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August 05, 2005

Bush's Approval Rating For Handling Iraq Drops to 38%, Lowest Yet

Although I'm disheartened that the public seems ready to go full Vietnam on a war that simply cannot be lost, it also has to be said this is a much longer, and much bloodier, war than most expected. Including many at the White House.

On one hand, it's good to know that when their backs are up the American people will not insist on a 100 hour quickie war, and are willing to support a necessary war for longer than that.

But "longer than that" turns out to be about two years. Which is not a small amount of time, to be fair to the public. But there will be quite a few necessary wars that cannot be won in that span of time.

The War in Iraq was necessary, and may still yield enormous benefits. But the downside has to be considered as well. Not only have we lost more than 1500 good men and women, not only are many units so exhausted that it will take one or two years before they're really fully combat-ready again, but certainly the American people have soured by now on the thought of another war, even if the next war is even more necessary than the one in Iraq.

There are those who fault the American people for not being ready to go to war in Iran, Syrian, or even Saudi Arabia, should it become necessary. I suppose I fault them as well, but I can certainly understand that reluctance.

Americans were probably too anti-war, even in the face of growing threats from Islamist terrorists, due to the Vietnam experience. Certainly their political leadership was. The brilliant and lightning-quick Gulf War changed that to a large degree, as did other amazingly successful operations in Panama and, to a lesser extent, Serbia.

But Iraq is just the sort of dirty, long, costly and painful war that reminds America of why it became so reluctant to go to war in the first place.

I can understand why the Bush Administration is downplaying the threat of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Even if it were proven by the testimony of a dozen bishops that Iran was within one year of acquiring nuclear weapons, could the American people be prodded into supporting military action against that state?

I don't know if they could.

I hope liberals understand precisely what a loss, or perceived loss, in Iraq would entail. It would be the Vietnam syndrome all over again, a cowardly and dangerous hesitation to act in the face of great danger. Some liberals might see a benefit there in that America would not be so ready to engage in what they call "wars of choice" in the future, but I hope they also appreciate that the Vietnam Syndrome Redux would prevent us from fighting what they call "wars of necessity" as well.

Whether you hate Bush or not, whether you think this Iraq mission was ill-advised or justified, the stakes are simply far too great to allow ourselves to lose this one.

You think Bush's war in Iraq is a good recruitment tool for young angry Muslim men willing to die for Allah?

Imagine the recruitment benefits of an American defeat in Iraq.

I Question The Sample: Several commenters point out that this poll has a 49/39 Dem-Rep split, which isn't even close to the actual division in America.

There's a whole debate on weighting for party ID -- some say that party ID fluctuates quite a bit, and a lot of moderates call themselves "Democrats" when they begin feeling more sympatico with the liberals -- and others say it's fairly constant and polls should be weighted according to what we know (or think we know) is the actual Dem/Rep split in the country.

Not really sure who's right, but that 49/39 split should definitely give one great pause. There is no way the Democrats are now a near-majority, and strong plurality, of the country. Actual Democratic affiliation is usually in the 31-35% range.

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posted by Ace at 01:32 PM

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