WASHINGTON, (AP) — Two top Pentagon commanders said Thursday that spiraling violence in Baghdad could propel Iraq into outright civil war, using a politically loaded term that the Bush administration has long avoided. The generals said they believe a full-scale civil war is unlikely. Even so, their comments to Congress cast the war in more somber hues than the administration usually uses, and further dampened lawmakers’ hopes that troops would begin returning home in substantial numbers from the widely unpopular war in time for this fall’s elections. ‘I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war,’ Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the senators, ‘We do have the possibility of that devolving into civil war.’ White House press secretary Tony Snow, flying with President Bush to Texas aboard Air Force One, said the generals had ‘reiterated something we’ve talked about on a number of occasions, which is the importance […]

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