August 6, 2007

Support For Iraq War Growing

I suppose one could say that it had almost nowhere to go but up, but this is the second national poll to show support for the war in Iraq increasing. USA Today has a teaser on the poll today, and will offer the details tomorrow. Like all polls, sampling will be key, but a subtle shift can be seen:

USA TODAY's Susan Page reports that President Bush is making some headway in arguing that the increase in U.S. troops in Iraq is showing military progress.

In the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, taken Friday through Sunday, the proportion of those who said the additional troops are "making the situation better" rose to 31% from 22% a month ago. Those who said it was "not making much difference" dropped to 41% from 51%.

About the same number said it was making things worse: 24% now, 25% a month ago.

It's not a dramatic shift, at least not yet. More people believe that we're making things better than those who believe we're making ut worse, which is good, and fewer people believe it to be a wash. However, two-thirds of the respondents want a pullout before next April 1st, and a majority still call the war a mistake, although both numbers have declined.

This follows a similar result from a New York Times poll two weeks ago. At the time, war opponents called it an anomaly. It looks like a trend now, one prompted by good news from the surge. If the news continues to improve, the Democrats may find it difficult to insist on the withdrawal in September.


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Comments (42)

Posted by GarandFan | August 6, 2007 4:05 PM

I"t looks like a trend now, one prompted by good news from the surge. If the news continues to improve, the Democrats may find it difficult to insist on the withdrawal in September."

You can also expect the drum beat of negative comments to increase.

I'm surprised the usual suspects don't already have quotes from Generals Murtha and Reid.

Posted by NahnCee | August 6, 2007 4:11 PM

But would it be fair to say that part of the new trend is an increasing insistence that we give the Iraqi's some kind of a line in the sand beyond which they'll be on their own?

I know, I know -- if we do that then Al-Queda just needs to wait us out. But that refrain starts to sound awfully like the tired blackmail of, "If we don't do thus and so, the terrorists will have won."

Why April? Because it's April Fool's Day? I don't really care *when*, but I'm tired of Iraq, I'm tired of Iraqi bellyaching and victimhood, I'm *REALLY* tired of Maliki and Sadr, and I think we need to start focusing our efforts and resources elsewhere. If we're not going to nuke Iran, then bring the troops back home to build a fence along the Rio Grande and to shoot at scuttling Mexicans in the deserts of America..

Posted by Bill Faith | August 6, 2007 4:13 PM

Maybe there is hope for this country after all. I added an excerpt and link to my 2007.08.06 Long War // Dhimm Perfidy Roundup.

Posted by DaleinAtlanta | August 6, 2007 4:15 PM

Capt: please check out this tidbit!

Posted by Carol Herman | August 6, 2007 4:22 PM

The changing poll numbers didn't happen in a vacuum. I think they change because a majority of people's habits changed. We no longer retrieve information from the TV tube.

For me, I get all my news from the sites I visit. PERIOD.

Bush is also an action man. His weakness is that he doesn't "do" good speech-a-flying. And, so the advantage in "that" department fell to the MSM.

The Internet, I think, has also given Americans a chance to share their own opinions with others. So it doesn't come pre-formed from the editorial pages of the elite's, anymore. That's a very big difference.

In the old days, you'd say the MSM were perveyors of buggy whips. But when cars came along, the buggy whips weren't purchased. Other things had to be found to produce stuff from those old factory floors. Some people? They just go out of business. And, die off.

One thing I know is true, though. The media had its successes against Vietnam. And, against Nixon. And, our military. Nixon, himself, stemmed some of this bleeding, back in 1972. By cancelling the draft. Which changed the way things got done over atthe Pentagon.

Still, the old beauracracy were filled with democraps. They also make up most of the population in Dc. And, it's liberal environments, from Marylandm Delaware, and thru Virginia.

The Internet, however, has cut, or actually shredded, that influence, to ribbons.

Anyway, all those old tricks, including Mark Felt's information to Bob Woodward (which was TREASONOUS), no longer works. The Internet is that much faster.

