U.S. may have weeks, not months, to avert civil war, adviser warns
James Sterngold, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
With the violence in Iraq flaring dangerously, a national consensus is growing, even among senior Republicans, that the United States must consider a major change in strategy in the coming months.
But in a sign of the growing sense of urgency, a member of a high-powered government advisory body that is developing options to prevent Iraq's chaotic collapse warns that the United States could have just weeks, not months, to avoid an all-out civil war.
"There's a sense among many people now that things in Iraq are slipping fast and there isn't a lot of time to reverse them," said Larry Diamond, one of a panel of experts advising the Iraq Study Group, which is preparing a range of policy alternatives for President Bush.
"The civil war is already well along. We have no way of knowing if it's too late until we try a radically different course," said Diamond, an expert on building democracies who is at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and is a former adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.