Thursday, June 23, 2005

But Do They Heart the War?

Below is a copy of an e-mail I sent to the authors of the popular conservative blog PowerLine:
Dear John (and Scott and Paul),

I'm writing in response to your post "Americans Heart Gitmo", in which you referred to the USA Today/ Gallup poll showing a majority of the public gives the Gitmo center a favorable rating. I think these results are to be expected; common sense tells us that--barring some outrageous scandal, which no evidence yet available suggests--people aren't going to feel sorry about the treatment of terrorists.

However, another question from the poll produces results that merit an inquiry: question 29 asks "Do you favor or oppose the war in Iraq?" In March, the response was split dead-even at 47% on each side. The ensuing three months have apparently taken a toll though; the public stance is now at only 39% in favor compared to a whopping 59% who oppose.

Don't get me wrong--I was and still am not against U.S. involvement in Iraq. However, if you are going to celebrate when the public view is in accordance with yours, you must also take into account when the opposite is true. This large margin of disapproval for the war in Iraq suggests two things:
  1. The Democrats are not just going after the "most liberal 37% of the population"; it is possible they are tapping into a growing segment of the population that is becoming discontent with the current situation.

  2. This discontent, brought about by the lack of progress since the last milestone in Iraq (free elections), indicates that we need to revamp our current strategy. I am not of the opinion that the situation is hopelessly lost; not even close, actually. But I am deeply concerned that we may not be putting enough effort into making sure that Iraq has a secure, sustainable future. As to what needs to be done differently, I can't pretend to be an expert, but I feel sure that it does not merely entail a PR offensive here in the U.S. to convince a skeptical public. After all, this is the future of democracy in the Middle East were talking about here.
I am curious to know whether you think my assessment here is accurate, and in any case, what are your specific recommendations as to our strategy in Iraq?

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