So if you're looking to see points scored, you'd notice how fast the Internet turns stories on their heads, when they are false. Be it Scott Thomas BeauCHUMP over at TNR. Or this Soltz bully, over at the Kos "convention."

Oh, and the way pelosi's House just fell apart. From an attempt at stealing a vote; to total capitulation to the Bill the president wanted. And, signed.

It's the INTERNET! And, this is just an amazing phenomenon. Captain, this ship is HUGE!

Posted by Monkei | August 6, 2007 5:29 PM

The bottom line, less American soldiers getting killed ... or at least we are not hearing about it anymore ... and I guess that is what the bottom line is with those 10-15 percent of Americans who can't make up their mind from week to week whether they support this war or not. Maybe the percent for the bottom has already been hit polling wise for this civil war. I mean it's a big deal here in Captainland when Bush gets to 38-39 percent on Rasmussen! But then again this is also the blog that most writers don't believe in polls ... unless it is like this one which supports them somehow.

Let me know when America REALLY stands up to support this war and not this half-assed support we have given our troops so far. Let me know when we institute a draft, ration items, and fight this like it is the war to end all wars. Until then, it's all politics and it's all oil.

Oh, and Captain, let me know if the so-called government over there in Iraq ever even gets back to work or ever hammers anything else out, because no matter how many troops we send in and no matter how "this president" spins the truth, without some sort of normal government we will eventually lose. Some call that a losing mentailty, some call it reality ... pick your poison neocons.

But it would be nice if the war went our way.

Posted by filistro | August 6, 2007 5:44 PM

Monkei makes perfect sense, as usual.

We may have the boots, the hat, the bandana and chaps. Someday we might even get our spurs, plus a saddle and bridle.

But until there's some facsimile of a functioning government in Baghdad... we still don't have a pony.

Posted by Lurking Observer | August 6, 2007 5:45 PM

Hmmm. If the measure of whether the nation is at war requires people to be drafted (whether we need a draft or not), and to be subjected to rationing (whether rationing is needed or not), how about some real measures?

Censorship. Part of every war is the control of the flow of information, in order to deny it to our enemies. In World War II, there was an Office of Wartime Information, which went over every photograph and cleared just about every broadcast.

You'll support that, right, Monkei?

Execution of illegal combatants. Happened here (the German saboteurs who landed on Long Island), happened over there (Germans captured in the Battle of the Bulge wearing US uniforms.)

You'll support that, right, Monkei?

Enforcement of anti-sedition laws. Funny how folks like Oswald Mosely in England and the head of the German-American Bund here in the US were getting arrested, or placed under surveillance. All b/c they had engaged in pre-war activities that might be seen as seditious.

You'll support that, right, Monkei?

Or not.

Funny how selective the measures folks like Monkei will support. It's almost as though they're trying to make a political point, rather than actually thinking the issue through.

Posted by StargazerA5 | August 6, 2007 5:50 PM

It's still too soon to draw a definitive conclusion from the poll numbers, but this seems like it could be indicative of a shift in philosophy among the American people. If this is correct, than Hamiltonian diplomacy was tried and was rejected in late 2005/ early 2006 and the American people have settled into a more Jacksonian mindset.

Essentially, what this could mean is that the severe drop in the popularity of the war did not come from people abrogating the war, but instead they were indicating their disapproval in how it was being fought. In this line of thought, the American people wanted a more aggressive and combat oriented approach and had tired with the diplomatic approach. Since we switched to the more combat oriented approach, poll numbers bottomed out and started to rise. Attitudes are hardening and patience with the Muslim world is dropping.

This also argues that should another attack happen on US soil, the American mood is likely to turn very ugly.

As I said in the begining, it is too soon to tell if this is a true shift, we'll have to watch over the next few months to see.


