Debate:Define Civil War

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Again, liberals have skewered another meaning, this time civil war. Iraq is a low level civil war, they claim. I didn't know there were so many levels of civil war. 25,000 Al Qaeda bandits try to provoke Sunnis and Shiites to fight each other. Out 24 million citizens, how many people are fighting for one side or another? possibly 1%? Then 240k people are fighting each other in a low level civil war?--jp 20:48, 1 May 2007 (EDT)

1% is enough for a war (in most countries the military comprises less than 1% of the total population): it means 1 out of every 50 males is fighting, which probably means something like 1 out of every 30 able bodied males: so chances are every Iraqi knows at least 1 person who's fighting for some faction.

If this is not a civil war, then what is it?

Middle Man

It's a war on terror with no defined armies, only groups of competing militias. Porous borders with enemy nations surrounding on all sides, providing proxy support. --jp 16:31, 2 May 2007 (EDT)

Civil wars can be of varying intensity and size. The United States' Civil War completely dwarfed in size and area and casualty counts most civil wars of the 20th El Salvador's for example. But just because El Salvador's was small and limited doesn't mean it wasn't a civil war. Iraq falls into that category, with the added pressure of a failing government. If the al-Maliki government collapses, then you'll have a failed state. Which is the only thing that could be worse than what we have right now in Iraq.--Dave3172 16:36, 2 May 2007 (EDT)

"No defined armies"?

1. U.S. military

2. British military

3. Coalition peacekeeping forces

4. Iraqi military

5. Al Quieda

6. Al Sadr's Shiitte militia

7. Sunni death squads

8. Shiite death squads


Some of these are not traditional armies, but neither are the various rebel factions fighting civil wars in Africa and Latin America.

Middle Man

Not to mention foreign fighters, and common criminals. Czolgolz 23:24, 3 May 2007 (EDT)

So then civil war meaning armies of any nation? Middle Man, I find you quite knowledgeable and can understand your rebuttal quite well. Is it a civil war or a worldwide war then? What you are describing is a worldwide war or maybe a war of independence. If you look at the American civil war, both sides looked to other nations support however none participated in military action. In Iraq, you have outside powers (defined), possibly caught up in a war with militias and foreign extremist elements (quasi undefined). North Iraq versus Middle Iraq versus Southern Iraq would in fact describe a civil war, pitting a side against another. Shiite militias/death squads versus Sunni militias/death squads with a guerilla Al Qaeda movement of foreign fighters is a civil war? More like a religious war or war of independence. You have a coalition of willing nations trying to prevent an elected govt from failing (much like the French coming to Americas defense in 1776). What does the Iraqi population want of their country, rogue bandits taking charge or their elected govt? The line is blurred, you can make your case it is a civil war, it is not a civil war, it is a low level civil war, a religious war. It is a national conflict with many nations contributing to the success or the defeat of the current government.--jp 23:33, 4 May 2007 (EDT)

I believe Iraq is going through a civil war by comparing the situation to that in Congo: rebel factions, involvement of foreign nations, abductions, attacks against civilians, etc... (a deathly mess.) Of course it depends on your definition of civil war.


About the same level of violence as Detroit, my opinion of course.--jp 14:14, 10 May 2007 (EDT)

  • Yes, because there are car bombs and IEDs in Detroit, and coordinated suicide bombings, and death squads and helicopter gunships; I saw them last time I was there. The 'civil war,' or whatever euphemism you wish to apply, is referring to the conflict between the minority Sunnis, who have been in power until recently, and the majority Shiites, who have been living under the thumb of said Sunni majority. Constant fighting between Shiites and Sunnis, death squad activities on both sides, bitter rivalry... hmmm.... sounds like there are some doubleplus ungood bellyfeelings in Iraq. These two sides will never back down, the Sunnis because they're used to power and privilege (and rightly fear being exterminated by the Shiites should they wrest power) and the Shiites because they see the Sunnis as oppressors, and associate them with the Baath regime. The fighting between the two groups could very well determine which sect runs the government (I'd bet on the Shiites). Two large, nationwide groups of Iraqis fighting each other... nope, not a civil war at all. When those evil liberals use the phrase 'civil war,' they are referring to the fact that at present, many American soldiers are caught trying to end violence between the two warring factions, rather than accomplishing something or hunting down al-Qaeda, a much better use of time. -Fuzzy901 15:42, 13 May 2007 (EDT)

Fuzzy, just a bit too much sarcasm, don't you think? Two large nationwide groups, you mean the North and the South right? Oh wait, it's the whole nation of Iraq fighting one another in Anbar province. The Sunnis because they believe in only in Mohammed and the Shiites because they believe that Mohammeds brother-in-laws were also of divinity. Rather than accomplish something, please. If that is not right out of the evil liberal playbook. Turning a rogue nation, an enemy of the USA, into a democracy, an ally against extremists. Hunting down Al Qaeda, no, none of that is happening. Ask your fearless leader, Hillbilly Clinton, for more Iraqi advice. You are very astute on the whole car bomb, IED in Detroit thingy. Knew I couldn't get that past those crafty liberals.--jp 23:57, 14 May 2007 (EDT)

...and what a extremely corrupt, secretly aiding Shiite militias fine democracy it is! Great job Dubya!

Now let's do something about the rogue nations that don't have oil! MiddleMan

Civil war is in a traditional sense the people of one nation divided roughly into 2 factions(although there could be more)fighting militarily against one another for control of the WHOLE nation. The issues between them can be 1-2 or many. In the traditional sense also there might be outside material and supplies provided but not troops. --Wally 19:16, 26 June 2007 (EDT)