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Well, let's remember what much of the Lebanese Civil War was like -- car bombs, shootings, random shellings, etc. Iraq seems quite similar if not worse than that.


Sure. I just don't think the whole idea of a threshold level for civil war is that meaningful. For one thing, I have an innate distrust of any effort to argue that what's happening in Iraq isn't a civil war. There's also no clear "tipping point" when conflict crosses the line of "Things to worry about." And finally, by the time you've explained why a particular set of events or conditions defines a civil war, you've described the things you need to worry about--those very events and conditions.

I do believe in an "etiology of internal war," to use my graduate advisor's pet phrase. I just don't think the "Is it a civil war or not?" discussion captures that etiology in any meaningful or practical way.

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