Via Saturday's CNN transcript:
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: How do you do, Carol?
COSTELLO: Let's talk about the step that the U.S. government is taking to try to quell this violence. President Bush is supposed to meet with the Iraqi prime minister in Jordan next week. If that happens, Muqtada al-Sadr, the cleric, I guess, chiefly responsible for this sectarian violence, has vowed to pull out of the Iraqi government and that could crash the Iraqi government. So, let's say the worst happened, where would that leave the U.S. military if the Iraqi government just dissolved?
SHEPPERD: It'd be one more tragic step in a very tragic war, Carol, it would leave the United States in a country without a government to support, in other words, responsible for everything that's gone on there, instead of just some of the things that have gone on. This is as desperate a situation as it gets.
And there's two phrases the U.S. and the U.S. military doesn't want to hear, "spinning out of control," which clearly things are doing in Baghdad, and "civil war," which has become a symbol of failure if it evolves into a civil war. Clearly there is some sort of civil war going on. So, it's as desperate and depressing as it gets.
COSTELLO: So we can say definitively now there is a civil war going on in Iraq.
SHEPPERD: No, you can't say there's a definitive war as we know civil wars, but definitely this sectarian violence is some type of civil war, and it seems to be escalating, not getting less, so it's a very, very tough situation.
COSTELLO: So, if Muqtada al-Sadr is making life miserable for the U.S. military, why not take him out?
SHEPPERD: Well, it's easier said than done. He is visible, but we don't know where he is all the time. And also, you are there to support Nouri al Maliki, the prime minister of the sitting government, if he does not want Muqtada al-Sadr taken out and of course Muqtada al-Sadr is part of his -- one of the major parts of his support, if that would cause him more problems, then you produce more problems for the government that wants to support. So it's a circle of -- it's a very difficult circle to tread.
I almost expected Shepperd to say, 'Jane, you ignorant slut'.
Then again, Shepperd's 'it's not a civil war, yes it is, no it isn't' battle that he was having with himself probably kept his mind a bit distracted.