Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Why Americans have stopped supporting the Iraq War

There are a number of conservative commentators, politicians and pundits lately who decry the fact that support for the Iraq war and for the Bush Administration is plummeting precipitously.

They usually and up putting it down to the constant drumbeat of bad news in the main stream media, a lack of national will or a lack of proper `explanation' by the Bush Administration.

A good example is the NRO's Andrew McCarthy, who has a piece this week entitled Bush plummets... as he wins the argument

McCarthy's basic point, boiled down to its essence is that while the president's popularity continues to plumment, his Democratic foes and the media insist that the war is a waste because we should be fighting al-Qaeda and yet that's exactly where al-Qaeda is - in Iraq.

He states, correctly, that both Osama bin-laden and Shaykh Zawahiri insist that the Americans will withdraw in defeat, that an American defeat in Iraq is central to their plans and that if we leave now, we leave in defeat, embolden the enemy, vindicate bin-Laden and make future campaigns against al-Qaeda much more difficult.

Further, the main reason he sees for the fading support for the war in Iraq is the Bush Administration's failure to make this clear to the American people.

He's not alone in utilizing this argument. And it's based on a complete fallacy, even if some of the facts he cites are entirely correct.

The reason the American people have turned against the Iraq war is precisely because the average American understands only too well, perhaps on an instinctive level that this war is not being fought to win, and that if we `win' we are merely propping up a corrupt Shiite Islamic republic with substantial ties to our enemies in Iran..and that the blood and treasure we've spent to do it has been out of all proportion with anything our occupying Iraq has ended up contributing to winning the War on Jihad.

Kind of like the old joke about life insurance, where the policy holder wins if he loses, but loses if he wins.

That's something most Americans certainly didn't need the dinosaur media to tell them to figure out.

If we were truly `fighting al-Qaeda', we would be engaging the nation-states that make it possible for them to operate by financing them, arming them and providing them with bases and havens. That was the Bush doctrine, was it not?

And, to take this one step further, the whole notion that we're merely `fighting al-Qaeda' rather than confronting the Islamic nation states that support and export jihad terrorism and the Islamist ideology throughout the world, including in America - and that includes certain nations the president refers to constantly as our `allies' and our `eternal friends' - is another contradiction that I think Americans understand on a basic level.

It's this kind of disconnect, this kind of blatant hypocrisy that has cost President Bush the nations' support on the Iraq War, rather then the dinosaurs in the main stream media or the Angry Left. They've always been against the War on Jihad from the start.

What's eroded is the support from the center.

And genuinely sensible and patriotic thinkers do us all a disservice when they circle the wagons and become part of the problem. Frankly, I expect better.

Americans, by and large, respect winners and expect victory. That, generally, is why support for the president and his war strategies has melted away.

You can't fight Islamic fascism in Iraq while turning a blind eye to it elsewhere.And that includes here at home.


Anonymous said...

FF, you talk of confronting the jihad sponsoring states, and that's all good and fine, but what happens after they're confronted? What happens after they're humiliated and toppled? Do we just leave and let them come back to power, or do we try to establish some kind of responsible, pro-American government?

If we're going to confront those who want to kill us, then we have to prepare to deal with the consequences, which could be more unpleasant than the actual confrontation. Iraq is a perfect example. I don't know whether you supported the invasion or not, but I did, and I still stand by it. Of course, we could have focused elsewhere, but Iraq provided the perfect opportunity to change the middle east and to lure the terrorists to their killing grounds. The former is slowly but surely happening, and the latter is obvious to any informed observer.

Now that we have confronted saddam's fascist/socialist regime, we are saddled with the consequence-rebuilding the country. That's something we need to accept and prosecute to the best of our ability, or simply forget about confronting terrorist supporting countries. If we "confront" Pakistan and topple Musharraf, we would have to deal with the results of that, and the same is true if we "toppled" the mullahs in Iran. Those are just two obvious examples, there are others.

