death certificates.
    “We’re very confident with the results,” said Gilbert Burnham, a Johns Hopkins physician and epidemiologist.
    (snip)
    Ronald Waldman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University who worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for many years, called the survey method “tried and true,” and added that “this is the best estimate of mortality we have.”
    This viewed was echoed by Sarah Leah Whitson, an official of Human Rights Watch in New York, who said, “We have no reason to question the findings or the accuracy” of the survey.
    (snip)
    The interviewers asked for death certificates 87 percent of the time; when they did, more than 90 percent of households produced certificates.

    Reply

  26. JS says:

    This is sad.
    I agree pretty much completely with Zakaria’s assessment.
    The problem with our administration is they dont really look at the situation. They see an end theyve created in a think-tank, but have put the blinders on how to properly get there, or whether to get there at all.
    This is so damn sad.

    Reply

  27. marky says:

    I’m very skeptical of the 600,000 figure, however, this number is 6 times what a Lancet study using a similar methodology showed 2 years ago, which reflects something, obviously.
    Just looking at the news, we can take 50/day civilian deaths as a baseline figure for the civilian deaths which make it into the news. Over 3 1/2 years, 50/day is close to twice the figure Zakaria uses.
    The neocons with consciences (if any truly exist) do not what to be confronted with the true cost of the Iraq war, both in lost lives and dollar amounts.

    Reply

  28. God says:

    Zakaria writes: Thirty thousand Iraqis have died there in the past three years
    Zakaria should be treated with pure contempt and scorn for seemingly trying to pre-empt the new widely circulating figure of The Lancet’s new study wherein +/- 600,000 Iraqis have violently died since Cheney , Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz actualized their 1990s plan to depose Saddam Hussein.
    9/11 = Nearly 3000 murders + tens of thousands scarred (physically, mentally, spiritually) + tens of billions of dollars in damage
    Pro-Hezbollah, Pro-Iran, Shia Fundamentalist Iraq = 600,00 Iraqis killed violently + nearly 3000 US soldiers killed violently + hundreds of thousands scarred (physically, mentally, spiritually) + $400 billion
    WTF?
    Where’s the outrage?
    How can Bush still be in office after so many oceans of blood and treasure and have been spilled due to his stupidity and deep seated psychological problems?

    Reply

  29. dennis says:

    bubba,
    hear, hear.
    McCain is getting a free pass because of this bizarre infatuation the press has with him as the maverick war hero. Meanwhile, he offers nothing but posturing; witness the entirely bogus “compromise” on Military Commisions, apparently designed to give Bush what he wanted ahead of the mid-terms and to position McCain as the dissenting voice of reason. Pure theatre.
    Just check out the blush that comes to Chris Matthew’s cheek when he interviews the man. Speaking of interviews, he appears to be on medication whenever he gives one. Meanwhile, he exhibits symptoms of mental illness whenever he is put on the spot in public; consistent with his reputation in private. This guy is a simmering cauldron of egomania and hubris.
    The same bullheaded bravery that distinguished him in captivity in Vietnam may very well be a severe handicap for the nation in a chief executive.
    We are looking to replace the morally corrupt and inept with the morally corrupt and unbalanced. Do we really have to limit our choices like this? McCain and Hilary have been front runners for their respective nominations since the last election. Their morally reprehensible support for the war seems to do them no harm. We’ll all focus our anger on Bush et al and end up electing for our next president someone who made no effort to stop the madness, but in fact clamored for more.

    Reply

  30. larry birnbaum says:

    Frum… well we had to take someone from Canada to balance JK Galbraith… and Neil Young… and Saul Bellow… not to mention Mike Myers…

    Reply

  31. Michael Roston says:

    Steve –
    Zakaria is being way too gentle.
    Iraq is like Rwanda with bombs.

    Reply

  32. Marcia says:

    Little people, no matter how much power they obtain can never do great things. Their desires are of the same stature as themselves. They are petty, greedy and selfish.
    There are so many who see the havoc they have wrecked that it is surprising there has not been a silent march on the WH to say enough, we will have no more.
    We are sickened, but they are sick and in their delusional world, if not stopped, will continue to the bitter end.

    Reply

  33. bubba says:

    “This Iraq crusade has been so harmful to so many, and America’s ability to do great things in the world has been crippled by the likes of Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney, Bolton, Rumsfeld and others.”
    Ahem. Steve. You fail to mention one of the biggest and constant cheerleaders for this thing. One Senator John McCain.
    But I am sure we will soon here from McCain how this failure is all Clinton’s fault.
    How do you support this man anymore.

    Reply

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