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Parsing the Polls: Iraq, Vietnam and Public Opinion

The idea for this week's "Parsing" came over the weekend as I scanned a summary of Gallup polling on the question of whether it was a mistake for the United States to send military troops into Iraq.

According to the organization's most recent poll, which was in the field April 7-9, 57 percent of respondents said the Iraq war was a mistake, while only 42 percent said it was not. Contrast that with the first time Gallup asked the question (March 24-25, 2003) when only 23 percent said it was a mistake and a whopping 75 percent said it wasn't.

The Gallup summary showed how respondents reacted to the "mistake" question for wars in Afghanistan, the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict, Vietnam and Korea -- providing an interesting historical frame for how public opinion changes (and, in many cases, erodes) during a time of war.

First, let's take a look at how the American public has fluctuated on the question of whether the Iraq war was a mistake.

As we mentioned above, the American public was overwhelmingly supportive of the conflict in its earliest days. The first time Gallup showed a majority of voters calling the war a mistake was in late June 2004 -- just after the bipartisan 9/11 Commission released its report concluding that there was no credible evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq -- an unstated, if not implicit pillar of the Bush administration's case for deposing Saddam Hussein.

For the remainder of 2004 and through the first six months of 2005, a narrow majority of Americans public told Gallup the war was not a mistake. But that changed between July and August 2005 when two Gallup surveys showed widely disparate resuts. The first poll, in the field from July 22-24, showed 46 percent of the sample said sending troops to Iraq was a mistake compared with 53 percent who said it was not. Roughly a month later (Aug. 28-30), the numbers had flip-flopped (53 percent believed it was a mistake, 46 percent did not).

Since last August, only one Gallup poll found a majority of respondents saying the invasion was not a mistake -- a Dec. 9-11 survey that came in the midst of a series of speeches by President Bush and other administration figures explaining how the U.S. would win the conflict.

It's impossible to pinpoint what event (or series of events) in the summer of 2005 caused the change in public opinion about the war. One possible explanation could be the massive amount of media attention that Cindy Sheehan, a woman who had lost a son in Iraq, drew with her vigil outside of the Bush ranch in Texas.

Comparisons between the Iraq war and the three conflicts that came before it -- Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia and the first Persian Gulf war -- are difficult. For one, the U.S. military is still heavily committed in Afghanistan and continues to provide some support for NATO-led peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. Meanwhile, the 1991 war to liberate Kuwait was a relatively short-term operation.

Nine in ten voters said the war in Afghanistan was not a mistake in Gallup polls conducted in November 2001 and January 2002. That had dropped slightly a few years later when a survey conducted in July 2004 found that almost one in four said it had been a mistake to send troops.

Americans were never enamored with the U.S. involvement in Yugoslavia; in two polls conducted by Gallup in April and June 1999 -- the height of a NATO bombing campaign to halt Serbia's ethnic cleansing of Kosovo -- 42.5 percent called the decision to intervene a mistake, while 52 percent said it had not been.

Public opinion on the first Persian Gulf War remained remarkably consistent with 76 percent saying that it was not a mistake to commit troops to the region in the first Gallup poll to test the question (conducted Sept. 10-11, 1990); 82 percent were supportive of the war in the final Gallup poll (July 18-21, 1991).

Without question, the most apt comparison for the current state of public opinion toward Iraq comes from the Vietnam war -- a conflict that continues to haunt the American psyche three decades later, most recently with the 2004 presidential campaign (questions about Bush's Guard service and Kerry's bona fides as a hero).

In the mid-1960s, the American public showed considerable patience with the decision to send troops to Vietnam, with a majority saying it was not a mistake to do so in most of the Gallup polls conducted in 1965,1966 and 1967. It was not until the Tet Offensive in early 1968 that Americans turned against the conflict -- and the majority remained opposed throughout the remainder of the war.

John Mueller, a professor at Ohio State University, penned an article for Foreign Affairs magazine last last year in which he compared the erosion of public opinion toward the wars in Iraq, Vietnam and Korea. (The Post's senior political reporter, Dan Balz, wrote a story about Mueller's findings late last year.)

"American public opinion became a key factor in all three wars, and in each one there has been a simple association: as casualties mount, support decreases. Broad enthusiasm at the outset invariably erodes," wrote Mueller. "The only thing remarkable about the current war in Iraq is how precipitously American public support has dropped off. "

Mueller pointed out that the first time more than half of the public thought the Iraq war was a mistake (January 2005) approximately 1,500 American troops had been killed. Contrast that to the same turning point in Vietnam (January 1968) when 20,000 U.S. military personnel had already perished. "This lower tolerance for casualties is largely due to the fact that the American public places far less value on the stakes in Iraq than it did on those in Korea and Vietnam," Mueller wrote.

In the same article, Mueller argued that the history of public opinion in Vietnam and Korea does not provide much hope for the Bush administration's ability to turn the numbers around. "For support to rise notably, many of those now disaffected by the war would need to reverse their position, and that seems rather unlikely: polls that seek to tap intensity of feeling find that more than 80 percent of those opposed to the war 'strongly' feel that way," he wrote. "If you purchase a car for twice what it is worth, you will still consider the deal to have been a mistake even if you come to like the car."

Mueller provides a glimmer of hope for congressional Republicans seeking reelection amid the souring public sentiment about Iraq, noting that "Democrats attempted to capitalize on the widespread outrage over Nixon's invasion of Cambodia in 1970 but were unable to change things much." In that election, Democrats picked up nine House seats while Republicans achieved a two-seat gain in the Senate. Two years later, President Nixon won a landslide reelection victory over the avowedly anti-war George McGovern, and House Republicans were able to narrow the Democratic majority.

What does all of this mean? A look at past public opinion relating to extended military conflicts casts serious doubt on the Bush administration's ability to change how the war in Iraq is viewed by the average American. President Bush will likely leave office in 2008 with a majority of Americans convinced the war in Iraq was a mistake, but the bigger question is will he leave it with majorities in both houses of Congress, and, if so, how large will those margins be.

This November's election will provide us a first glimpse about whether voters plan to punish all Republicans for their support of a war that a majority of people see as a mistake. One complicating factor in that equation is that 29 Democrats in the Senate and 81 Democrats in the House supported the use of force resolution against Iraq in 2002 -- making it a hard sell as a purely partisan political issue.

Finally, an apology. This will be the only post of the day on The Fix. I'm headed down to Shad Planking in Wakefield, Va. -- an annual gathering featured bony fish, cold beer and lots (and lots) of political chatter. I'll get my fill on two of the three (The Fix doesn't drink on the job) and report back on Thursday.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 19, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Gen McAuliff actually, but other than that I'm nto sure I follow your rambling

"The thing of it is battles are historically fought out in the open ,soldiers of uniforn in some type of regimentated order.Here though and however it is more of a hunter and killer kind of a thing."
It's not how a good portion of the American revolution was fought. It's not how Vietnam was fought. Most wars aren't out in the open among regimented forces. War is chaos, and war is hell. It requires strategic vision to outline an end state and operational and tactical planning designed to achieve desired effects to reach that strategic objective. Until that strategic objective is defined and tactical objectives are established to lead to that objective, all the fighting in the world won't make one bit of difference, it's just killing for the sake of killing. that's why body counts don't work, that's why it didn't matter that we won every single battle we fought in Vietnam but still lost the war. We need to define what winning is, and we need defined objectives to reach that point.

Right now, we don't have any, other than to hold Iraq together. That's not a military strategy because success isn't dependent on us, it's dependent on someone else (the Iraqis, in this case). Nothing we can do right now militarily will achieve the objective of creating aDemocratic Iraq. All we can hope for is not to lose and hope things work out, and there's NO way to win when that is your objective. It's the problem we ran into in Vietnam, and why Iraq looks so familiar.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I think Patton used the term(nuts) The way to win a war is to win it. If you have no direction than there isn,t any direction. Sometimes no direction is the best direction ,But that only applies when riding a bicycle.You should try riding a bicycle ,than try having no direction to mind on it, see how far you can go,and see where it leads.You cannot fool people with the wars of world in history.And all of your opinion there does not win battles.Smart guys are also winners in battles when they are with the right people.No one is that smart in battle.The smartest thing there in battle is the win.So it all went as planed.So the generals talk about the history of all battles that have occured in history. The most recent in how it will compare.Or the truth is they thank God for the sucess and the troops and continued success in future battles and the winning end to the war,.Venator et. vassator, miss/spelled but it may mean hunter and killer,.A Latin phrase.The thing of it is battles are historically fought out in the open ,soldiers of uniforn in some type of regimentated order.Here though and however it is more of a hunter and killer kind of a thing.Identifying the enmey is not so easy,they seem like civilians.It therefore takes more than ones philosophy to keenly identifi the enemy.It takes real talent,real training, and real special people.It takes real leadership,and real leaders.All with one cause in mind,just who than is the teacher now?Who will they fallow? Does your view there have weight and mass? As General George Patton once said, NUTS.

Posted by: Deskjet | April 21, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm primarily sticking to the overall military strategy (or lack thereof) and how to get it back on track. Nut if you want Bush's explanation and rationale, I doubt there's many people out there who deny the neocon worldview, to include Bush, and how it has driven the policy in Iraq (he said as much in his second inaugural). Bush and the neocons base their worldview on Fukiyama et al's notion of democratic peace theory, the notion that democracies don't fight one another. They believe in an almost Trotskyist manner that democracy can be transported and thrust upon nations through overwhelming US force, and thus by using our military as a catalyst to spread democracy, we will spread liberalism and enlightenment, thereby undermining the support of terrorism and prevailing eventually in GWOT.

Nevermind that the whole idea suffers from numerous flaws. It negates correlation-causation fallacy that democracy breeds liberalism and enlightened though (normally it works the other way around). It ignores the fact that democracy requires educated citizenry who place notions like individualism above tribalism and sectarianism to foster debate to reach consensus (which is what Democracy is really about, otherwise elections are simply a way of counting factions which inevitably will lead to further strife), and it ignores the fact that democracy requires messaging and organization. Following years of opressive rule by dictators, the only people with such organizations left are the mullahs and the fundamentalists (because liberal reformers, communists, and all other political movements were chased out by the dictators who saw them as a threat, while the mullahs thrived because their tacit approval was necessary for the dictators to remain in power (When Saddam became threatened, he'd declare Jihad despite being a secular leader-religion is the opiat of the masses).

On top of all this, the unilatera manner in which we waged this war ignored Thucididies warning about hubris from the History of the Pelloponesian Wars. Might does not make right, and by pressing your agenda in such a manner and forcing all neutrals to pick sides, you will only isolate them and strengthen your opponent in the process. All these reasons and more are why we got into this mess.

What you're looking for is why were we, the public, not aware this is what was going on all along? That's the right question, and more people should be held accountable than just Bush. He pushed the agenda, but by not calling him on it, others are also culpable. This includes the media for failing to ask the right questions, the opposition Democrats for failing to do their jobs and being more concerned about election cycles. Republicans who forced a vote immediately before the election thereby cutting off any meaningful debate of the subject (unlike Bush's father, who waited until after the 1990 election to press the war authorization).

The fact is, Hussein was a horrible guy, we should all have hoped he would be removed at some point, but we should have recognized the difficulty in doing so (as we did in 1991), the greater strategic issues that prevailed at the time, and considered other forms of American power besides military strength to do the job. We should have kept him in the box, used the post-911 political environment to enforce it, finished the job with bin Laden and the various Islamic terror groups, and then have an honest debate about American and our strategy, then look at what to be done with Iraq. Bush chose instead to go after Iraq ASAP because it's what he wanted to do, and no one stood in his way. That's why we're where we are now.

Posted by: Michael | April 21, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Last Post. You Micheal may have overlooked another central point in the over all issue at hand, that being war. First question keeping it simple ,why exactly are we in this war. Suddam was located in and within his hole in the ground,we also recall the mars bars in Seattle Wa. And ah, we found no nukes. The situation that took us to track down Suddam was the 9/11 attack situation,and global terrorism .Than without hesitation the central point of focus became establishing democracy in Iraq. This shift is still non sensical in how it came about and furthermore requires further explination on the part of the Bush adminstration .Mr. Bush took this nation to war because the 9/11 attack situation happened and an act of war had occured within the United States. this gave the president the support of both oouses and the people by a given majority.We as a nation have been misslead by the president ,and that remains the issue.

Posted by: Deskjet | April 21, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Setting specific timetables, unfortunately, gives opposition precise intel to plan future operations.

I agree that this is a well-defined strategy with rational thought behind it.

However, relocation of troops in Iraq will probably be to Iran if things keep going as they are."

Which opposition? The key is to separate the conflicts (the war on terror and the sectarian strife in Iraq). We will continue indefinately fighting elements of AQI that exist in Iraq, but we make clear that the formation of a new government is for the Iraqis to sort out. We've invested in them for three years, and will continue to do so militarily in the short run and by other methods in the long run, but as for military support we must look to our own strategic position and for our own interests. We're still fighting a global war, and we still have other counties we're not at war with but we need to leverage against. Besides that, timetable or not, they're just gonna try to cause trouble and wait us out anyways, it doesn't matter if we set dates or not. At least by seetting dates well in advance, we push in advance that it's not retreat, it's handing the war and responsibilities off in a planned and somewhat organized manner.

The problem with this is, it undermines the neocon argument that really led to this war in the first palace and that they are pushing behind the scenesto move into Iran- not really WMD, but regime change (WMD is a scare tactic to get popular support behind it, as I said in my previous post, but probably has little to do with the calculus at the White House). Iran is probably years away from a weapon, even if everything goes right (unless they have outside help, in which case it's the outside help we need to pressure and not just Iran). Why would Bush, with his whole presidency riding on Iraq, throw away any chance of success there knowing that the minute we invade Iran the majority Shi'ites of Iraq will turn on us, likely killing thousands of Americans, while we press a war against a much larger, stronger, more geographically challenging nation with less support for war both internationally and domestically? As much as people badmouth Bush for being wreckless, tyhat's just suicidal.

But, then again, that's why the argument Kerry should have made last time around to make the road to war In Iraq relevant and not just complaining in hindsight is that Bush simply cannot be trusted to make these decisions again with Iran and North Korea still out there. That would also allow him to explain his vote, that it was to give Bush leverage to push a diplomatic solution that he and the Deomcrats who voted for it thought they had a good faith agreement on. He double crossd them last time, so how can he be trusted the next time?

Posted by: Michael | April 21, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Now, lets compare the differance between the military funding and the strength in man power of the military in this country,year 1973 and today.Durning the Nixon adminstration befor presidential powers were lets say reduced by congress,and the military budget was soring high into the sky.Vietnam was undergoing evacuation,the Vietnam war had ended.Inflation was high,the old pocket books were not looking so good.The oil embargo was a happening thing.You may recall gas rationing at the pumps.Our military troop statiss was still at opitmal though the budget cuts were on the table.We may have thought Nixons intrests were diplomatic relations in China,little did we know that the Middle East was the big cheese.Inflation, cutting the military budget, our armed forces still at opitmal.The White House was deeply involved in Middle Eastern affairs and Aferica.And the President at the time had his hands right down into it.By Febubary 1973 something changed ,by March 73,something changed again,almost as if the plug to the power had been pulled out of the power inlet.This though and however is from the outside of this country looking in.I would have thought to wonder ,just what ever in the world are they up to? WATERGATE.The old power outage.I would suppose if a mistake never happened ,than you cannot make the same mistake twice.At the same time I would seriously question that.One thing is for certain ,if we pulled out of this today,terrorism will indeed continue,just as it has since way back then.

Posted by: Deskjet | April 21, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Scott Ritter parses the polls on Iraq:

"I’m saying Americans don’t know enough about anything to have a well-informed opinion; this is all superficial. At the end of the day, yeah, we don’t like to get our asses kicked. We have a lot of national pride that’s based around the notion that we can kick anybody’s ass—we’re the biggest, baddest boys on the block. And in Iraq, we’re not winning, so a lot of Americans have their ruffles up. I guarantee you, had we invaded Iraq, had it gone easily—let’s say it went as easily as it appeared to go; we got rid of Saddam, we bring down the statue and peace and prosperity breaks out—there’d be a small, little element in the so-called anti-war movement; they’d be screaming about violation of law, etc. They’d be shouted down by the vast majority of Americans who would thump their chests with national pride and say, 'No, we did the right thing. To hell with international law. We got rid of Saddam. We’ve instilled democracy. And it’s a good thing we did.'