Posted by Michael | August 6, 2007 5:54 PM

Why is it that any blogger who supports the surge always tries to temper his enthusiam. We are winning, we are winning we are winning. Stop hedging. Hedging is for losers

Posted by Michael | August 6, 2007 5:56 PM

Why is it that any blogger who supports the surge always tries to temper his enthusiam. We are winning, we are winning we are winning. Stop hedging. Hedging is for losers. The Defeatocrats and their allies never hedge. Neither should we

Posted by Eric | August 6, 2007 6:21 PM

I think there are a fair number of Americans out there who will only root for the winning team. You see it in sports as the stadiums swell to capacity when the team has a good year.

That instinct carries over to much more serious endeavors as well. The fact is many of our fellow countrymen will support the war as long as it's going well. Spirits were hight in the beginning. After a steady drumbeat of bad-news-only press, the people lost heart. Now that it seems we've turned the corner it's getting more popular.

This is no way to go about defending your civilization.

Posted by docjim505 | August 6, 2007 6:48 PM

GarandFan (love the name by the way; who DOESN'T love the M-1?): Yep. Suicide bomb in Iraq got lots of coverage today. Can't have people thinking that things are going well, can we? If the media had spent this much time wringing its hands over how many people were killed by V rockets in London, we'd have called off The Great Crusade sometime in the late summer of '44.

NahnCee: I understand your frustration, but I'd rather kill terrorists over there than have them killing us over here. As for the Iraqi government... OUR government has had over two hundred years of practice, but I don't hold it up as a model of efficiency. I think that the progress the Iraqis have made in a few short years is pretty good: how long after World War II were we still running Germany and Japan under pretty peaceful conditions?

Monkei and filistro: What Lurking Observer said! Ouchie...

Stargazer: I think you've got a good point. The libs like to make out that EVERYBODY hates the war and wants to get out because Bush lied, no WMD, Halliburton, blah-blah-blah. But there are quite a few people who want a TOUGHER war. I'm not talking about the libs who (falsely) lament that "we're not REALLY fighting" because we're not drafting 18 year-olds, but rather conservative Americans who want to see a little carpet bombing to show the terrorists and Iraqi sympathizers that, if you f*** with Uncle Sam, you're going get your ass kicked HARD.

Michael: Good point. We've allowed the libs to set the terms of the debate. We have been conditioned to be pessimistic because, if we show any signs of satisfaction at "good" news, it'll be thrown in our faces tomorrow when there's bad news. "You told us we were winning! You were WRONG! More Americans are dead! HAH-HAH-HAH!"

Eric: Yeah, fair-weather friends is a problem, but what can you do? Most Americans don't regard the war in Iraq as an existential battle that we've GOT to win. Given the relatively tiny size of our military, most people don't know anybody in uniform, so it's hardly personal for them. Indeed, I'd say the average Joe can name FAR more sports figures than he can American heroes in Iraq (Paul Smith, anybody? Leigh Ann Hester?).

We're fortunate that we're not feeling the hard hand of war, but it DOES kind of add an element of sureality to the whole thing.

Posted by red marilyn | August 6, 2007 6:53 PM

And the upward tick with the constant media drumbeat of inaccurate and/or incomplete coverage of the war. If the public had easy access to the success stories and figures related to kill and casualty ratios of the enemy versus Iraqi civilians, security forces and US forces the support for the war would increase exponentially.

Posted by Bennett | August 6, 2007 7:24 PM

We barely have a functioning government in this country so I don't think we should be too hard on the Iraqis for their deficiencies in that area.

Posted by filistro | August 6, 2007 7:38 PM

docjim, you mystify me.

I've been reading this blog for a long time and you've always struck me as a pretty bright guy. (Besides, I trust you. You're a doctor! ;-)

So... how do you think supporting and continuing this war can possibly be good for America?

Let's lay out the facts.

1.)There is no government in Baghdad. As of this morning, Maliki was begging a couple of the last Sunnis in sight to please come back to the playground... but they just kept going.

2.) Sure, there might be a government eventually, but given how long this one took to assemeble, there is ZERO possibility that a new one will emerge in time for the '08 elections back home.

