On a day when car bombs killed at least 62 people in Baghdad, reinforcing fears of an all-out civil war, John Burns, the N.Y. Times’ Baghdad bureau chief, tells Editor & Publisher that this struggle has, in fact, always been a civil war, and worse, that America will “probably” fail in Iraq.

Editor & Publisher

A day after returning to the U.S., after another long term as bureau chief in Baghdad, John F. Burns of The New York Times said on Bill Maher’s live Friday night HBO program that he now feels, for the first time, that the American effort in Iraq will likely “fail.”

Asked if a civil war was developing there, Burns said, “It’s always been a civil war,” adding that it’s just a matter of extent. He said the current U.S. leaders there–military and diplomatic–were doing their best but sectarian differences would “probably” doom the enterprise.

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Iraq suffered one of its worst days of bloodshed this year as 62 people were killed and at least 250 wounded, many of them in a six car bomb attack on a Baghdad Shiite neighborhood, sparking fresh fears of sectarian violence.

The blood-letting came as Iraqi politicians rushed forward the opening of their parliament to Thursday in a bid to foil extremists’ efforts to exploit the political vacuum and further inflame communal tensions between the majority Shiites and the historically-dominant Sunnis.

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