Of course, things have gone sour, and now a lot of Americans are jumping on the bandwagon of “Hey, we shouldn’t have gone there.” But, again, at what point in time, I ask these newfound converts to the anti-war movement, did this become a bad war? See, that’s a key question people have to ask. I say it was a bad war the day we invaded Iraq, because it’s an illegal war. It’s totally out of keeping with my personal vision of what America stands for—you know, a nation of laws, the rule of law; we stand for individual freedoms and liberties and justice; we stand for the Bill of Rights; we stand for a whole bunch of things. But we don’t stand for planning and implementing wars of aggression.

I don’t think America represents a nation that embraces war crimes, and a lot of people were willing to sweep all this under the rug had we won, had we been victorious, which tells me that they have a superficial understanding of what the United States represents, or they don’t agree with what the United States represents and they have a new vision of what America should be—perhaps a global empire. Who knows."

The 100%-vindicated Scott Ritter, who has been proved right on every count, has plenty more to say. As usual, he is outspoken, utterly sincere, and completely accurate.

Posted by: OD | April 20, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

And unfortunately there are WMDs being created there and they definately have the will to use them. Scares the H out of me.

Posted by: Dan | April 20, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

To Drindl,

Nowhere in my comments did I say I wasn't an American. You read what I said and made an obviously incorrect assumption. Being and opinionated ASS appears to be what you are good at so continue to impress all of us.

For the record I fought for the United States, was born in Orlando Florida and lived there most of my life. At the moment I am working for an AMERICAN company outside of the US.

And this being a BLOG soliciting different opinions from all persons allows me to share mine publicly, hell even your opinions, as infantile as they are we welcome. But next time do you think you could find a more suitable word to use than "Fuck", or is your vocabulary that limited?

Posted by: Looking from the Outside In | April 20, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

In conclusion to my post I don,t think the war was ever a good idea.The 9/11 attack situation required force ,no doubt about that ,at the same time the 9/11 attack situation has been on the table for more than thirty years ,for a fact since the seventys.From where I sit ,when George Bush bypassesd Vietnam when he addressed the nation ,mentioning ww2,korea,so on bypassing vietnam than continuing back as far as the revolutionary war,he is also sidestepping ,avoiding something else inside events within the Nixon adminstration.That was known as the oil embargo. The orgins of origination in the form of a plan or a possible master plan and the master plan was all about the terrorist threat.This is also to say since 1973 of record ,in all this time we are in this war with no clear mission.This means to me they have no idea what they are doing.They just don,t know anymore now than they did in 1973.So you may ask why is that. Or you may ask, if they knew that,than why was there no counter plan to fed off the terrorist airline attack.Or you may think thats a lie because if they knew that than ,they would have used a form of electronic surveillance either C-I-A. or military.On the other hand if you know this is true than you had and have to have faith in both the congress and the senate,reguardless to your party perference. This conflict doesn,t compare to Vietnam,though it is comparing because we have nothing else to compare it to.We are in a psychological war,the battle tactics are all about psychological warfare.The psychological impact effects everybody.The thing about WW11 is this country was prepared for war.Everybody contributed ,people went without,but they were involved.The Roosevelt adminstration took it to the people.The Bush adminstration will ask us to place our trust in an adminstration and a president that offers no clear agenda ,no clear mission for the troops.No clear reason to carry on with a war that will seem to bounce from one middle eastern country to another.Geographicaly it is indeed nonsensical.The vice predident is on the campaign trail donating moneys for R seats and spending tax payers moneys for the trip expense,$7000.000 mabe a million in Washington state .Stopping at a airforce base to commend the troops. Those same troops that are undermaned,underfunded,lacking of the necessary equipment and being sent over to Iran or Iraq and who knows where else.

Posted by: Deskjet | April 20, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey Sandy, seems people like you fit right in with the Bush doctrine, hear no evil, see no evil, but they do talk evil, that is instead of telling the truth they run around waving the flag and spewing crap about how patriotic they are and those of us who see this war in Iraq for what it truly is are somehow unpatrioti.Except those of us who see this administration for what it really is, a bunch of corporate idiots with their fingers on the trigger who never fought in a war, nor had to work hard and play by the rules because their daddy's gave them everything and when they broke it he gave em something else to screw up, only this time it's an entire country and population of people. I hope you don't live somewhere that is going to be flooded or burned up any time soon becuase if you do your going to be out waving your hands in the air asking for help from the government you thought could do no wrong. You agree with such tactics as smearing "real" war heros so long as it meets your end. And speaking of weed, I think that's what got your commander in chief in so much trouble in the first place, that and those lines of cocaine he snorted have damaged his brain, but pick up a bible and recite a verse and wholly cow your a born again who knows whats best for the rest of us. I think that most Americans have seen through these idiots and know that there will always be simple minded soles like yourself willing to send someone else's kid off to be killed or maimed in the name of 'OIL'and who will call it Patriotic. Don't think to hard on this you might hurt yourself!

Posted by: Sue F | April 20, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Setting specific timetables, unfortunately, gives opposition precise intel to plan future operations.

I agree that this is a well-defined strategy with rational thought behind it.

However, relocation of troops in Iraq will probably be to Iran if things keep going as they are.

Posted by: RMill | April 20, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

This bears repeating:
"As for the dead, more US soldiers died in the first two-and-a-half years of the Iraq war than in the first four years of US involvement in Vietnam."

Bush lies, who dies? Some of my friends, some of my friends friends. And for what? If this is such a "noble war" why aren't the children of the people who VOTED for the war in the Army or Marines? Thought so.

And why did Bush BAN cameras at Dover? Talk about manipulation of the press. He doesn't want us to see their coffins and doesn't want us as a NATION to pause and respect them.

He wants us to forget. And we never will.

Posted by: Stacey | April 20, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"My suggestion is we lay out a time table of 6 mos to a year, at which point we will relocate the vast majority of our forces to a nearby base of operations (either Bahrain or Qatar will work), leave Spec Ops in country to fight the terrorists, some additional troops to advise the Iraqi Army but not in a combat capacity, and let the Iraqis sink or swim. If they sink, we rapidly redeploy forces to prevent chaos from spreading. Until this happens, the Iraqis have little incentive to do the work for themselves, and we have no way of measuring whether what we’re doing is successful or not. It’s not about retreat, it’s about pressing the Iraqis to step up. Until they do, we’re just holding on praying that it doesn’t fall apart."

Michael, this may be one of the best damn exit strategies I've seen.

Posted by: Dan | April 20, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

no prob, oh and since I never got wounded, I think the people you should thank are people like my friend Dan, another Dem, who's now 25 percent wounded and still serving - he's going officer since he got his law degree and can accept CFR.

People like him are the ones you should thank.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 20, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Will in Seattle: Thanks for the info! That's what I was afraid of.

RMill: Thanks for the typology link

Elizabeth: Matthew 5:9 to you. A conscience is always helpful. More focus would help though.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | April 20, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

All of this talk about "the liberal media" is laughable. IS R. Murdoch liberal? Is his cable networks, and his numerous news outlets (the biggest being FOX NEWS) liberal? Not by ANY stretch of our imagination.
DO Iraqis love us, and want us there? Recently, an Iraqi man was speaking to our college class, and merely by his tone and body langusge you could tell his disdain. They are tolerating us in their midst of civil unrest. He said since, the invasion, gambling is higher, drinking (which is forbidden by their Holy Quran) is becoming more prevalent in their country. Jobs are scarce. The new graduates of the Iraqi police academy, are in fear for their lives, and the lives of their families, and they will not pursue much criminal activity. How can we go in to a country and try to dictate (yes, I use the word DICTATE purposely) how their government should be run, when the US "powers that be" have no knowledge of this culture. That is why so many other nations are becoming disenchanted with the US. We are ethnocentrists who are constantly butting into matters that are none of our business. Yes, as Americans, we are apalled at the autrocities that many of these world leaders do to their citizens, but if we invade all of these countries, to spread democracy, who is going to pay the bill, in lives and financial costs. We have a bunch of "ignorant rednecks" trying to bully people into their way of thinking. Our concepts go against much of the Islamic world.
Also, unlike Vietnam, when protestors truly took it out on the war heros, most of the anti-war groups do support our troops that is why they are protesting. We were misled and they were misled. All those in favor, or strongly in favor of this war, need to suit up, grab a gun and ship out. If they are too old, or too feeble, than they need to ship their children out. It is usually the ones who are least likely to serve, or least likely with the lack of need to join the military, that are so PRO-war. Bush's daughters need to suit up, and Bush's nephews and nieces need to don some camaflouge and get packing.
The young Iraqi man is Shiite. He said that they will definitely have civil war when the troops leave. and he also said as bad as Sudam was at least the Iraqi people were getting paid, and they were working before the invasion. And he is not a "liberal news outlet". His father is working in the US currently and he is a student in our schools. The disdain he has for our "way of life," our arrogance, and our self-centeredness is telling.

Posted by: Only 2.5 years to go | April 20, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks RMill, that is the data I was looking for. Even though it totally kills my theory.

Posted by: Dan | April 20, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

RMill, If I read this right then about half of the Dems lean liberal and half of Reps lean conservative.

Guess its time to do my homework and find out exactly what those terms mean and how they are being applied.

Though it is odd that the country is so evenly polarized. How did we manage to create 2 such equally sized (approximately) diametrically opposed groups.

Posted by: Dan | April 20, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Anthony Newbill's post proves one point: his ignorance of the history and situation of the region at least equals that of some policimakers of this administration.

M. Newbill explains that had the US not intervened in Iraq, they would have teamed with Iran (in their hate of the US that is) and would now be forming a nuke threat "axis": you do know that Iran & Iraq aren't best friends, do you? (Iran - Iraq war anyone? gas attacks? Iran sponsored Shiite organization trying to destabilize Saddam? etc.). In fact, before the invasion, Saddam was pretty isolated in the region because he was between Saudi Arabia / Kuweit (US allies) and Iran (long time enemy). Heck, even muslim fundamentalists (OBL inspired) dispised the secularist and not very pious Saddam (that's why nobody outside the US ever believed the Iraq-Al Quaida connexion: it was such a nonsense...just stupid)...

I know you might not understand M. Newbill but people from Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. aren't THE SAME. For instance, Iranians aren't arabs....

Issues in Middle East are complicated. Big time ignorance and over simplification is what got us all in this situation!

Posted by: Pap | April 20, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

The above Pew Research report was for 2004. A 2005 study is a bit different but includes more categories.

Party ID
Rep 31%
Dem 34%
Ind 9%
Lean Dem 12%
Lean Rep 14%

Ideology ID
Conservative 15%
Liberal 18%
Ambivalent 42%
Populist 16%
Liberatrian 9%

Conservative 52% 18% 7% 4% 19%
Liberal 8% 58% 6% 24% 4%
Ambivalent 29% 32% 12% 10% 17%
Populist 36% 31% 9% 9% 14%
Liberatarian 36% 26% 9% 15% 14%

Posted by: RMill | April 20, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Dan and everyone

Pew Research has a typology survey that may be interesting to do.

Posted by: RMill | April 20, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse


CC may have taken your permission to heart and is sleeping it off this AM.

Posted by: RMill | April 20, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse


Didn't take long:

Pew Research

2000 2002 2004
Dem 33% 31% 33%
Mod 39% 35% 36%
Con 23% 22% 22%
Lib 52% 49% 51%

Rep 28% 30% 30%
Mod 21% 24% 22%
Con 49% 50% 51%
Lib 9% 9% 8%

Posted by: RMill | April 20, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse


I know, this was as close as I could get on short notice. If I come across more extensive data, I will post.

Posted by: RMill | April 20, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your comments Will in Seattle, and thank you for your service to our country.

The more folks like you who have seen the struggle and devastation first hand who come out and speak against this war, the better. America needs your voice and so do the Iraqi and Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire of this pointless misuse of power. Thanks again Will.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | April 20, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but some of us have never waivered from our original position, i.e., that US (Superpower)policy, which is always based on idolatrous Superpower pride, rather than substance, led to the invasion and occupation of another sovereign but innocent nation. Who will be next?

What is truly sad is that too many Americans are willing to overlook American misbehavior and its misguided policies, in order to secure wealth and to show the world that you do not mess with the American Idol. Sadly, Iraq will not be the last country to be subjected to the misguided policies that are sanctioned by too many Americans.

But what else can you expect from a country that began with invaders, murderers, racists, hegemonists, child-molesters, genocidists, tax-evaders, adulterers, slave-owners and rebels?
Not much has changed.

Posted by: Rev. C. Solomon | April 20, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Good to see that eventually most people now consider Iraq a mistake and they see through the lies of Bush.
But had this happened before the war, there would not have been any war in the first place.
So Americans please this time keep ur eyes and ears open and do not let Bush & Co. launch another oil / neo-con war eka Iran.Otherwise we will have a biggger mess on our hands.

Posted by: Observer | April 20, 2006 1:50 AM | Report abuse

One more post before "good night." My son is alive, and well, and thank goodness for that, I told him, screaming, NO, Clinton didn't go to Vietnam, why should you go to Bosnia? I was furious at Clinton and I am furious at Bush. My ex also told my son he did not believe joining the Marines was appropriate at the time. I did not hear what he said. My ex attended Harvard, where I met him at Harvard Summer School, 1969. It was the Vietnam era. Rioting in the streets and tear gas, before I met him.

When I was at Harvard Summer School, things were quieter (I attended 1968 and 1969), but the active political protest was very much alive, and the level is missing at present.

Good night.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | April 19, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, Nor'easter might bother to check my blog, so I'll post it, but I have not put the time I would if I were doing it professionally, even though I have an M.S. Journalism: Science Communication degree, I cannot blog professionally without pay, when WE are venting, trying to be accurate, but from our own view, obviously ad libbing, here, is what this is, and what my blog is, a wishful thinking blog, which I have decided to stop soon, and upgrade and do some photojournalism reality check instead: soon I will convert to a newsformat and the intended title will be "BostonPeaceView" and I will do SUCH things as ask the Congress how many letters supporting impeachment they have received -- due to the desire for peace not war?

There are many organizations that are peace oriented, and I intend to try to cover what they are doing especially any EVENTS and take photos. I was at the Cindy Sheehan peace protest here in Boston at B.U. Afterward, outside, I saw her standing with Attorney John Bonifaz, who has written a book, "Warrior-King: The Case to Impeach Bush." I said are you Cindy Sheehan? She turned around and hugged me. Of course I know her son died in the Iraq war and was shot in the back of his head. Certainly I share her grief.

Also I believe the war is wrong and should be stopped and the U.S. should not interfere. Already said. And, yes, for the future, I intend to do a site that is photojournalism on BostonPeaceView showing photos of people IN ACTION to net PEACE and the public eye, much deserved.

Obsolete opinion blog, because it was wishful thinking, my opinion, claiming I believed the majority believes what I tried to present, ineffectively, called it "Majority View Today" and that Nader is reflective of a majority and his platforms would get the proper support if he had been properly presented and might have net a landslide victory...

Well...the site, for Nor'Easter, is:

And, soon, I hope to post a straight "real news" not opinion, but COVERAGE of the PeaceMOVEMENT in Boston, with emphasis at the beginning using photos. 20 hours per week is all I will be able to do, because I need to earn money. Getting something done "anyway" in spite of the opposition, is very important to me.

I fully admit I should not try to speak for the majority. I want them to speak, loud and clear and truthfully, and I do not believe that is happening. The media is not presenting the truth. They push peace out of the picture. It is egregious.
I intend to put it back in.

And, Ralph Nader, in my view, is still Harvard Law School's most prestigeous graduate. For those who do not know some of his limelight accomplishments which should have been featured when he ran in 2000 and again in 2004, was the founding of the PIRGs (Public Interest Research Group), suing General Motors while working in the Senate in an Auto Safety Subcommittee, netting the Federal Regulation of the Automobile Industry--he had been horrified at their willingly waiting for the public to force them to take the Corvair off the road when they knew it was unsafe. And, the Clean Water
Act, and Clean Air Act, and Federal monitoring of interstate meat inspection. The list is long, and his name is in Who's Who, where it has been for years. And, also World Book Encyclopedia. Not someone to shove out of the picture. His offering as a President is something to vote for, easily not with great difficulty. The media owed the THREE WAY RACE and the reality of everyone should vote for who they individually wanted and see the democracy happen.

