December 07, 2005

No National Consensus On Iraq

From Dick Morris:

After a newspaper ran Mark Twain's obituary, the story goes, he protested that the reports of his death had been "greatly exaggerated"; so, too, the media accounts of an emerging national consensus against the War in Iraq are considerably at variance with what Americans are actually thinking.

The most recent Fox News poll, completed Nov. 30, suggests that while half of Americans would like to see a schedule for withdrawal of U.S. troops, a majority feel the war has done good things — and a larger majority feel that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when Bush told us there were.

By 52 percent to 27 percent, Americans believe that "the world would be worse off if the U.S. military had not taken action in Iraq and Saddam Hussein were still in power." By 59-20, they feel Iraq would've been worse off if we hadn't acted.

Asked what they believe about WMDs in Iraq, 61 percent said there were still such weapons there or that there had been WMDs in the country but that they were destroyed or moved. Only 28 percent agree that Iraq had no WMDs.

These data show that Americans are still largely in sympathy with our objectives in Iraq and accepting of our reasons for entering the war — two good reasons for the Democrats not to overplay their hand in opposing it.

The irony of this war is that the normal definitions of words do not really apply. "Success," for example, does not mean military victory on the battlefield, but a political victory in creating a stable, democratic, elected government in Iraq that can wage its own war and protect itself against terrorists. For America, "peace" does not mean the end of fighting, it just means that an Iraqi government will be battling its own terrorists with less and less American intervention or support.

Similarly, "defeat" does not mean that the terrorists prevail militarily — but that they force a political decision to withdraw American troops before the Iraqi government and military can take over the task of self-defense.

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