Bush has made mistakes in Iraq, no doubt, and so has our military leadership, but mistakes much worse have been made in previous wars. In fact, I think the mistakes in Iraq seem minor by comparison. In world war 2, the Allied intelligence didn't account for the hedges in French farms, and it cost thousands of Allied soldiers' lives and months' delays in the advance to Germany. Looting in Baghdad streets seems trivial compared to that, and there are other examples of mismanagement (the Civil War comes to mind-terrible military and civilian leadership on both sides).

I think the real reason people are tired of this war is because of the steady flow of casualties. Compared to wars after Vietnam, this is a big war, and I think the American public unfortunately has a short-term memory. Historically, Iraq is a very small war. I mean, we lost 3000 soldiers in 1898 in Cuba just to malaria!! Every soldier/marine who dies in Iraq is a tragedy and a deep loss to this country, but it's nowhere near as bad as the war's most fervent critics make it out to be.

Any way you cut it, Iraq is a war of choice, and this is what most Americans realize. They're simply unwilling to accept the seemingly large number of casualties on a war of choice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nazar,
I fully understand and appreciate what you're saying, and it is a difficult situation, to say the least.

I'd much rather that you were right than me, in this case, but...

First thing, we have no choice but to confront the jihad sponsoring states. We are reaping the unfortunate benefit of years of neglect.

There are lots of reasons why containment won't work, and why this poisonous ideology has to be totally discredited and defeated at the source, which I will detail and spell out in an an upcoming essay.

But one of the major reasons is the widespread jihad networks in the western countries and their fellow travelers on the Angry Left, much better organized and funded then the Soviet's atempt to infiltrate America.

And the Islamists,unlike the communists in the Cold War welcome apocalypse as a precurser to the return of the Mahdi.

Leave the jihad states and their mosques and madrassahs in place and you will simply get more home grown jihadis like the Fort Dix Six...and they won't all continue to make stupid mistakes forever.

If you haven't already, scroll down and read my piece on Zawahiri's new video. It may provide some food for thought.

I would also submit to you that the mess in Iraq and the carnage in Afghanistan are good examples of the consequence of what happens when you attempt to do democratic `nation building' with people who aren't prepared for it and jihad supporting states on their borders.

You might also consider the psychology of the region involved.Toppling one or more of these regimes or even crippling them substantially tends to make the others much more accomodating, as you'll remember if you think back to the days after Saddam was pulled out of his hole.

Lastly, I agree with you that war is a series of errors and mismanagement. But the difference here is that, whereas the examples you give are of wars that were being fought with the idea of a concrete victory over an enemy, this one is being fought by half measures to appease our enemies..the Saudis on one hand and to prop up a corrupt Iran-friendly Shiite state on the other.

It's direction and clear objectives that count, and the president is too caught up in his conflicting alliances to change that..and what's more, people sense it.

As I point out, the reason Bush support has melted among conservatives and in the middle is not because these people have suddenly become anti-war but because they perceive the hypocrisy thatthe `Bush doctrine' has become.

Thanks, as always for some stimulating conversation.



Anonymous said...

Freedom Figher

I must say you are a true freedom fighter!! Your commentary is very much appreciated. Please continue the excellent work. I sincerely hope your analysis of why the President has lost support is correct. Your analysis seems to imply that, if we had better war fighting tactics, the American people would get behind the war in Iraq and the broader war on terror. This would imply that with a more dedictated leadership that victory may still be possible.

With all of this said I think your analysis may be incorrect. Most Aemricans seem to think the Iraq war was misguided from the start, not merely badly executed. The American people seem to me to want us out of Iraq NOW. It does not seem likely that the American people would support an aggressive posture against either Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, or any one else. In other words, I don't think the American people will support our continued involvement in Iraq or an aggressive stance against Iran, Syria, or Saudi Arabia no matter who leads it.

It is correct that most Aemricans hate losing, however, it seems that most people view Iraq as "Bush's war." As such, if the war in Iraq is lost, it will not be a strategic defeat for America but only for the President and his closest advisors. They do not seem to believe that the enemy we fight in Iraq is capable of threatening the US or its interests outside of Iraq and most Americans do not seem to think the US has any just interests in Iraq. In other words, in the minds of most Americans, withdrawl from Iraq will cost us nothing.