Posted by: Elizabeth O. Ellis | April 19, 2006 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Bush is dreaming if he thinks staff personnel changes will rescue his presidency. The chances of an uptick in Bush approval ratings are zero and none. The November mid-term elections will see a huge turnout of angry voters who vote against Republicans at every level, thanks to the history of distortions and the history of gross incompetence in the Bush administration. When folks are angry they want to send a message, so just wait. Finally all the Bush BS about Iraq is coming home to roost.

Posted by: ballhawk | April 19, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I keep seeing adament supporters of the war using several flawed arguments over and over again:

"We need to fight them over there or else we'd be fighting them over here."

Bull. This assumes a fixed front line and our ability to limit enemy maneuver. That's not the case with international terrorism. We're not fighting a fielded army, we're dealing with an asymmetric threat that can draw forces and funding worldwide, and strike us with a small number of men designed to cause terror, not to attack key centers of gravity to achieve conventional military successes. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not prevented terror attacks in Spain, Bali, Pakistan, Africa, Saudi Arabia, or numerous other places in the world. The limiting factor is opportunity. Terrorists strike soft targets and plan for years (planning for 9-11 probably began about the time they realized the 1993 bombing didn't scare America enough, like in 1994 or 1995).

"If CNN had covered D-Day in real time, the US would have left the war the day after. The American people have never had a stomach for seeing their families and neighbors dying."

The problem with the American people and the "will to fight" isn't that America is soft, it's that we won't support a war unless we feel it threatens us directly. This is why the war needed to be sold in the first place as if Hussein was somehow a threat to nuking America. After 9-11, it wasn't enough that he was a horrible guy who should have been removed, we had bigger threats out there that needed to be taken care of first. The American people needed to believe that Hussein was at least as big a threat as bin Laden if not moreso, or else they would not support the war. People also knew this before the war took place. Look at poll numbers before the war that showed high support. When they asked questions about price, cost, and lives lost during any conflict, the numbers supporting war dramatically declined after 1 year, 200 billion dollars, and 1,000 lives. If America is threatened, America will do everything necessary to protect itself, just like every other nation. If America is fighting a war that is not viewed as a necessity, it does a cost-benefit analysis. Other nations would likely do the same thing, but very few other nations embark on such wars in the first place without the US pushing them there.

“'insurgency' is taking place in the central 3 of Iraq's 14 provinces”
The insurgency also makes up only one small piece of the puzzle in Iraq, but it gets the most attention because it is directly related to the war on terror and thus is spun by those in power as being what the conflict is all about. The larger problem is a result of the tribalism and sectarianism of Iraq. Democracy works in the west because the individual is viewed as the basic element of society, and we cherish individualism. That’s not a natural thought in many parts of the worlds, who still hold a higher loyalty to their tribe or their faith over their individualism. Until this worldview permeates that part of the world, elections will be no more than a means of counting the factions and dividing the spoils, and those kinds of elections do not equal democracy. Democracy exists when true power resides with the people, who can openly discuss, debate, and reach consensus among differing perspectives. It’s a concept we’re too often losing sight of in this country.

“the war is necessary because so many people are re-enlisting.”
It’s called duty, and not just to the flag or the cause, but to the service and to each other. It’s a concept those who have never served don’t understand. When you’re on the ground, you’re not fighting for God and Country, you’re fighting for your comrades, putting your life in their hands as they put theirs in yours. Retention remains high because soldiers are loyal to each other, because few can live with themselves knowing they get to go back to the safety of home while their best friends remain in harms way.

“it’s not as bad as Vietnam because we haven’t lost as many people”
We didn’t lose people steadily in Vietnam, it was slow early, picked up from 66-70, then declined as the war waned. But, besides that, we didn’t lose Vietnam because of the death toll (we killed a whole lot more of them than we lost, but as general Giap said, it didn’t matter). We lost Vietnam because we intervened in anCivil War in SE Asia with our own international goals of containing Communism in mind. Our aim was Moscow, not Hanoi. We never understood the conflict, the people, or the nature of what would need to be accomplished. In truth, we lost Vietnam when we decided to back the French territorial claims there in the name of keeping them from going communist after WWII. If we would have understood that was as a war of nationalism, not part of the global struggle to contain communism, and would have reacted accordingly, the situation would have been much different. Yes, Iraq is not Vietnam in that the nature and scope of the war is different, but that can be said of all conflicts. It is like Vietnam in that we are still insistent on defining the war and “victory” through our own paradigm of the war on terror, with little regard for the facts on the ground. We don’t understand the history of the region, the role of local culture, the true loyalties of the people, and how it all comes together to dictate the course of the war. We lost control of this war when we failed to plan for the aftermath, something that was predictable and that many people warned of who weren’t taken seriously solely for the reasons I mentioned earlier, it would have meant admitting to a longer war with more difficult objectives for a cause unrelated to the threat the America wanted to counter, and thus it likely would have meant us not going there in the first place.

“we were fighting a country in Vietnam”
No, we were fighting a guerilla insurgency backed by outside forces (North Vietnam, who we were not officially at war with and didn’t fight outside the blockade and AF bombing campaigns, China, and Russia), much like Iraq today.

Unfortunately, Iraq is in many ways worse than Vietnam. We withdrew from Vietnam without major strategic consequence because Vietnam at the time wasn’t a strategic location. That’s not the case in Iraq. For those who argue against wars for oil, look at every National Security Strategy since the Carter administration that say in no uncertain terms that this country is willing to go to war to keep the flow of oil open. Without it, our economy would collapse and the security of America and our way of life would be destroyed. This is why we have made our mission in the Middle East based on stability for the past 30 years, and why we made a horrific blunder in invading in 2003. But, it also is why we can’t leave right now. The chaos that would inevitably follow would be worse. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place that we weren’t in during Vietnam. What’s more, we’re further complicating our global strategy by having so many troops on the ground in Iraq. If anyone thinks a war in Iran is coming in the near future, ask yourself where those troops are coming from. 10% of our military is on the ground in Iraq, 10-20% is engaged elsewhere in the world, a large number have just returned from being in Iraq and will rotate with those currently there (so another 10-20%), and the remainders are filling critical staffing positions at home that cannot deploy. Never mind that a war in Iran would turn the majority of Iraq against our forces on the ground in Iraq and lead to a dramatic escalation making this conflict really look like Vietnam in terms of the body count. Who’s left? This was a fools errand from the beginning, and those responsible shouldn’t be given the opportunity to make the same mistakes again in the future when the stakes are higher and the odds are lower (guess where I’m looking).

My suggestion is we lay out a time table of 6 mos to a year, at which point we will relocate the vast majority of our forces to a nearby base of operations (either Bahrain or Qatar will work), leave Spec Ops in country to fight the terrorists, some additional troops to advise the Iraqi Army but not in a combat capacity, and let the Iraqis sink or swim. If they sink, we rapidly redeploy forces to prevent chaos from spreading. Until this happens, the Iraqis have little incentive to do the work for themselves, and we have no way of measuring whether what we’re doing is successful or not. It’s not about retreat, it’s about pressing the Iraqis to step up. Until they do, we’re just holding on praying that it doesn’t fall apart.

Posted by: Michael | April 19, 2006 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I have come to the conclusion that there are many people in this country, between 30% and 35%, who will never, never, never, admit that this Napoleonic adventure in Iraq was a bad idea, just for pure partisan reasons.
Saddam used to be our friend, we provided him with the chemicals used on the Kurds, we provided him with field intelligence (photos) during the Iran war, the Saudies and Kuwaities were happy to loan him the money for it, whenever he needed it, we trained his pilots in the use of Sikorski helicopters to gas the Kurds, he was and has always been a butcher, but back then, he was our butcher, his cardinal mistake was to try to develop nuclear weapons that would threaten Israel, then we parted ways and he became the evil Saddam, the next Hitler and blah, blah, blah.
As bloody of a butcher as he was, he was the lid that kept the bloddy Iraq pot from boiling over and checked Iran's influence in the region, so there was a useful purpose to let the bloody butcher stay in power.
Enter the very bright people in power now in the U. S.,use 9/11 and scare people into supporting the invasion of Iraq, mushroom clouds on american cities, Saddam and his arsenal of WMD in the hands of Al Quada, fear, fear and fear and bingo you get 70% support, the plan goes like this: we go in, with the amount of firepower we have, we will wipe out Saddam's army (done), we will be in Baghdad in 6 weeks (done), we will bring in our friends in the exile community :Mr. Chalabi and his ANC, Mr Allawi, etc,etc (done), we will put them in power (done, up to the first round of elections demanded by Mr. Sistani).
And here comes the fantasy part: we will train the new Iraqui Army, and the new friendly Iraqui government will sign agreements allowing for permanent U.S. bases, to replace the ones we lost in Saudi Arabia, the new pro-U.S. iraqui administration will sign oil deals with American Oil Companies to secure oil explotation of Iraqui oil fields, make lots of money and the boys will come home to the parades and everybody will forget about no WMD's, because after all, everybody loves a winner.
The reality: Iraq is a very disfunctional country, perhaps the only way to govern such place is Saddam's way, ethnic differences, religious differences, a tribal based society, and corruption everywhere, with a Shia majority who looks to clerics (with Iranian sympathies)for leadership, a Sunni minority who has lost power and hates it and those who brought this about (us), and the Kurds who only care about an independent Kurdistan with Kirkuk in the oil underneath in it, and we are out in the cold. The Shias are happy to let us kill Sunnies on their behalf, the Sunnies want to kill us and the Shias, the Kurds do not care who kills who, as long as they get their Kurdistan, and the Iranians are happy to funnel money and weapons to the BADR and Mahdi militias, knowing that one day they may be used aginst us, how far is this from the original plan going in ??
To date we have commited $ 320 billion, with another $ 60 billion more at the end of this fiscal year, 2,378 americans killed, over 8,000 badly wounded not counting Iraqui deaths, the credibility of the U.S. badly damaged, our preaching about human rights, freedom and democracy is laughable after Abu-Gharib, and all for what ??, trying to make Irak into another Switzerland ??, it is a noble mission, the comander in chief said the other day, to that I say, at this price, I rather not be noble, thank you very much.
Never have so few, caused so much damage to so many, to get so little in return.

Posted by: Jaime | April 19, 2006 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Declassified British intelligence reports dating back to 1973/74 reguarding the United States posing the threat of war in the middle east ,published at some point after the 9/11 attack situation ,reveal the British governments concern about the United States creating a war over in the Middle East.This war as you may know associated to oil intrests.,and perhaps the recession of the seventys.,Remember whipp inflation now? British subjects over in the middle East working for the oil corperations were also concerned about getting out of there. It is no secret that Nixon had far more in mind than he would have us know at the time of the seventy two elections. Ending vietnam was his feature point, the Middle East was The Plan.

Posted by: Deskjet | April 19, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Just a brief remark about the partition of Iraq. There are no natural boundaries. I have seen Kurdish maps which show about half of Iraq as a part of a Greater Kurdistan including Mosul with over 1,000,000 Sunni Arabs. Baghdad is a Shia majority city, but it is also the traditional Sunni capitol. Who gets the oil?

Remember 1,000,000 people died during the partition of India, and they had Ghandi!

Posted by: Lench | April 19, 2006 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter, you said "Unlike Viet Nam, Iraq has the next conflict already in line behind it. Any ideas how the rank and file in the military have been developing plans and tactics for combating a well-funded, mobile, apparently educated invisible enemy? Or, has that been stifled?"

Sadly, everything I hear says the only things coming out are the wrong ideas, and the good ideas aren't allowed to be disseminated, except on the low-level tactical side (which is usually person-to-person).

We're still training for the wrong war, and promulgating the wrong strategies and tactics, from everything I hear.

We'd probably be better served, for those still in Iraq, with a switch to MPs and training, and a pullback to the Kurdish area, but the SNAFU has them moving to the "permanent" military bases Halliburton et al are constructing.

And even though the Canucks aren't subject to US command-and-control and still teach useful strategy and tactics, they're severely outnumbered and have no practical local linkages that work, plus they're getting a lot of anti-deployment feedback due to the Iraq Fiasco from the civilian side.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 19, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Lie to me once....same on you (WMD...nuclear)
Lie to me twice....same on me (WMD...Biological)

Posted by: Charles M. Hayes III | April 19, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse


I was actually trying to get a determination of how the parties are internally. Liberal (or Progressive, I'll be fair) Dems vs Centrist Dems and Moderate Reps vs. Conservative Reps

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Kerry is a buffoon. A buffon I say! You hear me, Kerry is a buffoon!!


Posted by: Karen | April 19, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Poll done by ABC in 2003

31% Dems
31% Reps
32% Ind (no affiliation)
7% Third party identified

Ind (no affiliation)leanings

46% Lean Dem
43% Lean Rep

20% Liberal
33% Conservative
41% Moderate

Party ID for those calling themselves conservative
50% Republican

Dem stable
Rep growing

Pew polls in 2004 had party ID at 33% D to 29% R with Ind leaning Dem 47% and leaning Rep at 41%.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I would have to agree that the lack of support at this point boils down to the method used to get us in rather than a general lack of will of the American People to engage in (some other necessary) war.

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Will in Seattle: Excellent points. The war against the Al Qaeda type of Invisible Enemy will still be there after we leave Iraq. The President and Vice President could not have been more right in saying that such a war has to be different. Significantly different from classic guerilla warfare.

Unfortunately, the President and V. P. (and the cluster _ _ _ _ of advisers whispering in their ears) may have seriously impaired the support for what may truly be needed in that effort, with how Iraq was handled. [Again squandering political capital.]

Unlike Viet Nam, Iraq has the next conflict already in line behind it. Any ideas how the rank and file in the military have been developing plans and tactics for combating a well-funded, mobile, apparently educated invisible enemy? Or, has that been stifled?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | April 19, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It all boils down to this- THIS WAR IS BASED ON LIES. Once the american public realized they'd been lied to the support stoped. Also more and more people are realizing our so called leader is an idiot. Bush#1 knew if we took Sadam out the sects would fight among themselves and we'd be tied up in the reasulting mess for years. He feared if the Shites gained control they'd align with the Iranians and that's the last thing we needed. That's why he ran Sadam back to Bagdad but let him be. Colin Powell knew this and when he realized he'd been lied to, left. Has everyone forgotten Bin Laden? That's the SOB I want. We can only PRAY he leaves Iran alone. We've wasted so many of our resources- financial and lives in this unneccessary war in Iraq, we'd probably lose a war with Canada.

Posted by: Jackie | April 19, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse


Constructive and to Sandy's point.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Its really funny to hear people like Sandy
denigrate critics of President Bush. Exactly what in the hell do you call what Republicans. conservatives and the far right were doing in reaction to former President Clinton for 8 years?

Oh btw sandy, do you actually think that republicans recent success in elections is
a permanent thing?

Posted by: Cassini | April 19, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

RMill, You always seem to have the numbers. Thanks.

Do you happen to have numbers as to membership leanings within the parties? Meaning have you seen any polls that attempt toplace party members in relation to left/center for dems and center/right for Reps?

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

just like to say that FairAndBalanced has some good points, and that JAMES McGRAW has swallowed the hallucigenic koolaid and bought the spin that bears no connection with facts on the ground.

there are friends of mine dying - and coming back wounded - because of this. it's one thing for gung-ho attitudes in the active or former serving armed forces - it's a sad day when the gung-ho comes from spinsters who never hear a shot fired in anger.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 19, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

By the way, even though we're messing up (not as badly, thank god) in Afghanistan, we do need to remain in that theatre of operations, and I too was dismayed that 25 percent of people think Afghanistan was a bad idea, but given the Bushies' track record, I'm not too surprised they've fouled the waters in that one.

When we wake up and redefine the actual battlefield to include Pakistan, where Osama still resides and al-Qaeda is still active and growing, that would be a refreshing change, but the Bushies lack the guts to do what must be done, if there is no personal profit in it for their paymasters.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 19, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Gandi was assassinated. Good doesn't always triumph.

