March 20, 2006

Why are the war protests so tame?

Why aren't the protests huge and dramatic, like they were at the time of the Vietnam War? Here's one attempt to answer that obvious question:
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....

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.
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?

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.

97 comments:

monkeyboy said...

Most of the protests are now being run by international answer, many who disagree with the war may not go because they disagree that the presence of the US makes things worse, or are that we are the worlds biggest terrorists.

Another point, are they cool anymore? Why spend your day off with people that are really just Vietnam protestor reenactors?

Robert Burnham said...

Why are the war protests so tame?

Well, to start, there's no large baby-boom cohort subject to a military draft.

But I think your point is correct that dissatisfaction with Bush can come from the right of him as well as the left. The two reponses - which point in opposite directions, and have radically different politically implications - are confusingly merged in the overall figure.

Seven Machos said...

For a long time, my theory has been that Americans are unhappy with the conduct of the war. There simply isn't a critical mass of people who are AGAINST the war, the way that a sizeable (but NOT a majority) contingent was againt Vietnam. They are, in fact, for the war and they would condone more violent measures if it would ensure a quicker end.

It is the elites, who are out of touch with the majoirty of Americans, who oppose the war itself and oppose violent measures. The idea of "quiet protest" is ridiculous and laughable.

If my theory is correct, I think President Bush and our military leaders shown admirable restraint because they could have used and could still use more violent and indiscriminant force in Iraq, but have chosen not to.

downtownlad said...

It's very simple. No draft.

Ann Althouse said...

Vietnam protesters tended to think the whole enterprise made no sense. "It's 1-2-3, what are we fighting for?/Don't ask me, I don't give a damn." With Iraq, we don't have a mindset anything like that. I vividly remember a teach-in on the Vietnam War at the University of Michigan in 1969, held in a large concert hall, where one of the speakers said he didn't think it would be so bad if the country fell to the Communist and the huge crowd cheered.

Seven Machos said...

"Vietnam protesters tended to think the whole enterprise made no sense."

This supports my theory. Americans do think this war makes sense. They just want to see progress and stability. I told my (many, many) leftist friends in 2003/04 that a Democratic candidate who came out as a harder-core-than-Bush hawk could win big even if the domestic platform was traditional Democratic tripe.

Also, not even the worst of the smarmy, collectivist, anti-American professor could say with a straight face that it wouldn't be so bad if Al-Queda/Saddam/the Taliban/Islamofacists win. We'll probably always have that going for us in this war, which is nice.

Henry said...

Iraq has no compelling story of freedom denied that accrued to the anti-colonial and post-colonial struggle of the Viet Cong.

This was a story compelling enough to convince Martin Luther King, among other leaders of conscience.

It is impossible to promote any such story in the service of Baathist bitter-enders and al Quaeda.

The current war movement has plenty to be against, but nothing to be for -- not even naive hope in revolution. It's a movement that inspires nobody but the already disgruntled.

t.s. said...

Maybe the marginal value of our time has risen dramatically in the last several decades. Technological change surely has something to do with this, but so does the President's wise decision to hold the anniversary of the war on the opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament.

SippicanCottage said...
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SippicanCottage said...
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Dave said...

Ann, I think your questions highlight one of the problems of public opinion polls.

Very often, they are not especially nuanced. They yield little substantive insight, instead glancing only at the surface of issues.

I think such polls are generally next to useless.

Sloanasaurus said...

Yes, when they ask a poll question on whether people are satisfied with the way Bush is handling the war in Iraq, the answer has little to do with supporting the war or supporting the mission.

I am sure that FDR would have gotten poor marks all during world war II. Every success is met by a new criticism.

Also, many war critics have no alternative plan. They have no plan or strategy about how to handle the proliferation of WMD in the world. They are only critics with no alternative plan.

IN contrast, Bush does have a strategy for managing proliferation of WMD and he is implementing the strategy in Iraq - that is relying on democracy to control the use of WMD in the future under the idea that democracies would not use nukes or would not proliferate. DEMOCRACY IS THE GRAND STRATEGY!

If you want to criticise this strategy... fine. But, do us all a favor and come up with an alternative strategy if you think Bush is so much in error.

Rob said...

Sloan,

I'm not sure your post gets the point. The question presented is why are protests so tame - not whether Bush is correct.

I agree with downtownlad that the lack of real self-interest has a lot to do with it (i.e. no draft). If a draft was institued or in place, more people would think critically about the war and choose to support it or protest because it would have more real consequences.

37383938393839383938383 said...

Well, the weed is stronger now. It used to be that hippies would get high and go protest. Now they simply go to sleep.

Sloanasaurus said...

Rob, Im not so sure. Althouse specifically talked about polls for the war in her post. I was only elaborating on the subject and anticipating criticism of the elaboration.

The protests were small. What more is there to say about them. Better to elaborate about the finer points of these issues.

Bruce Hayden said...

Having lived through the Vietnam and the draft, I have to say that I think that the two were intimately connected. I think that a lot of the protest was that we had a big chance at dying in a war that wasn't being well fought and made questionable sense.

Shocked by the Chinese invasion of Korea a little more than a decade before, esp. the Johnson Administration bent over backwards in Vietnam at not attacking North Vietnam's patrons, the USSR and PRC. The result was often giving the enemy safe havens that made no military sense.

The war was run out of the Pentagon, and, worse, the White House. Johnson personally specified bombing targets. And targets were taken with much American loss of lives, just to be given back, and maybe taken again, and again...

