A clue to this curiously low-key response may be found in the bustling shopping centres. Despite the mounting cost of the war in Iraq, the economic consequences have remained relatively contained. There have been no signs of a decline in consumer confidence and no uptick in inflation....We should also take into account the nature of the opposition to the war. When people acknowledge that they disapprove of the President's handling of the war, what does that mean? You might answer that way to say you're unhappy that we haven't yet won decisively. If you think Bush ought to be handling things better, moving us along toward victory along a clearer, more well-defined path, do you feel motivated to go out on the street and protest? What would you chant? I know you're in the middle of a difficult task, but would you please try to figure out a more effective way to complete it?
As of Friday military casualties had mounted to 2,313 killed and 17,000 wounded. This is enough to make many Americans question the conflict, but the toll still falls far short of the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam.
A poll for Newsweek magazine at the end of last week showed that just 29 per cent of Americans approve of the president's handling of the war, down from 69 per cent in the months after the conflict began in March 2003. Almost 60 per cent of Americans now feel less confident that the war will come to a successful conclusion, with fears mounting that the country will slide into civil war.
Don't assume that Americans are a bunch of dullards, complacently out shopping. Maybe we intelligently and perceptively understand the situation when we answer the polls like that and still stay away from the public protests.