3.) Given the fact that no political progress has been made or is even on the horizon, no victory is possible in Iraq. That's not my opinion but the expressed view of General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, SecDef Gates and anybody else with a say in this mess.

4.) Without a definitive victory or a significant troop drawdown, supporters of this war (ie Republicans) will be slaughtered at the polls next fall.

5.) The slaughter will lead to a government of Democrats who will control both Congress AND the White House.

Following the string from 1.) to 5.)... how can this possibly be good for America?

Please don't just say "stay the course, victory, Defeatocrats," etc etc etc. I'd really, truly like to know how you war supporters see any good coming out of this when there is no Iraqi government.

Posted by filistro | August 6, 2007 7:48 PM

BTW, looks like about 12 US troops killed in the past couple of days, and what's left of the Iraqi govt. vacationing in Europe.

I wonder how the next set of polls will look.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli | August 6, 2007 7:48 PM

I'm still marveling at this sentence from filistro before Lurking Observer shredded monkei's arguments.

Monkei makes perfect sense, as usual.


Posted by skeptical | August 6, 2007 7:52 PM

I don't know, going from 22% to 31% is certainly a trend, but kinda not much. It certainly seems believable that these unsustainable levels are having an effect.

The majority, by a bigger margin than elected the President in '04 want us out.

The government of Maliki is interrupting their vacations only to resign from the government. Militarily, we kick, no question about that. I think even the folks who thought it would be a bloody mess thought we'd kick butt all around, but for what?

I'm with NahnCee in thinking enough is enough, but I did actually think that before shock and awe. Actually, now that I think about it, even if we are going to nuke Iran, it seems not a very good place to have American troops while the mushroom clouds are forming.

Lurking, hey, nice shooting! Bullseye!

Captain, I don't get why these poll numbers are "good" news. Having an effect? 31% think we're having an effect? That seems abysmal. We're obviously having an effect, but to what end? The blessings of democracy got Hezb'allah elected to the Lebonese parliament, and Hamas to the Palestinian. To hand out free automatic weapons? I don't get the excitement about this. Congratulations, Michael, we won!

(I still don't get disparaging the military service of people with whom you don't agree politically.)

Posted by filistro | August 6, 2007 8:00 PM

Thanks for marvelling, Cannoli. :-)

Actually, I am a huge fan of Monkei on this board.

He reminds me of a guy who routinely, every day or so, rides up to the Hell's Angels clubhouse and parks his Honda scooter right in there among a few dozen mean, low-slung Harleys.

A guy like that might be crazy, but damn... he's BRAVE.

Posted by Joe | August 6, 2007 8:09 PM

Yes, militarily the surge is working, but the Maliki government is falling to pieces. The Sunni bloc has withdrawn, and I read that the Southern Provinces want to form a "Shiastan" along the lines of the autonomous Kurdistan. And yes, the Sunni tribes are killing the foreign Al Queda elements in Al Anbar, but these same tribes have no intention of joining the Shia dominated government of Maliki. The Sunni bloc left because they claim Maliki doesn't include them on any big decisions. We can "surge" for the next decade, it won't heal the rift between Sunni and Shia, a fact the war supporters will NEVER admit too.

Posted by Bennett | August 6, 2007 8:16 PM

"We can "surge" for the next decade, it won't heal the rift between Sunni and Shia, a fact the war supporters will NEVER admit too."

I might find the Sunni/Shi'a rift worrisome except it seems clear we aren't going to find a way to heal the rift between Dems and Repubs in our own Congress anytime soon either.

Perhaps we should hold ourselves to the same standard we seem to expect from the Iraqis.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli | August 6, 2007 8:33 PM

I wouldn't call it bravery. Dissenters here who can stick to the topic and avoid calling names seem to get pretty fair treatment most of the time. The only danger in the comment section is the possiblity of embarassment after your argument is dissected by a lurking observer, docjim, jerry, or one of many other astute commenters here. But that's assuming the person whose argument is being shredded is capable of embarassment. Never seems to bother the veteran lefty commenters. Possibly for some commenters when the cause is just then any non-sequiter is warranted. And if your argument is torn to pieces that just means it's time to switch topics. Or post in another thread for awhile.

