:: 5.04.2004 ::
Sad but true
The speed of the shift in public sentiment may indicate the finale is only a few more hits off the crack pipe away. But, gluttons for punishment (other people's punishment) that Americans are, the endgame might not play out so simply. The speed with which public opinion has turned against the war could just be another cultural artifact of our increasingly scatter-brained society -- in which the daily death toll is tucked away somewhere between the next American Idol and the latest pretrial developments in the Michael Jackson case.
From Billmon, c/o Tom Tomorrow.
It seems perfectly possible that if the economy continues to improve and the flow of caskets shipped stateside COD doesn't rise much higher, the American people might turn conclusively against the war -- and then do absolutely nothing tangible with that conclusion, allowing Bush to ride to reelection on the same "peace is at hand" gambit that Nixon used in 1972.
Of course, after the election, Bush will have to answer for the fact that peace is not at hand -- there being (at as far as I know) no functional equivalent of the Paris peace talks. But even that might not penetrate the sedated stupor that passes for political debate these days. (Crack and quaaludes. The perfect mix for the Fox News demographic!)
In other words, Messrs. Ledeen and Kristol may be right after all -- about the ultimate political consequences of the body bag math, if not the national sentiment. Americans may care about killing and dying and losing, but they may not care very much, which is all the architects of endless war in the Middle East need. Support is great, but passive acceptance might just be sufficient to their ends.
Billmon also makes an excellent point about the possible reasons behind the occupying force's decision to reopen Abu Ghraib.
:: Deb 6:16 PM :: permalink ::
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