Posted by: Paul | April 19, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

As ex-Army myself, with a few counter-terrorism ops under my belt, it never appeared to me that any of the strategic objectives were going to be met with the plans one could infer, nor have any of the other vets I've talked to ever thought any of our tactics or strategies would be effective.

It's been a cluster.... since day one, to be frank.

Everyone I know with salt, at all levels of rank, thinks that we're deluding ourselves that staying in achieves any American objectives at all, and that any time lag before departure not related with supply and defense in orderly removal is just adding to how badly we'll do.

It's time to wake up and smell the quagmire - we did have a brief period where we might have turned it around, but that train left the station more than a year ago, and won't be back.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 19, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse


Here's some common sense for you: How many billions of $$$ have we wasted in Iraq? How many billions more will Republicans waste before it's over? How many millions of barrels of oil have been removed from the market by this war? Why do you think gas prices have doubled in 3 years? Maybe they will double again.
Here's a difference between now and 35 years ago: Nixon was actually trying to get America out of Vietnam; trying to negotiate a settlement. Bush hasn't even started negotiating with the enemy and has no clue as to how we get out. It's not a conspiracy; just the facts.

Posted by: Paul | April 19, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Why the hell are you all still arguing about the 2000 $elections? Honest 2 Christ!

I hope that the US will end the way the USSR did, collapsing of its own stinking rot with little violence and bloodshed.

Whenever I despair,
I remember that all through history,
the way of truth and love has always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers,
and for a time they seem invincible.
But in the end, they always fall.
Think of it... ALWAYS.


Posted by: F*** PNAC/F*** AIPAC | April 19, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld might have a little more street cred if we had found UBL, who is dead BTW, found massive stockpiles of WMDS, found the mysterious Anthrax Suspect, didn't torture innocent people, supplied the right body armor, squashed the insurgency they claimed didn't exist, united and not divided the shiites and sunnies, stopped the opium production in the narco state of Afghanistan, still had a coalition of the willing, brought the troops home, didn't create hundreds of thousands of "new" terrorists, Democracy?

Posted by: Brian Fejer | April 19, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the sloppy post. I'll try again:

We'll never know how Gore would have reacted but enjoy the results.

I'll discuss the problems of two party system but it doesn't change the facts that the FL Nader votes contributed to the current style of cowboy politics and six gun war prosecution that Naderites supposedly deplore.

As far as delusions go, Nader wanted and got his platform. Anyone who thought he wanted anything more was deluded. He had no intention or expectation of winning. Attack the system all you want, this is what we've got right now and you can see the results. It is just inconceivable that you can't see the stark contrasts between Bush and Gore. The myopic "fight the system" attitude, which in other respects may have merit, in this case is just out of touch, in my opinion.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

ISN'T THIS A "HUGE" SCANDAL? I've been asking the politicos at WAPO discussions this question every day for 2 weeks but no takers! Is there anyone out there?

Rumsfeld: US Media Manipulated By bin Laden and Zarqawi?

U.S. military plays up role of Zarqawi
The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Rumsfeld: US Media Manipulated By bin Laden and Zarqawi

Pretty good for two dead guys to be able to pull off, right?

Usama bin Laden: A dead nemesis perpetuated by the US government
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: The Dead Voice of "al Qaeda" in Iraq

Posted by: BLANKET | April 19, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, we'll never no how Gore would have reacted but enjoy the results.

I'll discuss the problems of two party system but it doesn't change the facts that the FL Nader votes contributed to the current style of cowboy politics and six gun war prosecution that Naderites supposedly deplore.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse


I could have cast 1,000 votes for Gore in VA where I live and it wouldn't have mattered at all. Unless you lived in FL, your vote didn't matter either. Our "democracy" is anything but due to the 2 party system, electoral college, corporate campaign contributions, corporate media, etc. You are deceiving yourself if you believe otherwise.
Nader stood for fundamental change, Gore was just more of the same.

Posted by: Paul | April 19, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I thought that is exactly what I had done.

The cavalier attitude and incompetent manner in which the Bush administration and specifically Donald Rumsfeld have conducted the war effort has led to some intractible problems.

Republican members of the US Senate have said so. Former command level Generals from Iraq are saying so.

I do not believe this is hyperventilation or out of the mainstream of moderate thought. I do believe that Gore would have had a different approach but it is now impossible to say what that would have been. I just know that Bush has handled it wrong. I wish I was smarter to have a solution at hand but I don't and I don't know who does. But it seems to me, and this is probably not a popular one, that an increase in troop strength is required with requisite resource upgrades before we can withdraw completely.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

To Nor'Easter...I hope we don't get one, I am in Boston. I talked to someone who seemed happy, inhis late sixities and said he did "EYE ON THE PRIZE" and was a Harvard MBA success story, yes, a black guy, reason talked to me was my tee shirt, and I have the group's CD on see if they are good...he figured I was interested in Jazz, "New Orleans Jazz" was the Tee shirt...and he was into music, but when we stopped talking, and I had told him I used to be Publicist for the State Commission on Human Rights against discrimination -- law enforcement and he asked where...then I told him, Connecticut, and shortly after I tried to get him upset, outraged, we were fine, but, you certainly know, all is not settled, yes, I am white WASP, but I hate imperialism and oil corruption and anti-environmental and all that stuff, and am 57 and very angry and energetic...and intend to maintain what Nader calls "The Good Fight"--the guy who happened to talk to me, pulled in the plants as if a storm were coming as he retreated into a city building he owned...and oh yes, Katrina hit in a few days or the next day...not sure.

He is sane, but yes, he heard me. Yes, likely he thinks it is time for the youth to realize it is theirs to do. For him, maybe.

But, for Nader he is still out there, willing to fight the right fight. No nukes. No threats. Diplomacy.

And, to answer your what is to me "garbage" that Nader took Gore's votes, I like Nader SO MUCH MORE SOO MUCH MORE, that I cannot begin to allow such "garbage" I wanted and still do, Nader. and the point is for the entire audience, how many others actually WOULD have preferred Nader to either of the other two!?

Get with the music. Gore was stupid and thought the media knew the truth, when the votes were not counted accurately and he could have waited. MEDIA PRESSURE caused him to bow out. I hated the CBS news reporter who told him FALSELY that he was the "loser" and he knew he was not, and told her so, but she continued to ignore it. YEs, Gore got the popular votes.

But, whose truth was it?

Gore won really? No.

The truth was the media pulled Bush, and NO, I do not think it was Bush, it was Indeed the Media, just as I believe the votes were "real" but not the TRUTH.

We are supposed to vote for the best.

Did you know Al Gore is not for the FREEZE (old term, now it is called Peace Action, and before that, they called it SaneFREEZE)--it is no nukes.

Yes, very yes, Nader belonged in the debates and the polls pre-empted it, and you haven't seen THE REAL CANDIDATE.

How dare the media. That's what I said effectively to Dan Rather at JFK School of Government.

Neither election was valid. Bush is not valid. And, don't blame Bush. Blame the system? No, the media, and the individuals, obviously. But, corporate rule and lack of proper perspective and REFORM required? Desperately.

I read a biography about Gore, and the author was a B.U. alum, which I am, too. Journalism.

Oh well. Good day, y'all. From Boston. Cheers, Nor'easter!

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | April 19, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Blah, Blah, Blah

"Bush should be impeached"

"Bush stole the election"

"Bush is worse than Hitler"

You people are delusional. That's why you consistently lose elections. Many people like me who are inclined to agree with your views and who are also deeply suspicious of the war end up recoiling at your over-the-top, ludicrous rhetoric and end up voting for Bush because you people nominate buffoons like Kerry who addresses the American people in insulting tones and who is completely out of the mainstream of American society.

Why can't you offer constructive, common-sense criticism of the administration in a more moderate fashion instead of all of this hyperventilation and dredging up not just the past two elections but also Kent State and all your other lunatic left/campus radical hippie conspiracy theories from 30 and 40 years ago?

You people have been smoking too much weed.

Posted by: Sandy | April 19, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Exit polls done by Nader himself said 25% would have voted for Bush, 38% would have voted for Gore and the rest (37%) would have stayed home. It was not a real factor in 2004 with Kerry.

Nader got 97,000+ votes in FL and that is 36,860 votes for Gore and 29,258 for Bush. With a 500 vote margin, the extra 7,000 for Gore would have given him FL. Would have given him 3,000 more votes in NH, which he lost by only 6,000 votes. This certainly would have been crucial in changing the ultimate outcome.

I was also careful to say that the tactical mistakes by the Gore campaign were largely responsible for his loss. However, there is no disputing the impact mentioned above and further, being talked down to and insulted by someone who did contribute, in some small way though it was, to bringing this current situation about and then complaining they do not like the results, does not sit well with me.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth: Get off your high horse, "I voted Nader. To me it was both VERY AMERICAN, very good for this country, and SANE."

Nader's proposition was: Bush and Gore are Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee; both beholden to the special interests. I'm not, so vote for me!

Can you SANELY say that Al Gore would have done things exactly the same way George Bush has?

Voting for Nader was your right, but don't be sanctimonious about it.

Depending on the source of data quickly available to me, Bush beat Gore in Florida by anywhere from 500+ votes to 1,700+ out of 6,000,000 cast. Approx. 97,000 voted for Nader.

It can never be proven, but I believe, and it's not unreasonable to infer, that the Nader voters in Florida are significant reason for the first four years of George Bush.

Stop blaming Rather and CBS. Blame the Elizabeths in Florida who said, "I choose to protest!" and ignored the probable consequences.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | April 19, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I realize this is off topic, but many of you may be interested to know that, according to Taegan Goddard's Political wire (, Rudolph Giuliani campaigned yesterday for Sen. Santorum and is headlining a fundraiser for Ralph Reed, yes "that" Ralph Reed who is running for Lieutentant Governor in Georgia. This tells you where the current Republican party is--far right!

Posted by: Jason | April 19, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that for as long as the Iraqi war was popular, that the Republicans, President Bush and Karl Rove in particular were going to use it for partisan advantage and to slam the Democrats as being "weak on national security". Hell, thats what got Bush re-elected and with Rove relieving himself of some of his duties today to concentrate on the midterm elections, look for him to use that strategy again. However, this time I dont think it will work because the majority of americans are seeing thru the smokescreen set up by Bush and company by implying that Iraq/Hussien are somehow connected to the events of 9-11. that has been proven false along with their exagerated claims on wmd's and "imminent threat" of Iraq to the U.S.

Posted by: Cassini | April 19, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree and disagree with you Elizabeth. If you drop the Nader is everything and fall back to the we need more choice at ballot I think your argument would carry more weight.

There are more than a few people that routinely follow CC posts that are supporters of needing more than 2 parties, especially when each party caters to the extreme ends of their membership.

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Since you worked for Gore you know that HE blamed Clinton and his zipper problem for his defeat, not Nader. Unless you live in a "battleground" state, which 75% of us don't, a vote for Gore meant nothing while a vote for Nader sent a message: No more corporate politics. Power to the People!

Posted by: Paul | April 19, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

RMill, What are you using as a benchmark that all Nader supporters would have voted Kerry or Gore?

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse


I can't say that lent much clarity, because I am not sure what poll you are referring to. Regardless, your assertion that voting patterns are not the true choice is completely wrong.

Polls can ask whatever questions and get whatever results but all that ultimately counts is the voting. Nader had his chance and got 2.4%. Are you saying with 49% of Independents in MASS. that the media conspiracy and the parties held Nader vote totals down 45 points?

There was no groundswell of support at the grass roots, where Ralph operates best, like there was for, say Perot in 1992. Your disdain for the ability of the American public to think for itself is clear and I also believe it is wrong headed. And how did you manage to escape its evil grasp? How special you must be. It is insulting, and nothing more.

And as far as balanced budgets, Democrat Bill Clinton ran budget surpluses in greater amounts than any president in US history, squandered by the President that Nader and his 2.4% helped put in office in 2000.

You can also chalk up the flouting of international law, peace and the nuclear option to the Naderites handiwork in 2000. Like I said before, are you pleased with your results?

Don't complain to me because the crop yielded by your desire for a candidate you liked best helped bring this about. I voted and worked for Gore.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, what turned the US public against Iraq was the insurgent campaign of spring-summer 2005, which saw steadily climbing US casualties every month.

This, coming after the WMD hunt had definitively been given up, and with the drip-drip of revelations about the dishonesty of the case made for war, had a corrosive effect.

Criticism built up rapidly, forcing the govt onto the defensive. Rummy then compounded the problem with one of his outbursts of frankness.

The breaking point came, in my opinion, when Rumsfeld appeared on Fox News and predicted that the insurgency would last years and would not be defeated by US troops. This kicked the legs out from under his own remaining supporters.

The next day the debate was vastly louder and sharper, and the war's supporters were on the defensive and have been ever since.

Rumsfeld said: "Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years. Coalition forces, foreign forces, are not going to be able to repress that insurgency. We're going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency."

That was the moment when the backbone of war support was broken. Pro-war people were shellshocked the next day, I remember it well.

Posted by: OD | April 19, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

FairandBalanced is quite right that improvements in body armor and battlefield medicine have dramatically reduced fatal casualties, making the wounded statistics a better comparison with Vietnam.

Considerable mystery surrounds these stats. Brian Fejer, above, says there have been 55,000 medical evacuations from Iraq.

I remember seeing a NYT story last year which said the number of returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets needing VA care for FY2004 was 103,000.
I'm not saying these are all physical wounds, but those numbers are high and four times more than the govt had budgeted for.

As for the dead, more US soldiers died in the first two-and-a-half years of the Iraq war than in the first four years of US involvement in Vietnam.

Posted by: OD | April 19, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Dan Rather spoke at JFK School of Government at Harvard University regarding the state of the media as a report card, and admitted the PROFIT MOTIVE is uppermost, and not public interest.

He likes CBS, he said, "I love CBS."

Setting money issues aside, for the moment.

The complaint I am lodging here as VERY IMPORTANT is the accuracy and representation of the public as a DEMOCRACY which is a duty, which while money makes CBS NOT A PROPER FORUM FOR THAT, AND RATHER CANNOT FACE THAT.

He also could not hear what is my ACTUAL complaint here, and introduced there at the Forum where he spoke at Harvard, recently, when I pointed out the 49% unaffiliated voters during primary season in Massachusetts.

No duty to those people to present Nader, for example?

Insistence that they can only see Democrats or Republicans for their choices?

Dan Rather said, "I don't know what duty the media has to the third parties, they are only 1-3%" I answered 49% were NEITHER Democrat or Republican or ANY party. I did not say those words literally, but he understood the point that there were 3% small parties and he chose to not hear the 49% are NOT any party--and what that means.

He obviously would say, OH THEY ARE UNDECIDED BETWEEN BUSH AND KERRY. How about such media railroading of an election.

He did railroad the Democrats. He picked Kerry before SuperTuesday. He can as an editorial comment, but most would ask for justification, and frankly it was not justified, and he offered betrayal of HIS opinion as superior to the public.

I complained online to CBS that he had railroaded the Democratic choices: when John Edwards, Al Sharpton, and Dennis Kucinich were sitting at the table, and most of the interviews to enable them to present their backgrounds and their platforms and track records of achievement, he then turned out to the audience and said as if they all agreed, which certainly they had not, "wouldn't it be great if Kerry won all 10 primaries on supertuesday?"

That was pre-emptive.

A mixed result on Tuesday would not be "bad" for Democrats, if that is what he thought. But, hopefully, the audience of this blog agrees that whatever the result, objective fairness and letting the candidates present themselves as if to assist honest and fair voting on SuperTuesday, with the voters as the proper decision makers, was supposed to be his duty.

Why did he do that?

I was horrified.

Doesn't mean I wanted Democrats to win, but, yes, I want a good democracy and I found media distortion entirely UNECESSARY and indeed, VERY BAD.

Voters were and are being ignored, while their votes are counted, and poll results are shown, still the media is egregious and the public media should get proper support.

Congress did not see the necessity and OF COURSE, nasty of me, I think Bush was very handily happy to get rid of Congressional support for the public broadcasting. Public out of the picture and CORPORATE RULE.

"I love CBS?"

NO, I love the future of PBS, and the public's ability to turn the channel.

This poll parsing, is OK, if he continues to listen to the responses, and offer sanity as his position and seek the public input.