Posted by skeptical | August 6, 2007 8:36 PM

I'm not following Bennett. We should arm all the factions in the red/blue caucuses? We should make everybody vote with a purple finger? What? Surge in Florida and Ohio? Explain.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | August 6, 2007 8:46 PM

Monkei said:

"But then again this is also the blog that most writers don't believe in polls ... unless it is like this one which supports them somehow."

Polls can be useful, as long as they are honestly done. But in the past 3 or 4 years, I have seen John Zogby admit that he polls on the weekends to favor Democrats, and he even went into the tank for one of the 2004 state Dem candidates.

And some polls, most specifically CBS News polls, have been found to be cooked if one actually bothers to read the methodology they use . In some cases, CBS sampled 14% more Democrats than Republicans in their "polling".

As for this new USA Today/Gallup Poll, there is no way of knowing its reliability, as they don't tell us anything except when they did it and how many people they called.

Posted by Bennett | August 6, 2007 8:51 PM

My point (to the extent I have one and I freely concede I often don't but then that's the beauty of the blogosphere) is that there are a fair number of comments here about the lack of a functioning government In Iraq, how there are factions who disagree, who will never come together, etc. I believe the same can be said of our own country. For example, I believe the Republicans and Democrats in the House are in a huge spat right now about possibly rigged voting on some bill and I think the Pubbies even walked out, or threatened to. It's an incredibly rancorous and partisan atmosphere in both chambers and very little of the people's business is being looked after.

Meanwhile, on the executive side we have a President who is horribly unpopular and gives new meaning to the term "lame duck". We're not going to see much in the way of accomplishments out of this administration before the end of his term. And we have already entered the 2008 presidential cycle with everybody and his brother out there shaking the can and digging up dirt on each other.

So the thing is, I think a visitor from another planet might look at our government and how we conduct ourselves and not think we have much to criticize anyone else about. Yet the Iraqis are expected to recover from decades of tyranny, oppression and war and achieve a "functioning" government to our liking according to our timetable with the threat of our precipitous withdrawal hanging over their heads because we've decided we've had just about enough of this war thing right now. Sometimes I wonder just who the heck we think we are? We glorious Americans.

Posted by jaeger51 | August 6, 2007 9:28 PM

You just wait. If the Islamic terrorists (and that's what they are, Islamic terrorists) get lucky just one more time...the mood will swing. There will be less worry about how we might possibly offend someone...and more urge to clean these people up. Most likely, if there is an upsurge in support, it IS because people sense that someone is actually doing something rather than useless patrolling that just makes targets out of our army. It took all the possible spinning by the media that they could do to keep 9/11 from being more of a Pearl Harbor event than it was. Why do you think they decided not to show that footage anymore? We take one more blow, and I think you will see a lot of support for FIGHTING the war. And then maybe someday it will be over. Rather than endless occupation.

Posted by The Yell | August 6, 2007 9:46 PM

"Let me know when America REALLY stands up to support this war and not this half-assed support we have given our troops so far. Let me know when we institute a draft, ration items, and fight this like it is the war to end all wars. Until then, it's all politics and it's all oil."

Why are you wasting time and electrical power commenting on blogs? You could be rummaging for aluminum cans! Get patriotic!

1) Iraq is a parliament. There is a permanent bureaucracy wholly separate of the ministries. Their notion of "government" is in line with the British, not the American. Just because a Cabinet dissolves during a vacation, does not mean the police went home and the banks closed.

2) The Iraqis have generally met that sort of political deadline in the past. The President, the head of state, is still there, so they can form a government anytime people step up and ask to serve.

3) Having local groups swing on our side is political progress. Having arguments hewed out while respecting their new constitution is progress. You are twisting people's words to fit the defeatist worldview that a legislative agenda chosen by the American Congress is the sine qua non of the Iraq war. That same American Congress can't move on its agenda.

