The Civil War That Is Yesterday’s News

Zeyad writes from Baghdad:

I’ve been stuck at my aunt’s house in Adhamiya since Sunday night. If you had followed the news, you would have learned by now that Adhamiya, which is the largest Sunni district in Baghdad, is witnessing fierce clashes since Sunday night, mostly between armed groups in police uniform, who had attempted to enter the area, and Adhamiya residents.

The district has been sealed off and no one can leave or enter the area. Electric power has been cut off for the last 48 hours, and the fighting severely damaged our street generator this morning.

The Washington Post writes today about a confusing battle in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad. As far as anyone apparently can tell, the fighting is between the Iraqi Police and The Iraqi Army with an assist from the U.S. Military and armed local residents. There may have also been a smattering of "insurgents" in the area.

The U.S. Military is clearly caught in the crossfire trying to figure out who the men in the white hats are. The confusion is summarized in the Post by some comments from the U.S. Military spokesmen:

"The gunmen are suspected insurgents," Sgt. Doug Anderson, a U.S. military spokesman, wrote in an e-mail. "It is not known whether they are people from the neighborhood. We cannot confirm that the Iraqi Army may have fought against the police, or at least people dressed as police."

"Frankly, if somebody attacks coalition forces, or Iraqi army forces, it doesn’t matter who they are," said Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, another U.S. military spokesman.

When all parties are armed and intent on killing each other and we cannot tell who the good guys are anymore, I think we have outlived our usefulness in Iraq. We have to ask ourselves whether it makes sense for our military to be taking sides in this Civil War. We have undoubtedly helped unleash this chaos and we may not have the will or the might to stem the madness.

It may be time to put down our guns and go with a different plan. It may also be time to crack open those history books about Lebanon and Algeria.

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