If the public is ignored, and doesn't do what they should, of course "there goes democracy." Not supposed to happen when we have the best cutting edge technologies for the media.

The public needs to get the monied corruption out of the powermongering position.

Dan Rather believes CBS can respond.

Well, they did not when I complained that he railroaded the SuperTuesday, and asked A-fire him or B-at least, do not let him announce the results.

But, who did announce the results?

Of course,

Private enterprise doesn't have to like the public response. But the public can TURN THE CHANNEL if necessary, and put your well earned money where your mouths are.

I voted Nader. To me it was both VERY AMERICAN, very good for this country, and SANE.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | April 19, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Elizabeth, Ralph Nader (as a Presidential candidate)is the past. We need to move on to the present and future. Who would you vote for in 2008? And don't you think if Nader didn't run and take votes that otherwise would have went to Al Gore that we would be in a much different situation now?

Posted by: Jason | April 19, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Is Iraq like Viet Nam? In some ways Yes, and in other ways, No. You have to look at the whole canvas, and can't make the Universal statement based on one small component. In one very important way, Iraq seems to have become very much like Viet Nam.

Borrowing from the way Daniel Schorr eventually began to describe the effects of Watergate in his reporting - Nixon's survival, and then ultimate downfall, all depended on public opinion reaching some sort of "critical mass."

Nixon’s tapes were what pushed public opinion to the critical mass point. After that there was probably no recovery for Nixon, even if the Supreme Court hadn't ruled against him.

In Viet Nam it was Tet. The Viet Cong and North Viet Namese actually lost the battle; but I remember seeing Westmoreland on CBS' Nightly News just a few days before it, telling us how the war was already basically won. Tet pushed U. S. public opinion to the point of critical mass.

[I wish that Westmoreland had been correct, because a year later I went through the Second Tet Offensive.]

There's all sorts of statistical information being bandied about in these blogs, name-calling, etc. All of this is like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It’s no longer germane; the question is, how do we get out (and when do we start)?

First some personal bitching: The Ivy League Brain Trust that set-up Viet Nam were so entrenched in Academia that they couldn't see what was happening in real life. Nixon was so paranoid that he truly never could see beyond himself. The K Street Neo-Cons who hid in Foundations for 20 years waiting for a moment like 09/11 as an excuse to push their agenda (remember the Road Map to Peace?) never had to get their hands dirty with the mess they created and never thought through.

But we were complicit also. It's ironic that one thing which could have tempered the American Empire chicken hawks like Wolfowitz is the one thing which the Anti-War Liberal community railed so much against - The Draft. They weren't careful what they wished for, and got it. With a volunteer Army ready to "go willingly," and a compliant Congress with both parties ignoring the Constitution and the War Powers Act, the President has his own personal Army. We let it happen.

When something just isn't right, eventually the American Public does "Get it." Although maybe not for the reasons some of us would like. Eventually we see through the charlatans and Pentagon B.S. (see "smart" bombs with 25% effectiveness rates, Patriot missiles, etc. )

It's been 1,084 days since Mission Accomplished (Thank you MSNBC's The Countdown). The President is correct, "This is a different war we are fighting." But, he has yet to stand up and ask us as a society to sacrifice anything, or tell us why we are spending so many lives or so much time, effort and money fighting "insurgents," not terrorists. Instead it's all been propaganda, much of which we are finding out were lies. Credibility Gap, welcome back! Eventually people realize that. The automatic goodwill he had after 09/11 was squandered.

Personally, I don't think that this Administration can recover to do anything positive in the next 2 3/4 years. They've made the same mistakes LBJ and the Pentagon made 40 years ago (the Pentagon flacks never really learn, they just get away with it for awhile each time we enter into some new conflict). Can the Administration now announce troop withdrawals to influence the November elections to stem the hemorrhaging? Probably not without risking an even larger revolt among retired Generals and Admirals. I'll bet that they never factored that into the withdrawal/election equation. They'd better do so now.

There will never be empirical data to support or refute it, polls are only indicators of a set moment in time; but I'm getting the sense that we're heading towards that "critical mass" point much more quickly than I ever expected. We may have already reached it; although usually there is some seminal event to which you can attach it. I haven't recognized one yet.

One thing I'm seeing I though is that the Administration apologists in these blogs now don't seem to be able to present any good sound logical defenses anymore. Which they used to be able to do, even if you didn't necessarily agree with their basic premise. No offense Mr. McGraw but, What "insurgents" would we be fighting in Kansas? Think about it.

Too bad that now it seems Americans at least once a generation end-up with leaders who unwittingly prove George Santayana correct about being doomed to repeat History.

The Administration treats us as if they think we believe "24" is reality. We know that Jack Bauer doesn't come to the rescue in real life - ever. Sometimes it just takes a while for us to admit that to ourselves. Once we do collectively, there’s no going back; and “damage control” is almost useless because to politicians “damage control” is nothing but spin and more B. S.

It’s April 19th, Patriots’ Day. A new revolt may have started, we just may not know it yet.

Take a minute to think about all of those who have gone before us, and sacrificed so that we have the opportunity to speak freely in forums such as this. They've given us a hell of a legacy. Thanks!

Posted by: Nor'Easter | April 19, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Brevity may help clarify.

1. The poll question was the pre-emptive "IF the election were tomorrow, who would you vote for?" (Gallup and others asked that the entire time.)

2. Voting patterns are not the TRUE choice when such a question is used, they are not responding with who do they like the BEST for president?

3. And the results are that they are not voting for who they like the best at a majority level...NATION of MEDIA LULLED CORPORATE SHEEP.

4. Public interest track, not money should rule.

REMEDY: Recognize the Democrats and Republicans are MONIED and POWER and NOT INTERESTED presenting peace, balanced budget, no nukes, and respecting international law....


They have no such right to rule.

Posted by: Elizabeth O. Ellis | April 19, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

That sentiment comes directly from the top. Bush sees no fault or accepts no blame so Rumsfeld sees no fault or accepts no blame and so on.

Even losing midterm elections and the Presidency will not stop them from their firm-held belief they did what was right not what was popular. Bush is already laying that groundwork for his upcoming conquest in Iran.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

If one were to listen to Bush supporters as to why the majority of the american public is turning against President Bush policies on Iraq, the first thing that comes out of their mouths is "NEGATIVE reporting by the MSM".

These people are convinced that if more "positive" stories were covered and reported by the MSM instead of the daily violence and carnage, that american public opinion would be more in support of the President Bush's Iraq policies.

Bush supporters make me wonder if they are so blinded by their partisan allegiance, that they cannot see any fault with the execution of the war on terror by the Bush administration and seek to blame it's failures on his critics and the media instead of examining those issues.

Posted by: Cassini | April 19, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse


I agree with you, Also a pet peeve of mine. It was very difficult to glean Elizabeth's point but in the end her bottom line seemed to be Nader was cheated and America would have been much different. She was right on the later, just doesn't understand she was complicit in just how different she and other Naderites helped make it become.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Elizabeth

Ralph Nader was never running to win the presidency. He wanted a platform and to make a point. I have met and worked with Mr. Nader several times on a variety of social issues. He has a very specific agenda, most of which I agree with outside the framework of government. However, he is and would be ill-suited to hold the Chief Executive position.

He has too long held an insurgent mentality (and rightly so with the issues and opponents he has dealt with) to be an effective manager and administrator.

And whatever contention of media bias or conspiracy you wish to cite, Ralph Nader did not get the votes of all or even a majority of independents you claim he was entitled to, even though he was on the ballot in 2000 and 2004 in some 34 states.

His mantra of "no difference" between Dems and Reps achieved exactly what he wanted in 2000, drawing votes that was the margin of difference in FL and NH, and essentially allowed Bush to be elected. I do not blame Nader necessarily, because Gore made other tactical mistakes in TN and OH and did not reach out to Nader supporters soon enough to deflect the spoiler effect.

However, Nader got exactly what he asked for and itis disinegenuous for anyone who supported him to be shocked and upset at the results of a Bush administration.

Voters used the ballot box and Nader got his votes, enough to change the course and direction of the American government. Revolution successful. I hope you are happy with the results.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Fix - I meant over there than here.

Also, Deskjet and Elizabeth both make no sense whatsover. Elizabeth - you start off just rambling and it does not pertain to this subject at all. Deskjet might make sense if he used sentences and put space between them, proper punctuation, etc. Sorry - a HUGE pet peeve when people make NO SENSE!

Posted by: Jennifer - Minneapolis | April 19, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

>>>can you honestly say the world would be better if we just up and left (or even withdrew little by little starting tomorrow?) iraq, the middle east, would be led by those crazys in iran.

Dont ask us. Ask those individuals who have lost arms or legs or family members since "Mission Accomplished."

Ask the Iraqi civilians who are leaving their homes to move to pockets of secular safety instead of living in the middle of open civil war.

"Would the world be better off if we just up and left?"

What a stupid stupid question.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | April 19, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't know where Mr. McGraw gets that troop moral is 'very high' since Generals and other high ranking officials are even coming out saying it has been badly mismanaged since the very beginning and their are veteran groups AGAINST the war! The only reason some have good moral is because they don't really care why they're there - they're just like little robots willing to serve their country wherever their Commander in Chief sends them, or because THEY DON'T WANT TO BE CHARGED WITH TREASON!
And to Steve and McGraw with their better to fight them over here than there - then why the hell did we give up on Osama so quickly, the one who actually DID attack us? Remember Bush saying he wasn't sure where Osama was, he didn't really spend too much time thinking about him. What a crock! The sooner everyone face the fact that this president and/or his handlers are all a bunch of lunatics - the better! They will continue to put America more in danger, make us more hated in the world, etc. They could care less about protecting us. The only reason you aren't seeing the massive demonstrations you saw in Vietnam is because Bush hasn't instituted an outright draft, just a back door one. As soon as Americans wake up from the patriotism induced coma they most seem to be in, there will hopefully be a lot more action take like protests and voting for people who aren't robots for the Bush Regime!

Posted by: Jennifer - Minneapolis | April 19, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, Nader voting needs proper public view.

I contend that Bush could NEVER get what NADER COULD...and the Democrats didn't want that.


A vote for Nader netting a Nader result.

How many votes?

Individual TRUTH for the country and the individual and the world, voting.

Not power, not corruption, not intentional usurping of democracy.

Since when did the two parties define America? Divided nation with 49 and 51 and a few disagreeing, Nader level? Well, the media did not ALLOW the THREE WAY RACE. IF they had, the PROPER VIEW of NADER would have happened, and it still should happen.

The country is supposed to be represented at a public interest SANE level by the President.

A vote for Nader, would have netted:

YES to

Environmental protection
Consumer Safety
No nukes
Bring the Troops Home; End the Iraq War
Give Humanitarian Aid to Iraq
Honor the ABM treaty
International DIPLOMACY (Princeton Honors Graduate with International Policy Major)-and yes, Harvard Law School with the distinction of 1972 The Record "most distinuguished graduate the school has ever produced)...likely the title will still hold...champions should recognize the distinction (how do you keep a title?)


Yes, and most who knew knew it, but claimed they couldn't vote Nader and get Nader.

The public should prove the myth wrong and allow proper leadership to hold the Office, as the Proper Leader.

Smiling monied idiots who kiss ass and respect corporate corruption and put this country into trillions in debt with escalating projected horror -- Bush is all of that, and if that is America, yes, the Constitution protection of IMPEACHMENT is the remedy in there, but the public needs to insist and to know they can do it. Write Congress and support the poll realities.

These myriad polls parsed by Chris reflect opinions that should be sent to Congress.

Censure? I say yes. And, how obvious is it that the President that requires censure needs to be impeached?

And, the Two Party Duopoly? Why did Nader challenge it? Because it is money corruption and he doesn't play that game.

Have Independents held the office of U.S. President before? YES.

Do parties change names and platforms and seek to fix the situations in front of the nation? OF COURSE.

Massachusetts primary voting registration in 2004 as of February 11th deadline, showed 49% registered unaffiliated, 35% Democrats, and 13% Republicans and 3 percent miscellaneous parties. 49% were not party affiliated. No pressure was put on those voters. They chose freely, expecting to pick the best candidate, obviously.

But, when the campaign took momentum, where was Nader? OUT THERE, in EVERY STATE. But, the media? The Democrats? They didn't want to lose...and they lied, lied and lied. If the public had had the THREE WAY RACE, a FAIR, PROPER ELECTION would have happened.

But, the media failed to allow the challenge to the status quo power and money and greed ruling. The media had no such right. I told that to Dan Rather when he came to CBS. He couldn't hear it. He replied, "I don't know what responsibility the media has to third parties, they are only 1-3%." I replied, Ralph Nader was INDEPENDENT and 49% in Massachusetts were NEITHER Republican or Democrat, Nader is "unaffiliated" since the Indpendent Party is a separate party now.

Whether or not that caused some confusion, it was NOT confusion to the media, certainly they knew NADER could have claimed proper view of his independent challenge and that he could win. And the chance given his track record and offering and education, and KNOWN NICE GUY REALITY is that he should have won, by a landslide. He is the most prestigeous candidate in view, and the public is owed as well as him.


No, the polls that were used during the campaign were pre-emptive, and did not allow the proper view: The Gallup polls (and the others)asked from the very beginning, "IF the election were tomorrow, who would you vote for?" and in that framework, people answered within what they were being told, that they could not vote for their true choice. And Nader was not given the THREE WAY COMPETITIVE TRACK.

The public did not understand. I began to as I asked verification of the wording of the polls. Then, having that, I asked them to change it before the debates. They replied, "We've been doing this for twenty years." One said that. But, she was representative, because all ten news poll sources were contacted by me as a volunteer, upset with the obvious lack of an affirmative question about WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT? That question gives the individuals true preference, and voting is supposed to, but the momentum of the campaign season is supposed to allow the public to see the various leading candidates and to see their competitive achievements, track record in the public interest, and platforms/issues, and opinions on the current state of the union.

Who has the right to pre-empt the challenge to the status quo? The voters, of course, at the ballot box, a hard won right done back in the American Revolution, and the legal framework to provide proper democracy is framed in the Constitution, which ALSO allows impeachment. Bush should be impeached. He does not reflect America.

The corporate corrupted media is not the voting public.

Posted by: Elizabeth O. Ellis | April 19, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Circumstance and events brought to light what is truth. Bush,s run silent run deep tactics, Bush telling us little ,expecting people to gather a sense of national security ,it,s all secret.,a rather mysterious sense of things happening that your government cannot say.Trust us ,we know just what we are doing.Durning the Oil embargo 1973 /74 the Nixon white house operated in a similar way,exception to it all fell apart because of the Watergate scandal,thus the big cover up.The oil embargo was mysteriously seemingly short lived.But later on the Iranian hostage crisis.Recall the tension ,if you were in college ,it was there.And Ragan and Bush.And Cliton and Bush, what a time line indeed.I don,t think the middeleastern conflict, the war on terrorism compares to vietnam at all. In fact there is no war that has ever happened on earth that will compare.This brings rise to the question ,in a thirty year time line,have they figured anything at all out about just how they will win this war on terrorism? Because it was all on the table in 1973.

Posted by: Deskjet | April 19, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

There was no war fever before the Korean War; the public was blindsided and the nation was unprepared. The war was unpopular because the final two years were a military stalemate while negotiations (essentially about whether NK and Chinese prisoners would be forcibly repatriated or not) dragged on. However, (except for some guerilla warfare in the southwest)there was a solid front line, not enemies popping up all over the place as in Vietnam and now Iraq. Korea was worth saving; it is now prosperous and free. Every soldier who fought to save South Korea is owed a debt of gratitude, and older Koreans (especially those who lived under the brutal North Korean occupation of most of the south) are still grateful. There were also hundreds of thousands of ROK soldiers willing to fight and die for their country. In Korea, a bloody draw to save half the peninsula was ultimately worthwhile.

Posted by: JC | April 19, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Jason, Its OK to call it a war as long as you are referring to the initila action in which we engaged an army, etc.

Since then it has been a police action.

The war was well prosecuted with minimal casualties and excellent leadership.

The police action leaves a lot to be desired.

As I have said before, Our military is designed to go in and exterminate the enemy with extreme prejudice. We have never dedicated the resources necessary to creating a police force. Strange since that is all we will ever be doing unless the fit truly hits the shan.