This is how parliaments function. There was no popular vote bouncing Margaret Thatcher, remember. It was a sense of the parliament that her ministries had to be switched up, and so overnight she resigned and new ministers stepped up to govern until the next election. This is why I did not join the national tantrum when the Iraqis insisted on their vacation--this sort of backstage wrangling is what moves bills in parliaments. They don't dicker with a couple hundred guys. They dicker with a few dozen partisan chiefs, and those chiefs deliver their faction's votes en bloc.

Having a stalemated Cabinet break up looks sinister and catastrophic to Americans--but in parliamentary systems that is also, potentially, a form of progress.

4 & 5) Too many people forget there's two World Series between us and the next national election.

Posted by filistro | August 6, 2007 10:14 PM

Yell... I'm not sure I buy your theory about the extreme durability of a parliamentary system.

I am fortunate enough to have property in Canada where I spend a good bit of time, so I have an opportunity to watch a parliamentary system in action up close. It certainly seems pretty fragile... in fact the Canadian government can fall at the drop of a hat (or more specifically a vote of non- confidence.) After that an election needs to be called immediately and held, it seems, within a month or so.

It's hard to imagine a valid election being conducted in Iraq under present circumstances.

But about those two World Series... well, yes, that's certainly true. And (as we all know) a year is an eternity in politcis.

Still, I wouldnt invest too much in Republican party futures at this moment. Unless they can somehow figure a way out of this impasse, and pretty quickly.

Posted by Les Nessman | August 6, 2007 10:47 PM

According to the Weekly Standard:
Beauchamp recants. Now says his stories were just fabrications and exagerations with a 'smidgen of truth'.

Wonder how this will help the polls?

Posted by Ray | August 6, 2007 11:03 PM

Are there any poll results about what the Iraqi's think of the surge and it's effect to date? Remember, the Iraqis are the ones that will benefit the most from a success. I think their opinion is worth expressing in the press.

Posted by The Yell | August 6, 2007 11:13 PM

I wouldn't call it "extremely durable". I don't consider the regular turmoil and cynicism of parliaments to be strengths our American system lacks.

I just recognize the difference between running Iraq like Italy and total chaos.

Posted by richard mcenroe | August 7, 2007 12:00 AM

Guys, what are we worried about? We can pull out of Iraq. The "viral biological warfare" system Pelosi just earmarked for her district will keep us safe.

Posted by ClockIsRunning | August 7, 2007 12:14 AM

The increased support is probably a result of wishful thinking. As it was explained to the public, the Surge was to give the Iraqis breathing space to settle their political societies. Once that was done, we'd withdrawal. The American public is told it's working. American causalities are down (even though that isn't the metric you should use to measure success. Measuring sectarian violence should be the one to use, but that's a loser stat to this administration). If so, let's get out there. Of course this is bull. Sectarian violence is on going. The foreigners that populate Al Queda in Iraq have lost support, but that doesn't mean Sunni insurgent groups have stopped their campaign against Americans or Shi'ites. A political settlement looks doubtful. And the American public will realize the Surge failed and it will be time to go. Or, why don't we just declare the Surge a success and lock ourselves to the FOB near the oil fields. It really doesn't matter, our Army is nearly exhausted and we'd have to draw down as a practical matter.

Posted by skeptical | August 7, 2007 12:43 AM

Yell, you make good points about a parliamentary system, certainly, except the police do go home (to their neighborhood militias), the banks in Sunni areas aren't being cut into the monetary system, something like a million are in refugee camps, another two are displaced within the country, neighborhoods are being ethnically cleansed furthering the refugee problem, the bureaucrats that will show up to work in the Green Zone won't solve the problems outside, sewage, water, trash collection is spotty depending on whom you know, and only a fraction of the rebuilding has kept apace. If it weren't a war-torn country, a political crisis would be difficult, but only a fraction of the ministries are functioning, and they are being cleansed by Sadr and other gangsters of his ilk. Anyone can and does set up a road block and have their own little check point.

