Taken from wikipedia's definition of "civil war":
A civil war is a war in which the competing parties are segments of the same country or empire. Civil war is usually a high intensity stage in an unresolved political struggle for national control of state power. As in any war, the conflict may be over other matters such as religion, ethnicity, or distribution of wealth. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict.
As a matter of fact, yes, you can call what's going on Iraq a civil war- it certainly meets all the criteria. All participants (aside from U.S. forces) are from the same country, it is highly intense, there is an unresolved political struggle for state power, the conflict is of religion and ethnicity, somewhat of wealth, and there will be restructuring when the conflict is resolved. So yes, NBC, NY Times, and U.S government, it is a civil war. Duh.
Maybe this new terminology can get the government to realize what it has created, and perhaps leverage this into a new idea of how to control it. With Iraq in total chaos, some sort of power broker is going to take charge of the region. They could be friendly, they could be foe, or they could be Iran. Anything is possible, and there are a number of groups who have more power in the region than the United States does.
Regardless of what others call it, I still prefer to call it a clusterf*ck.