Features

March 1, 2007  

TO DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES

For his intellectual assessment of the war in Iraq that underscores the subtleties and complexities of this war. Describing it as four wars, Gates said: “One is Shi’a on Shi’a, principally in the south; the second is a sectarian conflict, principally in Baghdad, but not solely; third is the insurgency; and fourth is al-Qaida.”

Labeling it a civil war oversimplifies an extremely complex series of overlapping conflicts, he said. But sticking an “insurgency” bumper sticker on Iraq similarly would imply there is a single, counterinsurgency solution.

By showing the many faces of what is happening in Iraq, Gates has set the tone for finding multifaceted strategies to fight this multifaceted war.

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