ABC and CBS Revive Fears of Impending “Civil War” in Iraq

Interviewing General Peter Pace, from Iraq, on Sunday’s This Week, fill-in host Terry Moran pressed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "One of the concerns that people have right now, post-election, is that it's one thing in a democracy to learn how to vote, it's another to learn how to lose. Are you concerned at all, and is the United States prepared, for the potential of a civil war?" Pace assured Moran that is unlikely. Later in the day, on the CBS Evening News, after Kelly Cobiella reported from Iraq on Sunni dissatisfaction with the election results, anchor John Roberts put “civil war” into play: “Are we seeing the very first signs of a potential civil war here?"

Kelly Cobiella had concluded her January 1 story:
“Of the 275 seats up for grabs in the parliament, religious Shiites are expected to win about half with Kurds taking another quarter. The rest will be divided among nationalist parties and Sunni Arabs. Which means they're not likely to have a major impact on the makeup of the new government. Which is why some Sunnis are already rejecting the results. So the question becomes can these factions move beyond their party lines and form a government which would unite all of Iraq's warring ethnic tribes. John?”

Roberts: “What do you think, Kelly? Are we seeing the very first signs of a potential civil war here?”

Cobiella: “That’s been mentioned, and when you consider that all of these factions have their own militias loyal just to them, if they feel as though they're being left out of the political process, it could happen. The hope, of course, is that some concessions, enough concessions will be made to bring all of them into the fold.”

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center