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, you're absolutely right. And unfortunately, now with Saddam gone, the Middle East is in danger of Iraq (if the Shiites maintain power) forming an alliance with Iran. Now that would be truly dangerous. That is why we are FAR WORSE off than before the Iraq war (invasion, takeover, whatever word you want to use). Hopefully we as Americans will restore intelligence to foreign and domestic policy by putting the Democratic party back in power.

Posted by: Jason | April 19, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Regarding James McGraw troop re-enlistment statement:

reason there arent many iraq veterans to talk to around here is that they are all re-inlisting to fight a VERY NECESSARY war.

By even the first quarter of 2004, re-enlistments dropped from 106% to 96%, causing an immediate shortage and Rumsfeld mandating extension of tours of soldiers on the ground by 3 months (USA Today 4/15/04).

There were also reports that the threat of combat duty in Iraq was used by the Pentagon to induce re-enlistments of soldiers for an additional 3 years. (NBC 9 News- Colorado Springs, CO- 9/16/04)

By December 2004/January 2005, extensions were again mandated for an additional 2 months because of poor re-enlistment rates, as well as heavy use of reserve and National Guard units instead of regular army units and expansion of call up deadlines from 18 to 24 months and cutting short rotations stateside by three months (Knight Ridder 1/19/05).

It wasn't until re-enlistment bonuses were offered (up to $150K) in spring of 2005 that re-enlistments began to pick up, but did not make up a shortfall in overall new recruitment that left defense readiness strength well-short (by 15%) of that needed. (USA Today 7/17/05).

By November 2005, that shortfall represented the largest recruiting shortfall in 25 years. This was also the case for National Guard and Reserve recruitment levels. Due largely to the re-enlistment bonuses (averageing $20-$40 K), the re-enlistment rate was back to 108%, above the 2004 level of 106% but the recruiting shortfalls were not made up by this fact and began placing greater strain on troop units on the ground in Iraq and Afganistan. (Lincoln Journal Star 11/2/05).

A Zogby poll done in Feb 2006 of military personnel in Iraq showed that their patience was wearing thin and that many (72%) wanted US to withdraw within the year and not leave the issue to the next administration. 85% believed the invasion was retaliation for 9/11 and only 58% said their mission was clear.(Christian Science Monitor 3/31/06).

So it was not until substantial and costly re-enlistment bonuses were instituted, did the rates rise (Many balked initially when bonuses were selective and only $1-$10 K).

Please, let's not attribute this as some endorsement and belief of their leadership.

I certainly don't blame them for taking the bonuses and I am sure they are proud of the work they are doing and frustrated that not all the good news is getting home. But there is a large and growing sentiment that their work is done and they are not making the headway they had hoped.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh Steve?

The gas that Saddam used on the Kurds? Donald Rumsfeld gave it to him, in the 80's to use on Iran. Because Saddam was our boy. We trained him and financed him and put him there, same we did the Shah of Iran and Osama Bin Ladin.

Just about everyone of our so-called enemies comes from the School of the Americas and was trained by the same people in power today.

Their foreign policy is utterly incoherent and will result in the destruction of this country.

Posted by: Drindl | April 19, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I am reposting what Steve aid because it is so true and funny and sad at the same time- remember Uncle Dick had the same exit strategy

"There is one BIG difference between Iraq and Vietnam:

Bush had an exit strategy for Vietnam.

Posted by: Steve Nightingale | April 19, 2006 11:03 AM "

BObby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 19, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Nader too! I think Michael Moore would agree that war fever blinded the news media, Congress and "experts" about the pretexts for Iraq War II. But even today, the Democrats don't want to end the war though most would agree it is unwinnable. Ultimately, Congress will end funding for the war, just like Vietnam. Then it will be over.

Posted by: Paul | April 19, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

" more response to McGraw's response! Then I need to go to work. I live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, headquarters of the US Navy and home to significant numbers of all branches of the military. I run a small business and deal with military families every day. The statement morale is high and everyone in the military thinks that they are doing a wonderful thing is so BS as to be beyond ridiculous! I NEVER hear that from those who have been there, when they are talking freely without thier careers on the line. If a truly secret vote were to be taken among the military, everything that I hear on a daily basis would indicate that an overwhelming majority feel that we have no business being there, that we are a catalyst for insurgency recruitment, and that we can not win a victory that leaves the country of Iraq and it's people in better condition than when we went in. WE may well eventually DECLARE a victory and come home, and if that is to be the outcome...let us declare it quickly.

Posted by: wayne p | April 19, 2006 10:09 AM"

Posted by: Steve: read blog before posting | April 19, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

There is tremendous support for this military action in the Middle East from the people in the armed forces. They are re-enlisting at the highest record in a long time, they understand as General Tommy Franks said, YOU EITHER FIGHT THEM OVER THERE OR YOU FIGHT THEM HERE.

That is the legacy of those No Fly Zone years under Clinton. Saddam forces tried to shoot our jets out of the air as we protected the North Kurds and the South area from genocide. We all know about the Oil for Food scam by Saddam bribing France, China, and Russia in to manipulate them at the UN and end the embargo. So let's get real here, if you are a pacifist, just sit in your armchair and let the miltary handle the problem. Otherwise you will see another attack and you will whine about why WE did not stop it. So make up your mind.

Posted by: Steve | April 19, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, RMill, Step One in any return to sanity would require replacing Rumsfeld. But the Bush Approach has always been to replace someone incompetent with someone far worse. I'm not sure I believe that Bush or Rumsfeld care what happens to our troops, as long as the oil keeps flowing and they keep raking in the stock dividends.

Why should war profiteers care who wins or loses? They make money either way. Their only interest is keeping the war going as long as possible.

Posted by: Drindl | April 19, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

One quibble I would have with Mueller's article comparing the wars in Iraq and Vietnam is that, psychologically, it isn't the absolute number of casualties that people pay attention to (e.g., 1500 vs. 20000 killed) but rather the percentage change from the background, as has been demonstrated by a number of psychology studies.

By the time of the Tet offensive the public had been conditioned to expect a certain rate of casualties, and that this was the expected price to be paid for eventual victory in this war of attrition. Then came Tet. The North Vietnamese ultimately lost Tet, so militarily it was not that significant. What was significant about Tet is that it stood out as a major change from the steady background of casualties, thus prompting a reevaluation of whether there was indeed light at the end of the tunnel. Walter Chronkite's break with the conventional wisdom helped in this regard, because studies have shown that people find it much easier to hold to an unpopular position (in this case, against the war) when they have at least a few other visible supporters.

A similar dynamic is unfolding in Iraq. During the first couple of years the public grew accustomed to a steady trickle of US casualties, a couple of car bombs and dead soldiers each week. Those casualties increased over time, but only gradually. There was no dramatic military reversal on the order of the Tet offensive which caused a spike in US casalties. When there were dramatic increases (e.g., the fighting Fallujah and Najaf) these corresponded to US offensives, and could be explained away as the necessary price of taking the fight to the enemy.

Then came Abu Ghraib, and more recently temple bombing. These were dramatic changes in the background, ominous developments that could not be ignored as part of the routine background. Cindy Sheehan may well have played a role something like Walter Chronkite in that she demonstrated that not everyone was in support of this war. As the mother of a slain serviceman she had a certain moral credibility (which Bush's operatives did their best to smear). More to the point, she focused the public's attention on the fact that Bush has not attended the funeral of a single service member killed in this war, a sharp departure from past practice. I think Hurricane Katrina following close on the heels of Sheehan's protest probably magnified the effect on the public.

So, even though the Iraq War bears no comparison to Vietnam in terms of the absolute number of US casualties, that may not matter all that much. People get accustomed to the background, and learn to pay attention to exceptional events that stand out from that background. After all, "news" is by definition a change from the background.

Posted by: BZ | April 19, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I have a brother in law in Iraq who is a doctor, and the number of U.S. Medical evacuations is over 55,000! The media isn't liberal or conservative but corporate, and if they actually showed in real time the atrocities of our smart bombs, the war would be over today! Its the 21st Century, the information age, digital wireless videos and photography, yet we really don't see anything but 5 seconds of a blown up and the news that 5 more US Troops died today, yawn! Who Cares?

Posted by: Brian Fejer | April 19, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I don't either. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the "six-gun/ten gallon hat" politics of the war has driven much of the rest of the world to conclude.
I don't like it but I don't know how I can much blame them at this point.

However, I did point out that this has nothing to do with the realities of the situation.

There are troops on the ground. They are in harm's way. How do we get to the point where they can accomplish something resembling a lasting peaceful government of self-rule that can take its place in the interantional community again.

The leadership of the White House and Pentagon have been incompetent in their prosecution of the War in Iraq. Necessary or not, it is a reality.

Start fixing fixable problems, like new leadership at Defense, who will formulate a winnable mission and exit strategy that stablizes the region. I am no military strategist so I don't have an answer but realizing that the current approach is failing doesn't take a 4-star general.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

There is one BIG difference between Iraq and Vietnam:

Bush had an exit strategy for Vietnam.

Posted by: Steve Nightingale | April 19, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Reply to Paul, and comment to McGraw as a representative of the media, by what I perceive as a slant in his article --the slant appears to be a desperate attempt to find a way to justify Bush when there is no such thing and that motivation ans the moving force for questioning WHY the polls aren't supporting Bush as if DISMAYING rather than PROPER VIEW of the U.S. The U.S. is the people, NOT BUSH.

Yeah, Michael Moore doesn't recognize this country anymore, and neither do I, but I see hope in IMPEACHMENT and the PROPER DIPLOMACY and proper attitude toward war fever (thank you Paul for a symptomatic diagnosis)...war fever is not fun fever, news to Bush...not news to the public, and news to McGraw...despite the "title" President of this Country, Bush's decision to go into Iraq due to WAR FEVER was BUSH not the country, and YES SIR, Michael Moore DID a proper RIDICULING job in his movie Farenheit 911. The rah rah music in the background was SARCASTIC. Idiots don't get the message.

Maybe if they think about what the world would do to the U.S. if they felt like taking care of HIS 'weapons' that are known to exist, instead of expecting diplomacy, people to rule, and international law and peaceful negotiations over disputes...maybe those idiots might get rid of their WAR FEVER in a HURRY.

Impeachment is the remedy to Bush, and the Iraq War is HIS DECISION and NOT Congress's.

The polls having earlier CONFUSION showing a division of hovering plus or minus 50% is because the truth is not being put before the public...loyalty to Bush irrespective of his actual horrific behavior is the litmus test showing.

There is no possible logic in what Bush has done or threatens. There is no sanity in WAR FEVER with nukes.

The world doesn't like it and neither does the American Public.

Anyone who identifies with Bush has a big identity problem. He is NOT America by any stretch of the imagination, but YES, the rousting of Bush is urgent.

Tell me Iran doesn't think he is a threat?

Hello idiots.

What do these War Fever diseased idiots expect to get with threats and nukes?


What results.

Death, destruction. End of the planet?

Not welcome. hardly government. Certainly not a United States "under God."


Nader offered it and the media owes him limelight, big time.

(Michael Moore knows that, and he is not doing what he should. Health Care platform from Nader for President was UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE with the government, tax paid, the payor, so that everyone would have coverage, and the non-profits the delivery...takes the profit and greed right out of the picture. Nader loves proper government for the people at a more than majority level!)

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | April 19, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"There are wonderful things happening in Iraq." Fabulous! Is it a democracy yet?
The cognative dissonance is a bit thick!

Reuters: Teachers beheaded in Baghdad in front of students
Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad on Wednesday and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.
04/19/06 CENTCOM: Roadside bomb kills MND-B Soldier (confirmed)
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died from wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad April 18.
04/19/06 Reuters: U.N. torture panel presses U.S. on detainees
GENEVA, April 18 (Reuters) -The United Nations committee against torture has demanded that the United States provide more information about its treatment of prisoners at home and foreign terrorism suspects held in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
04/19/06 KSLA: East Texas Marine Critically Injured in Iraq
The news came hard when the people of Marshall found out one of their own, Tony Scott Flynn, had been seriously injured in Iraq. Schrapnel from a mortar explosion injured Fynn on Thursday of last week. "Extremely critical. He's on a respirator,"
04/19/06 Reuters: U.S. soldier killed north of Baghdad
A U.S. soldier died from wounds sustained on Tuesday when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.
04/19/06 Reuters: mobile phone tower destroyed in Fallujah
Gunmen destroyed a mobile phone tower used by Iraqna mobile company on Tuesday when they planted a bomb near the tower in Falluja, 50 km (35 miles) west of Baghdad, police said.
04/19/06 The Australian: 20,000 kidnapped in Iraq this year
The 19,548 people kidnapped includes 4959 women and 2350 children, according to the report prepared by a group of 125 non-governmental organisations and made public in the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala.
04/19/06 WPost: Injured women put new face on war
Her body was maimed by war. Dawn Halfaker lay unconscious at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, her parents at her bedside and her future suddenly uncertain. A rocket-propelled grenade had exploded in her Humvee, ravaging her right arm and shoulder.
04/19/06 BNA: Clashes between US troops, insurgents kill four civilians in Iraq
US troops clashed with insurgents in Ramadi killing four civilians and injuring six others today, a police source said. Civilian houses were struck by rockets fired by American tanks following the clashes, and a US tank was hit and destroyed by a RPG.
04/19/06 Reuters: U.S. troops wound three civilians in Kirkuk
KIRKUK - Three civilians were wounded when American forces opened fire after the civilians ignored signs not to get to close to a U.S. patrol on a main road, a joint U.S. and Iraqi army centre said.
04/19/06 AP: Baghdad District Calm After Gunbattles
Iraqi soldiers manned checkpoints and searched cars Wednesday in a Sunni Arab district of northern Baghdad after two days of clashes that erupted over rumors that Shiite militias were coming. At least 13 people were killed before clashes ended Tuesday
04/19/06 Reuters: Car bomb kills one civilian, wounds ten near Baghdads green zone
A civilian was killed and 10 people, including two policemen, were wounded when a roadside bomb hit a police patrol near one of the entrances to the Green Zone, where U.S. and Iraqi government offices are housed, police said.
04/19/06 AP: Car bomb wounds two in Baqubah
A car bomb exploded in the city of Baqouba, wounding two civilians. Police had earlier received a call about a body in the car, which they retrieved moments before the blast, officials said.
04/19/06 AP: Five more bodies found in Baghdad
In the southeastern suburb of Rustamiyah, police discovered five bodies of Iraqis, handcuffed and blindfolded. Late Tuesday, police had found 11 corpses in various parts of the capital.
04/19/06 AP: Five foreigners killed in northern Iraq
late Tuesday, five foreigners, including an Egyptian, were killed as they drove near a village 31 miles southwest of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, police said. Officials declined to reveal the nationalities of the other four victims.
04/19/06 AP: Gunmen kill five in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood
In three separate attacks, gunmen in the southern neighborhood of Dora killed a construction worker, trade ministry employee and three power plant workers who had been snatched from their car an hour earlier, police said.
04/19/06 AP: Gunmen kill medic in Baghdad
In Baghdad's west Amariyah district, gunmen killed a medic as he walked from house to house administering vaccinations, police said.
04/19/06 Reuters: Gunmen blow up police station in Yusufiya
Gunmen blew up a newly established police station in Yusufiya, south of Baghdad, police said. No casualties were reported.
04/19/06 Reuters: Gunmen killed a man driving a car bomb in Baquba
Gunmen killed a man driving a car bomb in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. After police took the body out of the car, the booby-trapped vehicle exploded, wounding two civilians, police said.
04/19/06 AP: Roadside bomb kills one civilain near al-Kindi hospital
The other [roadside bomb] exploded near the al-Kindi hospital in eastern Baghdad, killing one civilian and wounding four others, police said.
04/19/06 AP: Roadside bombs kills 1, wounds 11
One bomb targeting a police patrol blew up in the western neighborhood of Harthiya, killing one civilian and injuring 11 people, including two policemen and an Iraqi soldier, police said.
04/19/06 AFP: Baghdad on edge as UN steps in to solve deadlock
The UN's envoy to Iraq has stepped in to try to break the country's political deadlock, with tensions running high in Baghdad after two days of running battles between rebels and US-Iraqi forces.

