According to Gen Pace and SecDef Rumsfeld, the internal conflict in Iraq is not representative of a civil war:
Q: Isn’t there a civil war already going on in Iraq? And the United States presence, isn’t that exacerbating that civil war?
PACE: There is in fact some factional fighting between Sunnis and Shia and Kurds, but that is not what you describe it to be. What you do have is individuals in all three of those communities who want to terrorize the Iraqi people…
RUMSFELD: I would only add one thing. Clearly the General is correct,
there is not a civil war as such. There is tension. There always have
Controlling the vocabulary is very important in any debate. The end of major military operations, as the benchmark carrier landing became known (instead of "Mission Accomplished"), and the refusal to term Rwanda a genocide or the contemporary issue in Iraq as a civil war is pure propaganda in the academic sense.