Is Iraq in a civil war?
They have nothing resembling the War between the States. But neither do they have Peace.
Is Iraq like Vietnam?
Surely, in some respects, yes. In others, no.
In public discourse these sorts of questions are often treated as All Or Nothing issues in a grand game of Capture the Connotations.
The talking heads rarely reason with each other. They stage arguments for the jury - the viewing audience - to decide.
Whip the jury
Into a fury -
And they decide.