Posted by: Brian Fejer | April 19, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

RMill, I apologize for the language but do YOU like to be characterized by an outsider as to blame for the incompetence and corruption of your country's leadership? I don't. It's like the Iraqis being blamed for Saddam's behavior, Sure, some supported him, just like some support Bush. But most of us -- overwelmingly, at this point, dont'.

I worked hard to defeat him and his oil company politics and so did a lot of people. Of course people from other countries have an opinion. But just to issue a blanket dismissal of every American?

It makes just about as much sense as hating everyone in France.

Posted by: Drindl | April 19, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Mr. McGraw and other neocrats like him never cease to amaze me, I highly doubt he has a son or daughter in Iraq, as long as Bush and his croonies tell the mindless followers why were in Iraq, it changes from month to month, so pick a reason any reason and that is good enough to claim more lives and broken bodies. The reason for the Vietnam comparison is not in the number of casualties, I suppose if we reached 50,000 + then some people like Mcgraw might say well yes it resembles Vietnam, the reason for comparison is the players, Nixon/Johnson/Bush/Cheney, Rummy/Macnamera, we were also "winning" that war, a good number of times. Reinstate the draft and start sending some of these rich sons and daughters of the "believers" to Iraq and they soon will be non-believers. I guess as long as it's someone else's kid fighting then it's o.k. This is what happens when you have a bunch of rich white old men, who didn't serve themselves, or pretended to, decideding way before 9-11 who they were going to invade before the 2000 election. The reason very simple Haliburton, Cheney, OIL! Bin Laden simply gave them an easy out. Otherwise they would have devised one I am sure. Afghanistian is simply an afterthought. The only way we had to stop Vietnam was by people taking to the streets to protest. Maybe we have to lazy a society to do that now, so we all write e-mails and blogs, but there is certainly a way to send a big message! It's called the November elections, and baring the rigging of another election, we can hopefully throw all the bums out,from both parties, we will still be stuck with BUSH and CHENEY, so thanks McGraw. Hope you can sleep at night. Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | April 19, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

You know its a good CC thread when CC decides to post.

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

james mcgraw

iraq IS be led by those crazys in iran

Honest to Christ haven't you ever heard of the Shiite Supreme Council for The Islamic Revolution, they won the theocratic elections, we took the only secular state in the Middle east and turned it into another Islamic Theocracy that hates us! The best way to stop the blowback of terrorist tactics is to stop screwing around with other nations, and supporting Tyrants and Terrorists like Saddam and Usama! I've lost a family member in the war, and I look forward to seeing Democrats AND Republicans being "brought to swift justice" for their crimes! If you support the war, then go enlist and defend Big Oil and Israel, since you obviously don't think much of the US Constitution!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

If CNN had covered D-Day in real time, the US would have left the war the day after. The American people have never had a stomach for seeing their families and neighbors dying.

If the US is so unpopular to the Iraqis, why has the Iraqi governtment not asked us to leave? If the US is so unpopular to the Iraqis, why is the leader of the insurgency from Jordan?

A government has been created and three groups that have not gotten along for centuries are talking and forming the basis of a government.

As to winning the war, we did that a long time ago. We are no longer fighting a foreign government. In both Vietnam and Korea, there was an established government in opposition to US forces.

In Iraq, there is no government other than the one being created. Without a government to provide policing functions, anarchy reigns free.

When the Govt of Iraq is capable of providing that protection, we will leave.

There are wonderful things happening in Iraq. The news has only reported the negative aspects of what is going on over there. Everyone that I know who has come back from the gulf has volunteered to go back to continue the task of rebuilding the country.

And the Navy folks in Norfolk are not the best gauge of military morale in the Gulf. I was a Navy Officer and I can tell you that Navy morale is always low. Talk to the troops who have helped built soccer fields, schools and municipal water facilities and they can tell you success stories from the gulf.

Posted by: Dan | April 19, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Bush leaving in 2008 with a majority of people against the war in Iraq? The more fearful question is whether Bush will leave office in 2008 with American troops dying in Afghanistan, Iraq AND Iran.

Posted by: Diane | April 19, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I know this is an emotional topic but lets watch our language drindl. And thanks for illustrating the exact sentiment I (and others) am talking about with respect to using harsh measures to spread democracy. No one from outside the US has an opinion that matters? Welcome to the real world.

Also, did anyone else think that Bush's defense of Rumsfeld was eerily reminiscent of his back slapping "You're doin' a great job Brownie" he gave then-FEMA director Mike Brown after Katrina and days before Brown's "resignation"?

And this is not a matter of not supporting our troops. What better way to support them then by providing adequate personnel and equipment to carry out a well defined mission? It is no longer a matter of a ceremony (Bush had that when he landed the fighter on the aircraft carrier) but of somehow finding a way to accomplish something sustainably positive and bringing US troops back without further destabilization and minimizing loss of life. That has been made inexoriably more difficult by Rumsfeld and Bush and their "posse-like" round up the bad guys approach. that is what, I, at least, am protesting.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"Nine in ten voters said the war in Afghanistan was not a mistake"


It's been 1,675 days since Bush said he'd catch Osama bin Laden 'Dead or Alive!'

Osama bin Laden: A dead nemesis perpetuated by the US government
When you hear a threat which is "probably" made by bin Laden, just remember that he's "probably" dead. Also think about who benefits from your believing he's alive.

The US Invasion of Afghanistan was Announced Months Before the 9/11 Attacks
"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Posted by: Stupid Ugly Fat American | April 19, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"the libs and anti's want to see a surrender ceremony by the Iraq gangsters?"

um I'm not a lib or an anti, but an American and I would like to see a surrender ceremony by the USA gangsters! US forces are traing Iraqis to fight Iraqis fighting US forces, brilliant! The Iraqi people have seen over 250,000 of their family members die in the defending of their nation in the past 2 years. Tammy doesn't think that innocent civilians are slaughtered by US thugs and smart bombers?

Posted by: No Peace With Occupation | April 19, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I am a retired military man who suffered the problems of Vietnam and Korea. I turned from a registered Democrat to an avid Republican during the LBJ administration. I saw the collusion between the Communists and the demonstrators and the Democrat party. Whether it could be proved or not is debatable considering the people doing the proving are the communist sympathizers. It is similar today. The news people are trying to find a way to manipulate the public opinion against the war. It is an easy thing to do because war is never popular, even though sometimes necessary. It was necessary in Iraq to depose a group that would, no doubt, support with oil money, the advance of a terrorist war against our country. After they polish up the problems with their weapons of mass destruction and have nuclear assets then it is too late for anything but Armegedon and that would be hard to support even when demanded by circumstances. You might see this conflict as an alternative to all out nuclear battle. We keep hearing the drum beat of "There was no WMD!" and we know this was not so because dregs of it was found and poison gas was used by Saddam against the Kurds and Iranians. Saddam would have used it had he had it perfected and had he been left alone he would have perfected it with the help of oil money and ruthless Russians and Chinese profit seekers. It may work well for the newsies to foment decension but it ain't true and the brighter ones know it.
If it is proved that great amounts of the WMD was moved (not inconcievable) then what will the headline yellow journalism read? Oops!

Posted by: Sam | April 19, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Fighting us in kansas does not sound like a bad idea -

Democracy is about electing people to represent our interest - polls based on emotions do not serve the democratic process when politicians adjust policy based on emotionally driven polls -

Americans' views on any war are kind of like Texas weather - if you do not like them wait a minute because they will change -

My view is the war was a mistake and common sense told us that before the invasion - point Powell's speach telling us about the movable labs - which turned out to not be labs - the idea that our satilite technology could not track these labs was laughable -

but emotions and testosterone got in the way and we went to war - emotionally driven public opinion got us into this needless war - it should not be what gets us out.

Good policy should be the only factor which decides the issue.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: BObby Wightman-Cervantes | April 19, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The USA lost the 14 year territorial pissings in Iraq. Why should one more American die for the Theocratic Shiite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq/Iran? WMDS? UBL? 911? Democracy?


Posted by: Freedumb Fighter | April 19, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

To Looking from the Outside:

It ain't your country. You admit it. Butt out. You don't know what the fuck we are and we didn't ask your opinion.

Posted by: Drindl | April 19, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Good points, McGraw. I guess the anti-war group just needs to be reminded about Vietnam and its long turmoil from Kennedy, to the entire Johnson years, into the Nixon era. Today, I wonder if the libs and anti's want to see a surrender ceremony by the Iraq gangsters? That was the usual way to offically end a war, the defeated side handed over their swords. But since the enemy is not a military group, how the anti's would finally see what the end of conflict in Iraq would look like is the debate issue. The criminals love the conflict because they would never fit into a lawabiding society to become productive citizens, yet they are free to kill, rape, kidnap people for ransom, and get away with their hooliganism. The Iraq military has seen over 10,000 of their members die in the defending of their nation in the past 2 years. The innocent civilians are slaughtered by the thugs every day, and if we leave, we will end up coming back to end the genocide worse than Rwanda, or the Darfur region of Sudan. Funny how the Dems want us to send our military to handle Darfur but forbid them be using their weapons to shoot the enemy of the Darfur people. Until the Dems come up with a strong leader in the legacy mode of FDR and Truman, they will continue to be seen as weak on defending our nation and becoming the ISOLATIONIST party. Remember people, Howard Dean raised $30 million based on being anti-war and angry at President Bush. The Dems have a liberal swamp they must wade through until they find a strong leader. National security and defending our nation will be key issues in 2008.

Posted by: Tammy | April 19, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

Send Me Your Health Care Horror Stories... an appeal from Michael Moore


How would you like to be in my next movie? I know you've probably heard I'm making a documentary about the health care industry (but the HMOs don't know this, so don't tell them — they think I'm making a romantic comedy).

If you've followed my work over the years, you know that I keep a pretty low profile while I'm making my movies. I don't give interviews, I don't go on TV and I don't defrost my refrigerator. I do keep my website updated on a daily basis (there's been something like 4,000,000 visitors just this week alone) and the rest of the time I'm... well, I can't tell you what I'm doing, but you can pretty much guess. It gets harder and harder sneaking into corporate headquarters, but I've found that just dying my hair black and wearing a skort really helps.

Back to my invitation to be in my movie. Have you ever found yourself getting ready to file for bankruptcy because you can't pay your kid's hospital bill, and then you say to yourself, "Boy, I sure would like to be in Michael Moore's health care movie!"?

Or, after being turned down for the third time by your HMO for an operation they should be paying for, do you ever think to yourself, "Now THIS travesty should be in that 'Sicko' movie!"?

Or maybe you've just been told that your father is going to have to just, well, die because he can't afford the drugs he needs to get better – and it's then that you say, "Damn, what did I do with Michael Moore's home number?!"

Ok, here's your chance. As you can imagine, we've got the goods on these bastards. All we need now is to put a few of you in the movie and let the world see what the greatest country ever in the history of the universe does to its own people, simply because they have the misfortune of getting sick. Because getting sick, unless you are rich, is a crime – a crime for which you must pay, sometimes with your own life.

About four hundred years from now, historians will look back at us like we were some sort of barbarians, but for now we're just the laughing stock of the Western world.

So, if you'd like me to know what you've been through with your insurance company, or what it's been like to have no insurance at all, or how the hospitals and doctors wouldn't treat you (or if they did, how they sent you into poverty trying to pay their crazy bills) ...if you have been abused in any way by this sick, greedy, grubby system and it has caused you or your loved ones great sorrow and pain, let me know.

Send me a short, factual account of what has happened to you – and what IS happening to you right now if you have been unable to get the health care you need. Send it to I will read every single one of them (even if I can't respond to or help everyone, I will be able to bring to light a few of your stories).

Thank you in advance for sharing them with me and trusting me to try and do something about a very corrupt system that simply has to go.

Oh, and if you happen to work for an HMO or a pharmaceutical company or a profit-making hospital and you have simply seen too much abuse of your fellow human beings and can't take it any longer – and you would like the truth to be told – please write me at I will protect your privacy and I will tell the world what you are unable to tell. I am looking for a few heroes with a conscience. I know you are out there.

Thank you, all of you, for your help and your continued support through the years. I promise you that with "Sicko" we will do our best to give you not only a great movie, but a chance to bring down this evil empire, once and for all.

In the meantime, stay well. I hear fruits and vegetables help.

Michael Moore

Posted by: che | April 19, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

As the administration made its case for the war, there were newspapers and web sites both on the conservative and liberal side of the issue questioning the basic reasons which were being used to justify invading Iraq.

The rush to invade ignored all reason. Any one who questioned the justification was attacked for their partiotism and had 9/11 thrown in their face. Congress totally abdicated their responsibilities by giving the administration carte blanche powers with no time lines attached.

The press campaign, the earnest members of the administration visiting all talk shows and repeating the same line, over and over and over... The American public was sold a bill of goods, and that includes the Washington Post and the New York Times. There was no meaningful debate.

Now the public has had time to see the results. All the spin in the world, all the statistical comparisons cannot keep the public from seeing for themselves the results.

Iraq should not have been invaded by the US when in the manner that it happened. We should have pursued Bin Laden until either we had captured or killed him. He was the villan, not Saddam. He was the one who attacked our country, and he is still free.

The public's opinion has changed because you cannot fool all the people all of the time. The chickens are coming home to roost. In Vietnam we had both types of warfare. We fought insurrectionists who bombed, mined and sniped at us. We also had a well trained and armed enemy who had mountains and jungles to hide their movements. They were supported by North Vietnam, China and Russia. We lost many men to mines, mostly made from our own unexploded ordinance. But the real similarity is the one of having taken on a no win war.

If we want to spread democracy in the world then we must be prepared to live and deal with governments which do not share our values. Iraq has voted, let's let them govern themselves no matter how unfavorable that government is to us.

Posted by: Bill Allen | April 19, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I think you perhaps "misunderestimate" the phenomenon of War Fever. In the wake of 9/11, the American blood lust against Arabs was palpable and after Afganistan, which did not sate our lust, Iraq was the only convenient target. Similar war fever preceded Iraq War I, Vietnam, Bay of Pigs, Korea and the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
Facts, procedures, costs, rights, wrongs are all submerged in the tsunami that sweeps over the country.

Posted by: Paul | April 19, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I have watched this war from outside of the US and I have seen both sides manipulated by both politician and press. It doesn't seem as if Americans think for themselves anymore but look for some common cause to attach to. Everyone speaks of the insurgents coming to America, fighting in Kansas. Did I miss something or weren't there terrorist attacks on America just a few years ago.

America revels in the fact that it is a free society but maybe you haven't realized that you are no longer a self sustaining nation. You depend heavily on other nations to supply one of your most precious commodities......oil. The men and women fighting this war, be UNNECESSARY as you say it is, it fighting to maintain the life style that most Americans have become accustomed to.

Also due to the fact that America is a 'Microwave' society expecting to win every war with the use of 21st century technology in a matter of minutes and the thought that America is the most powerful nation and should not be challenged by a third world country such as Iraq what else do you expect but such dismal poll results. Trust me if America had defeated Iraq in 60 days even the opponents to the war would have approved it. But America is now too powerful to get its hands dirty in war and thus can never win a long, drawn out war, such as Vietnam today.

As someone who has fought in wars, been under enemy fire and now lives to tell the stories I am ashamed to see the protests, read the comments and blogs, and hear the conversations. Americans are in Iraq fighting for you cowards, for you capitalist who sit in the comfort of your homes or your foreign cars and pass judgment on some adopted opinion that was never yours to begin with. Try supporting your troops, it may not be a perfect world but they deserve that. Even the foreigners support the American troops. Bring them home? This war is unnecessary? The fact is that they aren't home and there is a war going on. Support your troops with words of encouragement while you drink your sparkling water, watch your big screen TV and lets not forget drive your BIG SUV's that guzzle gas like a tank.

Posted by: Looking from the Outside In | April 19, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I believe that the war in Iraq is a mistake and I believed it was a mistake at the beginning. Bush Sr. was smart enough not to start something he couldn't finish and de-stabilize the entire Middle East in the process. Apparently, his son wouldn't listen to reason and thousands of people have died as a result.

There are three very different factions within Iraq that are going to war against one another no matter what we do to try to stop them. We can't make their laws and we can't force them to comply with our beliefs. Whichever group is in power is going to seek extermination or at least suppression of the other two.

