More dissent on Warshawsky article

Steven Warshawsky's piece on public opposition to the Iraq War is silly if not windy.  Bush's drop in public opinion 

[is] due to the public's disaffection with the President's much more grandiose vision of using American troops to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East.  It's the nation—building, stupid.

Rubbish.  The drop in public opinion is associated with the perception that things are going poorly.  The writer is wrong in is sense of the timeline of events.  Well before the invasion of Iraq, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld were declaring that one of the pillars of the Bush doctrine, viz., spreading/encouraging democracies.   Five minutes of internet research reveals that the author has arrived on a spurious correlation between drop in public opinion for the war and what were clearly its stated objectives long before the invasion, and in the months following.

"In their public pronouncements, President Bush and his associates have advanced three reasons for going to war with Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein: (1) to eliminate Saddam's WMD arsenals; (2) to diminish the threat of international terrorism; and (3) to promote democracy in Iraq and the surrounding areas."  The Coming War With Iraq: Deciphering the Bush Administration's Motives  — January 16, 2003

"The nation of Iraq —— with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people —— is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom...For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror."  President Discusses the Future of Iraq  — February 26, 2003

"using Iraq as the cornerstone of creating democracy in the. Arab/Muslim"  March 16, 2003.

And the political process is moving toward democracy, which is a major shift of system in that part of the world. President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld Discuss Progress in Iraq.  August 8, 2003

"Today, the U.S. and some three—dozen other countries are helping Iraqis to create a stable democracy in which terrorists can find no haven."  CHENEY ON IRAQ — September 18, 2003.

Warshawsky writes:

President Bush's low approval ratings are not due to the public's disapproval of this decision...Rather, they are due to the public's disaffection with the President's much more grandiose vision of using American troops to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East.  It's the nation—building, stupid.

The public knew from the beginning that nation building was one of the clearly stated goals.  This does not come as a surprise to anyone but apparently the author.  Contrary to the trend in American public education, knowing (and yes...horrors...even memorizing) the dates of world events is important; it allows us to correlate cause and effect.  The writer seems to pretend that the people have always believed that the "democracy thing" was a bad idea.  I'm curious, iIf the war was going swimmingly, what does the writer think public opinion would be?  Does he think that the people would still be against helping to install democracy in Iraq?

What would make much more interesting reading (and writing) would be an explanation of what has happened to the ability of the American public to think critically about things and the world in general.  What has happened to their ability to endure bad news?  To deal with unpleasantness?  Discomfort?  Isn't it more important to discuss how there is no consensus in this country that we are at war...after, in fact, being involved in one for 5 straight years following an attack that incinerated 3,000 of our civilians...on our home soil?

Look at it this way.  A mere 65 years ago, less than 2,500 American service men were killed in an attack that occurred not on our homeland.  What was the mood of the nation back then?  Check this out: the national response was to quickly round—up over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese—Americans.  Say what you want about this unjust internment, if nothing else, it was a powerful measure of just how committed we were to destroying our enemy.

OR how about this one as another "data point" as to how much we've changed as a people.  The other immediate act of national will following December 7th was to embark on a horrific and costly war against whom?  A country that never attacked us!  Talk about nation building and Wilsonion whatever you call it.

One could go on for pages and pages as to how we today are a different culture than those that overcame hardships in prior eras.  Beyond the spurious correlations between real events and public opinion polls, the author gives far too much credit to the views of the American people reflecting anything reliable.  I would offer that: "It's Attention—Span and Culture Stupid".

Alan Fraser   9 16 06

Steven Warshawsky's piece on public opposition to the Iraq War is silly if not windy.  Bush's drop in public opinion 

[is] due to the public's disaffection with the President's much more grandiose vision of using American troops to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East.  It's the nation—building, stupid.

Rubbish.  The drop in public opinion is associated with the perception that things are going poorly.  The writer is wrong in is sense of the timeline of events.  Well before the invasion of Iraq, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld were declaring that one of the pillars of the Bush doctrine, viz., spreading/encouraging democracies.   Five minutes of internet research reveals that the author has arrived on a spurious correlation between drop in public opinion for the war and what were clearly its stated objectives long before the invasion, and in the months following.

"In their public pronouncements, President Bush and his associates have advanced three reasons for going to war with Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein: (1) to eliminate Saddam's WMD arsenals; (2) to diminish the threat of international terrorism; and (3) to promote democracy in Iraq and the surrounding areas."  The Coming War With Iraq: Deciphering the Bush Administration's Motives  — January 16, 2003

"The nation of Iraq —— with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people —— is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom...For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror."  President Discusses the Future of Iraq  — February 26, 2003

"using Iraq as the cornerstone of creating democracy in the. Arab/Muslim"  March 16, 2003.

And the political process is moving toward democracy, which is a major shift of system in that part of the world. President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld Discuss Progress in Iraq.  August 8, 2003

"Today, the U.S. and some three—dozen other countries are helping Iraqis to create a stable democracy in which terrorists can find no haven."  CHENEY ON IRAQ — September 18, 2003.

Warshawsky writes:

President Bush's low approval ratings are not due to the public's disapproval of this decision...Rather, they are due to the public's disaffection with the President's much more grandiose vision of using American troops to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East.  It's the nation—building, stupid.

The public knew from the beginning that nation building was one of the clearly stated goals.  This does not come as a surprise to anyone but apparently the author.  Contrary to the trend in American public education, knowing (and yes...horrors...even memorizing) the dates of world events is important; it allows us to correlate cause and effect.  The writer seems to pretend that the people have always believed that the "democracy thing" was a bad idea.  I'm curious, iIf the war was going swimmingly, what does the writer think public opinion would be?  Does he think that the people would still be against helping to install democracy in Iraq?

What would make much more interesting reading (and writing) would be an explanation of what has happened to the ability of the American public to think critically about things and the world in general.  What has happened to their ability to endure bad news?  To deal with unpleasantness?  Discomfort?  Isn't it more important to discuss how there is no consensus in this country that we are at war...after, in fact, being involved in one for 5 straight years following an attack that incinerated 3,000 of our civilians...on our home soil?

Look at it this way.  A mere 65 years ago, less than 2,500 American service men were killed in an attack that occurred not on our homeland.  What was the mood of the nation back then?  Check this out: the national response was to quickly round—up over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese—Americans.  Say what you want about this unjust internment, if nothing else, it was a powerful measure of just how committed we were to destroying our enemy.

OR how about this one as another "data point" as to how much we've changed as a people.  The other immediate act of national will following December 7th was to embark on a horrific and costly war against whom?  A country that never attacked us!  Talk about nation building and Wilsonion whatever you call it.

One could go on for pages and pages as to how we today are a different culture than those that overcame hardships in prior eras.  Beyond the spurious correlations between real events and public opinion polls, the author gives far too much credit to the views of the American people reflecting anything reliable.  I would offer that: "It's Attention—Span and Culture Stupid".

Alan Fraser   9 16 06