Wikileaks Unwittingly Debunks Iraq “Civil War” Meme

Posted by John Rosenthal

During the darkest days of al-Qaeda/Baathist terror and sectarian violence in Iraq in 2006-2007, the American and European media were replete with predictions that the country was sliding into a full-fledged civil war or indeed had already done so. Supposedly scientific studies, like the 2006 Lancet study estimating that some 650,000 Iraqis had died as a consequence of the American-led intervention, fueled such speculation and even gave rise to accusations that the Bush administration and the American military were somehow responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for “genocide.”

The spin being given to the latest Wikileaks document dump obviously partakes of much the same narrative. Thus, for instance, the AP dispatch on the Iraq reports begins: “Military documents laid bare in the biggest leak of secret information in U.S. history suggest that far more Iraqis died than previously acknowledged during the years of sectarian bloodletting and criminal violence unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.” But in fact, if the figures cited by Wikileaks are accurate, then the reports suggest no such thing. They suggest rather that roughly the same number of Iraqis have died in the violence as has already been acknowledged by U.S. or Iraqi authorities. The figures are, moreover, clearly incompatible with any talk of civil war – or much less “genocide” – in a country the size of Iraq.

For an analysis, see my new article at The Daily Caller here.

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