All the mainstream press, on the left and right of center, describe what is happening in Iraq as "sectarian violence." They accept the language of the Administration to misdescribe what has happened and what is happening. The press, as well as George Bush and Colin Powell, continue to warn us about the great danger of sectarian violence causing a civil war.
But there has been an Iraqi civil war going on for months. The refusal to use those seemingly magic words is an attempt both to downplay the failure of our policy and refuse to see what's happening to Iraqi citizens. It's similar to the Clinton Administration's refusal to use the word "genocide" during the Rwanda carnage.
The U.N. Report, issued today, reports more than 3,000 Iraqi civilians killed in June 2006, more than 100 per day. Every American should read the full report - it is on the Web.
Today's New York Times story, after noting that "in the first six months of the year, the civilian death toll jumped more than 77 percent, from 1,778 in January to 3,149 in June," The Los Angeles Times previously reported at least more than 50,000 deaths since the invasion.
The reason we haven't seen clean figures before is because the Iraqi government and the American government refused to allow Iraq agencies to provide figures. Killings are not all political. Organized crime dominates the city and countryside. The very high number of gang killings is not even part of the U.N. figures.
The United Nations report starts off its Human Rights report by saying the great number of deaths presents a challenge to the new government, giving them "unique opportunities" to address forcefully urgent human rights concerns so as to establish the rule of law in the country." It's bureaucratic brutality.
The political world can endlessly paper over the tragedy. What the facts of the new U.N. Report show is that there is a civil war that is out of control and only getting worse at a dramatic rate.
The only way to get out of Iraq is to get out now.