Why are we using our blood and treasure to protect these people? I was listening to Robert Novak, arch-conservative that he is, hawking his book, who says this is the worst foreign policy debacle he's ever seen (and he's seen more than half the 20th Century's foreign policy debacles), that we shouldn't have gone in, and we should have left when we kicked Saddam.

No doubt the public opinion will shift if we get hit again like 9/11, but if it was irrational to go into Iraq (as it was right to hit al Qaida in Afghanistan) then, and we aren't helping them to rebuild (not because it is any kind of a military failure, now; it isn't, now. It was when Rumsfeld refused to secure the borders and stop the looting), why would another hit, and another outpouring of wanting to take action be a good thing? If we don't spend that wisely, we'll blow it again.

Being over there wasting three quarters of a billion isn't protecting our cities here, building a wall here, upgrading our security here, making the Immigration and Naturalization function here, beefing up border patrol here, guarding our ports and waterways here, making the planes run on time here.

Conservatives like Novak and Buckley give me faith in conservatives, on this issue, anyway.

I absolutely agree with the business that we haven't, as a nation, gotten behind this effort--no rationing, no huge portion of GNP going into mobilizing, no draft, no real belief on the part of Congress or the President that anyone needs to worry about a thing. They won't even raise your taxes. But if we did that, it shouldn't be for Iraq, it should be against the people who hit us, for the people plotting to hit us, for the people with weapons aimed at us, and nothing in Iraq before or now can reach us, unless we stay in the crossfire of their civil war. I think in, what was it, 2002 they increased the size of the military by 20,000? And not again since? 20,000? But the president has extended the tours of duty of those serving, tried to hold down the cost of combat pay, etc. They aren't expecting anymore increases in the use of the Veteran's Administration medical system than they are now. Shouldn't we be, like, concerned about this? Even the surge at this level isn't sustainable, and was never envisioned to be.

Re: polls. Yeah, yeah, methodology, percentages of error, etc., etc. They've been pretty accurate in the ball park sort of way that they are just a photograph at a particular point in time of the available data. The fact that more see the surge having an effect hasn't meant that most think this was a valuable exercise of American power. Most don't. I absolutely believe that data (roughly), and I absolutely think this has been a fool's errand even when I thought the majority were being sold a bill of goods. Zogby has gotten data where others have feared to tread across the Arabian peninsula and in the armed forces, among other places. No, he's not completely methodologically error free. None of them are. Apparently neither are American elections, but the results are certainly meaningful.

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli | August 7, 2007 2:29 AM

Skeptical, my main complaint with you regarding Iraq is that you're being incredibly short-sighted. 1.5 billion muslims in the world. Possibly at least 10% of them hate us -- a pretty conservative number -- and of that group if only 5% are the seriously motivated head-chopping types willing to fight and risk death for jihad then 5% of 10% of 1 1/2 billion ... that's 7 1/2 million fanatics worldwide. Minimum. 7 1/2 million people with varying backgrounds, some wealthy, some educated, scattered across the world. And all the time they need to organize, dream, plan, and practice some way, any way to punish the infidels.

But for you the problem is a couple thousand fanatics in a no-man's land in Pakistan. And actually I wonder if maybe your're less interested in the problem al qaeda represents and more interested in scoring political points.

As long a violent brand of islam remains popular in parts of the world the danger for the rest of us isn't going away. Certainly not once bin laden is dead. 9/11 proves that we can't prevent every plot against us. And even if we could take out al qaeda tomorrow those fanatics would be replaced eventually. Even if the enemy was concentrated in one location and wore uniforms I'm not sure we could defeat a million of them let alone several million. This is a fight that needs to involve muslims who share some of our basic values and/or are unhappy with the subversion of their religion. Iraq and Afghanistan were lucky or unlucky enough to become our newest allies. And the fact that suicide bombers are blowing up children in Baghdad just confirms my take on the problem. It's a clash within Islam and we shouldn't be bearing the brunt of it.

