All the talk on the shows this morning was about whether or not Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. It doesn't look like it to me, but am I the only one who thinks that a civil war might be the only way to really establish peace? The fighting will never stop as long as both sides can and choose to make war, and I can't think of many (any?) violent conflicts that resolved themselves through choice. The way most conflicts get resolved is when someone wins and the losing side can't continue fighting even though they want to.
In the case of Iraq there are a few problems with just letting the violence play out. First, even if we take our troops out there are plenty of other outside players like Iran and Turkey that will be vying for control of the country. Second, there's no guarantee that the right side will win the hypothetical civil war. Statistics are thrown around claiming that the vast majority of Iraqis support the new government, but will they fight for it?
Wars are effective at bringing about peace because they remind people oh how much violence can really cost. The the current level of harrassment th eterrorists and insurgents receive from our forces isn't enough to deter them from fighting, so they keep it up. In a real war our violence would be much less focused, and not only the terrorists would be in danger but their families and towns as well. People respond to incentives, and we clearly haven't given our opponents enough reason to stop fighting. The only alternative for us, other than surrendering, is to thoroughly eliminate our enemies' ability to continue fighting and to utterly break their will.