Forget the semantic debate over the use of "civil war" to describe the situation in Iraq, the New York Times seems to have a new take: it's simply the "most divisive" issue in a generation. At least that's the phrase used in two front-page stories today following the release of the Iraq Study Group's report. In David Sanger's "straight" news story, it's used thusly:
What played out on Wednesday morning, from the White House to Capitol Hill, was a remarkable condemnation of American policy drift in the biggest and most divisive military conflict to involve American forces since Vietnam. It was all the more unusual because Mr. Baker was secretary of state to Mr. Bush's father, and because the bipartisan group managed to come up with unanimous recommendations. [emphasis mine]Then Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "analysis" piece, leads with this:
In 142 stark pages, the Iraq Study Group report makes an impassioned plea for bipartisan consensus on the most divisive foreign policy issue of this generation. [emphasis mine]It's not exactly a stretch to think that two reporters separately would describe Iraq in those terms. But as long as we're busy parsing words, it's at least interesting to note that they shared front-page placement today.