The best we can hope for in Iraq is ...





NOBODY will quibble with President Bush’s line Wednesday night that in Iraq, “Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved; there will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.”...

[What might victory look like?]

Remember the Spanish Civil War? The best America can hope for, some experts said, would be for Iraq to turn into today’s version of the Spanish Civil War.

For readers without immediate access to Wikipedia, the Spanish Civil War lasted three years, from 1936 to 1939, when the Nationalists, led by Francisco Franco, defeated the Loyalists of the Second Spanish Republic. The death toll was huge — estimates put it between 500,000 and one million. People in just about every European country were passionate about the fight: the Loyalists got weapons and volunteers from the Soviet Union, while the Nationalists received help from Italy, Germany and Portugal.

But, in the end, the Spanish Civil War stayed Spanish. The Europeans sent money and arms and even volunteers, but they didn’t let the war engulf the continent. (Probably because the continent was busy getting engulfed in World War II, but let’s not be too technical.)

The biggest worry in Iraq is not that Iraq will descend into a civil war — most experts say that is a done deal — but that an Iraqi civil war will not stay Iraqi. ...


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