Tony Blankley

 An Iraqi journalist I know who supports President Bush's policy told me that Iraq is in a race between solving the uprising problem and civil war. I share his concern. In some sense, this is obvious; although Administration officials suggest that either the trend is not in that direction, or at least that we are not imminently at such a tipping point.

As a supporter of the President, and his Iraq policy, I nonetheless find it hard not to suspect that an aggressive military policy to put down particularly the Sunni insurgency is on hold until after the American election on November 2. Of course, I can't prove that, and no one in the administration has said such a thing to my knowledge.

 But officials have conceded that playing out the current political negotiation/military restraint strategy is not risk free. It is undoubtedly the case that each day the Sunni and Shia strongholds remain, at least some contagion spreads to currently peaceable communities and individuals.

 On the other hand, it is argued, if a political -- rather than a military -- solution is possible, the heavy political price in Iraqi goodwill of crushing Fallujah and the other strongholds would not have to be paid. Moreover, no one can be certain that such a military solution might not, itself, so alienate Iraqis as to make a transition to an American-friendly Iraqi government impossible.

 It needs to be understood, however, that Iraq is not yet in a state of civil war, as some long-time opponents of the President's policy have recently started arguing. Currently, some unknowable number of Iraqis and foreign enemies are manifestly capable of committing major violence and mayhem almost at will and in most of the country (although the Kurdish provinces are much more difficult territory for these people to operate in.)

 Whether these enemy fighters (and their supporters and active sympathizers) are as low as 10,000 or as high as a million, they do not yet constitute a sufficient percentage of the population to push Iraq into a condition of civil war. A state of civil war only exists when a substantial fraction of the population is committed to the overthrow of ,or secession from , the existing order

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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