Why should we let our people be killed a few at a time for some futile cause? I came to feel the same way about Afghanistan when it became obvious that it was nothing but a search for one terrorist named Osama bin Laden, who's probably been in Saudi Arabia under house arrest of one of the most wealthy families in the world for several years if he is still alive at all.

Posted by: Abbe Allen | April 19, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Staley- Don't you remember, we already won, Mission Accomplished!

The problem is there is no win here for the US. There never was going to be. Bush's sophmoric understanding of the Middle East led him to think that deposing, capturing and prosecuting Saddam and setting up an independant government was the end all.


The divisions between the Muslim and Christian worlds (I am speaking mainly from the standpoint of the fundmentalist religious leadership of most arab nations) and specifically the US go far deeper that the particulars of despotic leadership. There has been substantial islamic backlash against even the secularized arab governments in places like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Hell, most people in democratic and Christian European countries don't much like us, why would we assume that bombing and invading an arab country was going to change anyones opinion for the better? Were we going to beat them into submission and into liking us?

The premise of the war, which has now been debunked to the nth degree, leads to only one conclusion both domestically and abroad, that we have used the military might of the world's lone superpower to secure oil interests (and most American's aren't even benefitting from that-anyone filled up lately?).

Then the Bush administration and Rummy's War Room broke all their own long-held rules of engagement.

Don't get in unless you know how to get out- NO EXIT STRATEGY!

Don't repeat the mistakes of the past.

Listen to your military experts.

None of these things were done. The problem is that Bush and Rumsfled share the same philosophy (and probably the same brain) as to how to prosecute this military action.

Now Rumsfeld is using the Caine Mutiny defense, that the General's calling for his resignation were disloyal and against him the whole time, and that only heightens tensions with the current miltary chain of command.

Rumsfeld completely ignored Gen. Tommy Franks as far as troop levels needed and brow beat him into backing off, never provided the necessary equipment for the personnel he did put in harms way, and never had a clear thought as to how to extricate them safely without jeopardizing the region's security and America's military reputation.

What has now been accomplished is the destabilization of Iraq, heightened tensions in the middle east, and no way to easily withdraw troops from a burgeoning civil war atmosphere without causing further destabilization. Now Bush says it will be another President's problem while he goes off to his next target (Iran) because only he has the guts to take them on.

The most crippling effect is that while in Vietnam, 20,000 troops died in combat before public opinion turned, now it has only taken 2,378. What this shows to the world is that the American people's appetite for war has grown limited and will be more difficult to muster support when the military is legitimately needed for action.

They are thinking- All we have to do is kill 2000 US soldiers and the American people will turn on their own government.

They have already sacrificed many more than that in struggles with Isreal and in many cases with their own governments and neighbors so what is that number to them in order to force America out of their homeland?

The bottom line to this somewhat lengthy diatribe (my apologies but I don't vent often) is that the Cowboy mentality which Bush and Rumsfeld share has placed extraordinary burdens on future presidencies and military actions. While that may be good news to some and in some cases to me as well, I recognize the unfortunate need for military action in specific cases and this will hog tie the succeeding administrations to come.

Posted by: RMill | April 19, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The simple and most basic reason that Americans have turned against this war so quickly compared to other wars, notasbly Vietnam, is that they finally discovered that they were LIED into this war. Americans don't like being lied to. And it has become all too clear that we are dying in Iraq for a pack of lies, from the non-existent WMDs to the total lack of any Hussein-al Qaeda link. Yes, Vietnam had the bogus Gulf of Tonkin non-event that was used to justify our spiralling military commitment, but that never received the publicity or caught on with the public the way this pack of lies did. Lyndon lied to Congress; Bush lied to us. It's that plain and simple. That is why so many converts have finally come to see the light.

Posted by: Richard | April 19, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I have said this before and it is worth repeating: Bush's slide in the polls has to do with a good deal more than Iraq. Recall that even in 2004 Bush struggled to keep his approval numbers above 50%.

His approval numbers spiked a bit after the republican convention which was deliberately timed to take place as close to the 9-11 anniversary as possible. Even with that huge advantage he had on the issue of terrorism and one of the slickest (and sickest) personal attack campaigns I ever saw mounted against John Kerry's war record, coupled with the historical advantage an incumbent President always enjoys, Bush still only managed to win by a margin of a couple of percentage points.

Then, in 2005, shamelessly hyping the results into some sort of broad mandate to overhaul social security, the tax system and health care, Bush cynically claimed he had capital he didn't really have that much of. After siding with the crazies on the religious right who claimed Ms Schiavo was being "murdered", "starved to death", etc., Bush and the republicans were soundly rebuffed by the courts and the American people.

The Shiavo incident began a slide that has brought Bush to the low point he suffers now. Following that was his failed nomination of Harriet Myers, the indictment of a White House official in the Abramoff scandal, Katrina, the resignation of Michael Brown, the indictment of Scooter Libby and the cloud still hanging over Karl Rove, the warrantless wiretaps, the payoffs to journalists for fake news, the dismantling of virtually every reason offered for the war in Iraq, the Cheney shooting, Another White House advisor resigning after being arrested for a theft scheme, the Delay affair and subsequent resignation, and now the generals calling for Rumsfeld to step down.

Quite apart from the Iraq debacle, this administration has a track record of incompetence and corruption, deceit and outright lying, and a level of vindictiveness against critics that summons up memories of Nixon's "enemies lists" that demands at the very least a Congressional censure of the President.

But, as we have seen, it is not only Bush who is in complete denial. He has a Congressional majority that finds itself incapable of noticing the stark nakedness of the Emperor.

Posted by: Jaxas | April 19, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse more response to McGraw's response! Then I need to go to work. I live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, headquarters of the US Navy and home to significant numbers of all branches of the military. I run a small business and deal with military families every day. The statement morale is high and everyone in the military thinks that they are doing a wonderful thing is so BS as to be beyond ridiculous! I NEVER hear that from those who have been there, when they are talking freely without thier careers on the line. If a truly secret vote were to be taken among the military, everything that I hear on a daily basis would indicate that an overwhelming majority feel that we have no business being there, that we are a catalyst for insurgency recruitment, and that we can not win a victory that leaves the country of Iraq and it's people in better condition than when we went in. WE may well eventually DECLARE a victory and come home, and if that is to be the outcome...let us declare it quickly.

Posted by: wayne p | April 19, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans might have a glimmer of hope if the only issue was the war; however, the Bush Administration and the Republicans has been not only disconnected on the war issue but on nearly every key issue that concerns the middle class. Maybe the Republican noise machine will finally fall on deaf ears.

Posted by: Jim | April 19, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes "Parsing the Polls" requires checking the validity. An overall low approval, to me, has validity. Likewise, I would be shocked if there ever were a HIGH approval of any war since WWII. War is obsolete to civilized nations, and the logic that allows a war without any upfront IN OUR FACES evidence, and without the CONSENT and APPROVAL of Congress as a Conscious decision reflecting public awareness of GENUINE cause, Bush took an offense posture and it is INDEFENSIBLE.

A poll should ask not do you approve, but do you know the basis for invading Iraq? Likely most would say "Saddam Hussein was a villain and had to be removed."

But, what about proper diplomacy and proper international rule on any country that has a perceived villain as the head of state?

Isn't it obvious any country that takes the offensive position of deciding to invade is offending everyone, including the nation doing the invading, ESPECIALLY without the consent of the people and without any proper evidence UPFRONT.

Bush is unconscionable UPFRONT IN OUR FACES.

Posted by: Elizabeth Ellis | April 19, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I think it's only a matter of time, Paul. Only I expect it will be some heavily armed winger lunatic who opens up on a crowd of college kids because he can't stand that America is stumbling and losing face so badly in the eyes of the rest of the world.

People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin, who recently published the phone numbers of some peace activists and urged her readers to harass them, will eventually get somebody killed.

Posted by: Drindl | April 19, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The Socialist Democrats are all wrong about not wanting to go into Iraq !!!!!!!!! If we would not have made Saddam make the choices to either clean up his act or give it up , and the right thing was to get his ass out a there . If we wouldn't have , and just stayed in Afganistand , then saddam , syria, Iran , and all the other radical SOBs would have went together , and then what would we have had to deal with ???? Don't ya think we would have had a mess to deal with then , all the SOBs would have Nuked up , and then what , ask yourselves that question before you pass judgement on what and why we are doing what we are doing , the best thing was to get in there and bust up the radical formation that was taking place . Couldn't you see these losers gain more and more guts to train suicidal freaks that are so strung out on creating death in the name of their God , I would rather see em setup racing tracks , and race some cars , maybe have a NASCAR race , or do some Motorcross , dirt bike racing , and all the things in between , instead of this Hate the frickin world , BS . Thanks , Tony Newbill out Arizona way

Posted by: Anthony Newbill | April 19, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I find it so disturbing that anyone minimizes the devastation of this unmerited war by showing that not that big of a percentage of our men are being killed. Sir, have you ever lost ONE child, One brother, One parent in an unnecesary, illegal it a war of this nature or a murder. That one death is your whole world. When one dies in the pursuit of all that is right and just, it is still unbearably painful....but to die or have a loved one die in a war fought for ego and oil...have horrible...and how callous of you to dismiss the loss...not only of our men, but on thousands of innocent Iraq citizens. Shame.

Posted by: Wayne P | April 19, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

just trying to clarify that this war is necessary now that we are over there regardless of the fact that it may not have been so before. i dont mean for any of these postings to be offensive to military personell (i was in the navy not the army) but can you honestly say the world would be better if we just up and left (or even withdrew little by little starting tomorrow?) iraq, the middle east, would be led by those crazys in iran

Posted by: james mcgraw | April 19, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

With all due respect to the Ohio State poli sci prof, this Michigan grad sees things differently: When a war becomes unwinnable, i.e., Korea after the Chinese intervention, Vietnam after Tet offensive, Iraq after the elections proved meaningless, public opinion turns negative. Sort of like the annual Buckeye/Wolverine clash in November. Casualties don't correlate. The real question is whether there will be a "Kent State" event that will kill all of the war fever that got us into Iraq.

Posted by: Paul | April 19, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

no one can honestly say that we were not duped into backing this war... that is no longer an arguement. and no, sadly, no one from Iraq (notice the q as im not typing so hurridly this time) ever had what it takes to attack america. what im saying is that the majority of public opinion and polls is being influenced by what i perceive as an OVERLY negative media portrayal of the war. this 'insurgency' is taking place in the central 3 of Iraq's 14 provinces. the media would make you believe that there is fighting everywhere, in every city and house. they are just bitter and angry about being duped into backing this war, and now they need their revenge (which is completely unhelpful and unnecessary for an entity that is supposed to be un-biased.) as for the deaths and maimings of our troops, as i said before every negative story is contradicted by stories of great moral coming out of iraq that is largely (and sadly) being completely ignored by the american public. if its THAT BAD over there, why is moral so high?? because they ARE the ones over there... they see it every day. if its as bad as vietnam wouldnt you agree that troop moral would be extremely low? the reason there arent many iraq veterans to talk to around here is that they are all re-inlisting to fight a VERY NECESSARY war.

Posted by: JAMES MCGRAW | April 19, 2006 9:41 AM | Report abuse

One vital piece of information is missing from the comparison of Iraq to Viet Nam. During the Viet Nam conflict, the draft was in effect which made that war much more personal to many, many American families. I believe the polls would indicate a larger number of Americans against the Iraqi war if the draft was instituted.

Posted by: Peter O'Shaughnessy | April 19, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Chris, maybe you might want to mention that many people have turned against the war -- even if they supported getting rid of Saddam -- because it has been conducted in the most ludicrously incompetent manner? That many of our young people have been blown away because Rumsfeld was too cheap to buy them body armor?

Maybe you might want to mention that many people are now aware that literally billions of taxpayer dollars have simply disappeared, vanished to corrupt or incompetent contractors, while no work actually got done? Maybe you might want to mention that those contractors are Republican cronies?

And you, Mr. MrGraw? I assume that since you support the war [bet you have at least two 'support the troops' decals] you must be in the military, serving in that war, right?

Posted by: Drindl | April 19, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

McGraw, look under your bed, I think there are insurgents hiding! Congrats, it is your brainless do not think for yourself type mentality that the neo-cons love to manipulate. What, do you expect to see boatloads of insurgents unloading in NY harbor? All I can say is thank god for tornados. He sure knows where to put'em.

Posted by: Iraqi vet | April 19, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Would someone -- any one -- please define with some precision what would constitute "winning" or "victory" ??? The failure to do this in the Vietnam debacle has been repeated in the current instance. Once we have a definition, then we can ask the crucial question "IS THIS ACHIEVABLE" ??? Iraq was a highly artificial country... the three main groups there have never voluntarily agreed even to be in Iraq. If the proponents of this war think a stable, democratic Iraq is success, then they need to explain why they think this is an achievable goal by any means, much less by military force.

Posted by: David Ray | April 19, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Mr. McGraw ignores the fact that improved technology and battlefield medical improvements have cut the number of battle deaths in half since the 60s/70s. The number of wounded in three years of fighting tells the true picture, of course, one the administration is purposefully hiding.

Not to mention, Mr. McGraw's logic of "fighting them in Iraq instead of in Kansas" is totally perturbed. Since when did anyone from Iraq EVER attack the U.S. homeland, or even draw up wide-eyed plans of an attack on our soil?

No, Mr. McGraw, your support of this war is tacit support of the murder of 2,000 Americans, the maiming of 10s of THOUSANDS of Americans and the death and dismemberment of 10s to 100s of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

You should stop saying that you support the "War" and START saying that you support those casualties, b/c this war has no basis at all except greed and the indiscriminant use of force.

And, Oh Yeah. How bout we go get Osama Bin Laden? Nah. He keeps the War Machine alive for the neocons to profit. Donald Rumsfeld is EXACTLY the person for the job. War Profiteering is HARD WORK.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | April 19, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Mr. McGraw, perhaps you are not from Kansas as I am, but frankly, this is a totally UNNECESSARY war and this country should never have been led into it by this lying, hypocritical administration. And you really do need to learn how to spell Iraq.

Posted by: Karolyn Kinsey | April 19, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

how anyone can compare vietnam to iraq II is just beyond me. first of all, wasnt it a little over 50,000 troops in 14 years of fighting? in a little over 3 years of fighting we have lost a little over 2000 (which is misleading because only about 1500 of those died from actual combat.)multiply the TOTAL times the ammount of time vietname took and your looking at about 10,000 american deaths... IN 14 YEARS OF FIGHTING! there is no way this insurgency, which has almost no broad support among the majority of Iraqs citizens, can sustain itself for that long. i think americans need to suck it up and quit whining. its so easy (and popular thanks to other, more valid anti war movements in the past) to just throw in the towel and say bring em home, but all the reports you read in the paper about moral being down is contradicted by our own soldiers who say themselves they are proud to be fighting this war. I AM PROUD TO SUPPORT THIS NECESSARY WAR. id rather have them fighting in irag than kansas...

Posted by: JAMES MCGRAW | April 19, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and CC? Careful you don't swallow any bones. And we officially approve your implicit request to drink on the job. We promise not to tell Bob Woodward.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 19, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

While I think the war in Afghanistan has been damaged by the pre-existing myopia involving Iraq, following surprises me.

"Nine in ten voters said the war in Afghanistan was not a mistake in Gallup polls conducted in November 2001 and January 2002. That had dropped slightly a few years later when a survey conducted in July 2004 found that almost one in four said it had been a mistake to send troops."

Nearly 25% of Americans think that the invasion of Afghanistan was a bad idea? Is this a polling error?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | April 19, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I think public opinion could be turned around if, and only if, they somehow managed to WIN it. Of course, that's not really possible. In terms of military success, it looks a lot like Vietnam. In terms of long-term involvement, it looks a lot like Korea. There seems to be no impetus for it, but I wonder why they don't talk about splitting Iraq into Kurdish, Sunni, and Shi'ite entities. There seems to be a strong aversion to doing that anywhere, but it would go a long way toward solving most similar conflicts.

Posted by: Staley | April 19, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Historically, once a majority believes a war was a mistake the Rubicon is crossed and there is no turning back. Both the politicians, media, and public who uncritically supported the march to war have blood on their hands.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 19, 2006 6:32 AM | Report abuse

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