Whom Do You Trust?

I'm so confused. The SecDef of the United States (appearing with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs) says there's no civil war in Iraq.
First, the Iraqi security forces have taken the lead in controlling the situation. Coalition forces assisted in a supporting role, according to General Casey.
And second, the Iraqi government leaders took a number of key steps that have had a calming effect in the situation. They imposed a curfew, and the leaders of most of the major parties have stepped forward to publicly urge restraint on all parties.
From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey. The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated. The behavior of the Iraqi security forces had been mischaracterized in some instances. And I guess that is to say nothing of the apparently inaccurate and harmful reports of U.S. military conduct in connection with a bus filled with passengers in Iraq.

But in my inbox is a note from Martin Peretz, Editor-In -Chief of The New Republic, urging me to subscribe to TNR so I can read one Larry Diamond:
an expert on fratricidal fighting and on the particular case of Iraq, examines the civil war that has broken out in that country. With an unflinching narrative and a subtle historical setting, this essay tells you what is really happening in Iraq. Not just the news of the body count and who did what to whom but the underlying hatreds and the new antagonisms and alliances that have sprung up ... well, like cactus. This is a bloody scene, like any civil war, but perhaps worse since this war has broken out at the fiery center of Islam. You will have a new comprehension of what is happening in the region after reading this essay.

Oh, I think I have a new comprehension now, Mr. Peretz! And how precisely does one become an "expert on fratricidal fighting" may I ask? Who confers that degree?