One other thing I feel like mentioning, I'm one of those dopey swing voters -- I really don't care much for either party. There's so often a big gap between what either side promises and what is actually done. But I don't find the criticism of this administration or of the republican party all that persuasive. What am I supposed to do? Vote for the party that can't even acknoweledge we're in deep shit? When democrats leave their happy pretendland and realize the danger we face then I'll have more options.

Posted by The Yell | August 7, 2007 2:41 AM

How much airtime would Novak get to plug a book about the SECOND-WORST debacle he'd ever seen?

Posted by docjim505 | August 7, 2007 4:33 AM

RE: filistro's August 6, 2007 7:38 PM:

I think The Yell's discussion about parliamentary systems was an excellent rebuttal, but let me add a couple of more points.

1. You spend an awful lot of time talking about (salivating over) how this is bad for the GOP at the polls, how it'll cost the GOP in the next election, etc, etc. Funny: I thought the topic of discussion was a slight increase in the number of Americans who think Iraq is going, if not well, then at least not a total catastrophe. More broadly, I thought the discussion was about how to win in Iraq.

Fixating on short-term political advantage is typical of liberals, and a good reason why they cannot be trusted with national security.

2. The complaints about the Iraqi government going on vacation or blocks of Iraqi parliamentarians leaving the government represent more goalpost shifting. Consider: a few years ago, we were ASSURED that Iraqis never have elections. When they did, we were ASSURED that they would NEVER be able to form a government. When they did, we were ASSURED that the Sunnis would NEVER join. When they did, we were ASSURED that the government would NEVER function, and that the Iraqi security forces would NEVER be able to take ANY responsibility for defending their own country. For the past several months, we've CONSTANTLY been ASSURED that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war. Funny: I thought people having a civil war with each other shot it out, not went on vacation.

Well, the Iraqi government DOES function (I recall reading that they've passed more bills in Baghdad than SanFran Nan and Co. have passed in DC this year). The ISF ARE taking more responsibility. Is Iraq a Middle Eastern Switzerland? Of course not. Have they got a long way to go? Certainly. Am I happy that the Iraqi government is having these rifts? No, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel. It could be a sign of disintegration... or it could be quite a normal state of affairs.

But to people invested in defeat, who have preached gloom and doom since day one, who take delight in every bit of bad news from Iraq, the resignation / boycott of some Iraqi MP's must be a cause for glee almost as good as a dozen dead American soldiers.

Posted by Scott Malensek | August 7, 2007 6:55 AM


only 3% of Americans approve of the way Congress has handled the war

THREE PERCENT! given the margin of error, it might as well be a full on ZERO.

Guess Americans want a New Direction in Iraq, and they don't want the same ole same ole "RUNAWAY" from Democrats.

Sucks to be a Dem leader next month when Gen P gives his speech.


Posted by Angry Dumbo | August 7, 2007 10:10 AM

Is Iraq headed towards the 80% solution? The bastard child of Condi Rice and Dick Cheney? Cutting a deal with Iran? American foreign policy couldn't get any more cynical than this could it?

For your consideration:

I know nothing.

Posted by exDemo | August 7, 2007 1:54 PM


i won't let you get away wiht craven lies in passing like:

3.) Given the fact that no political progress has been made or is even on the horizon, no victory is possible in Iraq. ..."

The surest change is that all 27 Sunni tribes in Anbar and many more in Diyallah and Baghdad province have changed sides and aim their weapons at their former allies. In Diyallah, the prime insurgency of the ex Baathissts fighting to restore thier poliitcal rights , the 1920 Revolution have done the same.

What does it that it take tthem o do to define "political reconciliation" for you, anyways?. Promise to place their prayer rugs Westerly and worship Pinch and Hillary and Markos Moulitsas?

There is not any more definitive way to vote than with your arms and lives as well as voting with your feet..

Posted by Scott Malensek | August 7, 2007 5:17 PM

Fillistro seems to hope that by saying it, it will be true ala Peter Pan and never never land

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