...The guerrilla movement destroys infrastructure deliberately. Electricity facilities, petroleum pipelines, rail transport. And it deliberately baits the U.S. military in the cities, basing its fighters in civilian neighborhoods in hopes that a riposte will cause damage, because Iraqis, even urban ones, are organized by clan. Clan vendettas are still an important part of people's sense of honor. So when the American military kills an Iraqi, I figure they've made enemies of five siblings and twenty-five first cousins who feel honor-bound to get revenge. The Sunni Arab guerrilla movement has taken advantage of that sense of clan honor gradually to turn the population against the United States. Many more Sunni Arabs are die-hard opposed to the U.S. presence in Iraq now than was the case a year ago, and there were more a year ago than the year before that".
- Juan Cole, speaking to Tom Englehardt (interview, part one)
"People say the most amazing things. Like, 'Well, Iraq is already in civil war, so why would it matter if we left?' No! No! No! This is the stage before proper civil war. The difference is a matter of scale. You have hundreds of people a week being killed by guerrilla violence in Iraq. That's different from thousands of people, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. I mean we've seen it in other countries -- Cambodia, Afghanistan, Congo -- you can lose a fifth of the population in this kind of struggle. I think it's outrageous that people would say, 'Let's just up and leave and let what happens happen.' I know the Bush administration has mismanaged this thing so badly that one's tempted to say, let's get them away from this before they do any more damage, but do we want a genocide on our conscience?
...I know one person who said, 'Well, once we're out, whatever happens is not our responsibility.' Is it really true? You can invade a country, overthrow its government, dissolve its military, and then walk away, and a million people die, and that's not your problem? I don't understand this way of thinking".
- Juan Cole, speaking to Tom Englehardt (interview, part two)