I'm sorry, but I just can't get fired up over the "Is it a civil war yet?" debate raging in the media. If someone has a gun to your head, you don't agonize over whether to call it a gun or a firearm. Your mental faculties are best reserved for more important things, like survival. But I don't expect the news media to focus on what's important when they report on war. They know less about war than I do about brain surgery. So, what are the important issues here? This is what I come up with:
What will happen inside Iraq if we leave? Will the country be engulfed in an all-out war for control? I think it will.
Will outside forces become involved in an Iraqi civil war? There's little doubt that Iran will. In fact, they appear to be involved already. Look for that involvement to increase exponentially.
And what about predominantly Sunni Muslim countries? With the Iranians backing the Iraqi Shiite majority, will they just stand by and let their Sunni bretheren in Iraq be slaughtered? I doubt it. Look for al Qaeda and their supporters to head to Iraq in greater numbers. And remember, Iran is on the verge of possessing nuclear weapons. And Pakistan (a predominantly Sunni country) already has them. A "civil war" in Iraq could quickily turn into a regional conflagration that has global implications.
Before we leave Iraq, we need to answer the above questions. Strangely, I haven't heard any of the "bring them home now" crowd address any of those issues. Not that I blame them, because there are no easy answers. And selling easy answers to the public is what they do. Instead, they just ignore the problem.
Ultimately, I think the only solution available to us now is to keep pushing on and try to stabilize Iraq. It won't be easy. And it'll cost us in blood and treasure. But walking away will cost us more in the long run. And if we do stay, there's another question that begs answering:
How are we going to stabilize Iraq? Because what we're doing now isn't working. We need to get serious about waging this war while there's still time.