Given that Americans want us out of Iraq now, its hard for me to grasp why the Demcorats don't simply cut the funding and withdraw the troops now. The short term political costs to doing this are almost non existent. Even if Bush supporters or any one else tried to label them as "soft on defense" or soemthing worse, this would only backfire and the so called "hawks" would only be digging themselves a deeper hole.

I would like to see a more forceful military response to the Jihadist threat, however, it does not seem that the American people or our European allies will support this right now. With this in mind the Bush Administration and the next president must aim to implement policies that can actually be implemented. I suggest the following: 1.)Redeploy American troops that are currently in the Middle East to America and use them for border security. This is especially important now that Hezbollah has a base in South America. 2.)Open up all of our domestic oil and naturaul gas supplies for domestic drilling. This includes ANWR. 3.) Build more refineries. 4.) If the oil companies need incentive to implement 3 and 4, offer them tax subsidies to get this done.

With more oil and gas supplies at our disposal this will give us some leverage when dealing diplomatically with countries like Venezuela, as well as Middle Eastern nations.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello B.Poster,
A few things...first of all Hezbollah not only has bases in South America (and of long standing,which is how the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires was blown up)but cells here in the US, as Stephen Emerson has amply documented.

While I agree with you that the border MUST be secured, I don't agree that bringing the US military home en masse is the way to do it.

More intelligent government policies and the National guard as necessary is a better idea, I think.

I likewise must disagree with your notion that the American people stopped supporting the Iraq war because it was `misguided'. The loss of support came, as I wrote, with the realization of the fact we weren't fighting it to win and merely propping up a corrupt Islamist government.

If that changed, you would see how quickly the American people would get behind the war effort.

Lastly, I think your ideas on energy self sufficiency are just fine, with this important caveat: Even if the US never buys a nother drop of Middle East oil, it will only stop us from funding our enemies ourselves and will not stop the jihad against the West one iota.

Oil is fungible, with lots of willing buyers. The Arab states that fund jihad will merely sell more to places like India and China and continue to fund jihad..because it is a religious imperative.

Energy self sufficiency will not remove one jihad friendly mosque from the planet.

We will have to win this war by defeating Islamic fascism at its sources, both at home and abroad.

Thanks for weighing in, BP.

Anonymous said...

Freedom Fighter

Thank you for the reply to my post. I think you are spot on when you state that even if we never buy another drop of oil from the Middle East that it will not end their Jihad against us. I think it is more of a moral imperative that we do all we can to not purchase any of their oil.

Btw, I want you to be right about the Iraq war. If your analysis is correct, it would seem to imply that if we had the right leadership the American people would get behind it. If my analysis is correct, there is no way to get the American people to get behind the war in Iraq or the broader war against Islamic terrorists. In this case, my suggestions in the post above I think are the best way to go, however, I agree with you that my ideas of border security may be unworkable.

You write: "We will have to win this war by defeating Islamic fascism at its sources both at home and abroad." I agree.

I think how you do this abroad is by conquering and subjigating the nations who export Jihad. Once this is done, the terms of peace can be dictated to them. We did not do this in Iraq. We merely liberated the country. We did not want to be accused of being "imperial" so we did not use the necessary troop numbers we should have and we too soft with the forces we did use. To say this approach back fired on us, would be an understatement. In order to implement this, we are going to need a larger military.

In order to combat Islamic fascism at home, I think a moratorium on immigration from Muslim countries is in order and the mosques will have to be closely monitored.

While I think what I mention above is the optimal solution, I don't see the will in either major party to implement this, furthermore, I don't see the American people having the will to implement this either.

The first time a major public offical suggests that we monitor the mosques or place a moratorium on immigration of Middle Eastern countries, this person will be labeled as "racist" or worse by the msm. They will be viciously attacked and systematically marginalized.

Also, at this time, the American people do not seem willing to support the kind of military build up that would be necessary to combat Islamic Jihad abroad.

Once again, I hope your analysis is correct becuase it seems to imply that we could implement the policies that we need to implement to win the war, if only we had the right leadership.