So, we were looking at being forced to fight and die half way around the world in a war being badly run by politicians for no real apparent reason. Tens of thousands were dying for what?

If there hadn't been a draft, then we would have just smoked pot, dropped acid, experimented in free love, and eventually grown out of all of it. But, of course, we couldn't. If you actually did drop out, you faced induction pretty quickly thereafter, followed most likely by a tour to SE Asia.

Nowadays, there are a lot of differences. Most notably, the youth of this country are not being dragged half way around the world to die in a senseless war. Regardless of the merits of the war, only volunteers are going. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Then, this war is not being fought nearly as stupidly as Vietnam was. Yes, the Administration made a lot of mistakes early on. But they have let the military fight the war as they saw fit, providing as much support as possible. But all you have to do is look at the casualty figures: 58,000 versus 2,300 so far, to see the difference.

PatCA said...

I think you are correct in that people do want to win, rather than to simply end, the Iraq war. Of course the media refuse to acknowledge this and paint us as mindless political morons (in addition to cooking morons, fashion morons--I don't read the NYT but I'm sure you all could go on). Whether they do this because they believe it or are merely trying to generate controversy to sell papers remains a puzzle to me.

And "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?" -- catchy!

Sloanasaurus said...

"....Then, this war is not being fought nearly as stupidly as Vietnam was. Yes, the Administration made a lot of mistakes early on...."

That is the conventional wisdom at least. In fact we faced a formidable enemy in N. Vietnam supported by the USSR and China. The North Vietnamese fielded more than a million troops and modern jet aircraft. By 1973, the Vietnam war was won. the North signed a peace treaty. Then Democrats in Congress refused to support the new S. Vietnamese gov. The North invaded in 1975 and that was it.

Yes mistakes were made. But none of the mistakes in Vietnam or Iraq even come close to the massive blunders in World War II, such as the 1200 marines killed at Peleliu or the tactical failure to plan for the bocage in Normandy. Some argue that the policy of "unconditional" surrender led to 50,000 additional American deaths for nothing gained. After World War II we forgot that mistakes are made in war, despite victory.

TWM said...

Three reasons:

1) No draft.

2) Poorly worded poll question. Lots of people think the President isn't handling the war that well (including me), but that does not mean they don't support it and want us to stay until we win.

3) The so-called "peace" movement is made up of special interest groups ranging from gay rights to leftover 60s radicals to communists to anti-Semite groups to PETA, and the ones showing up at protests are usually the weirdest of all those groups. Few Americans want to be associated with them, much less march with them due to the smell.

Okay, the smell comment was a joke, but the rest stands.

AJ Lynch said...

"....And it's 5,6, 7 open up the pearly gates. Don't ask me why. Whoopee we're all gonna die".

Thanks Ann for starting that. It was a catchy song by Country Joe and the Fish!

Maybe it's what the protestors need ....a catchy song and add in plenty of braless girls.

Eli Blake said...

Hey, there were thousands out marching this weekend in quite a few cities (they even had one in Flagstaff-- not covered on the news, but there was one). The numbers were impressive enough since they were nationwide.

Maybe they were termed, 'low key,' but what would you rather have them do? burn a few cars, throw a few rocks through store windows or make the cops pull out the pepper spray just to get 'noticed?' Protesters are better behaved now than they were during Vietnam but that doesn't make the protest any less important.

Maxine Weiss said...

Because people are so self-absorbed these days----they've got a cell-phone in one hand, and a blackberry in the other.....maybe they'll "fit-in" a protest or two.

Vietnam War was life or death, back then. There were no tickers, no text messages. Nothing else to distract and dilute the passion.

Baby boomers are tired and can't summon that level of passion and urgency.....even if they disagree just as strongly.

Youth are just plain stupid. There's nobody under 40 in my Saul Bellow reading group. ---That one young gal who mistook the peace sign for a Mercedes symbol. Dumb dumb dumb....and with more and more technology, which isn't helping enlightenment, or intelligence......

A mixture of apathy, old-age, and stupidity has destroyed passionate protests of yesteryear.

Peace, Maxine

Seven Machos said...

Come on, Eli. How many people were there, really, nationwide? Was it enough to fill a Big 10 college football stadium?

The whole point of a protest is critical mass. It's a "DEMONSTRATION." Think about what what that word means. It means: "we are going to SHOW YOU" that our cause is important/popular/worthy by organizing ourselves in such a way that people must take notice.

Mob violence is not the standard by which we measure these things.

Jim-mny said...

Why so tame vs. Vietnam?

1. No (low) risk to most Americans - no Military Draft - Today the only dying is done by volunteers and their death toll is low vs. Vietnam.

2. Little enemy - Back then it was Global Communism - China & the Soviet Union were HUGE - thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles which could actually TRAVEL to the USA. Armies with millions of soldiers.

Today our GWOT enemy is state-backed (which states?), diffuse(?), OBL has HQ in a cave (?) and dreams of having a nuclear bomb or two they would smuggle in through a port.

3. Important geographic area - Due to oil and our ally Israel the area we are in today is much more important to Americans than Vietnam (then or now).

Seven Machos said...

These kids today, huh, Maxine? Why can't they be like you were?

They don't know what's important. They don't care about the most important generation, ever, in the history of humankind, the Sixties Generation.

Certainly, no one has ever accused anyone who grew up in the Sixties of being ridiculously self-absorbed to the point of mental disorder. No sir.

Gaius Arbo said...

You hit on something I've noticed, Ann. The wording of that question allows for both war supporters and war opposers answers to be counted at the same time. It is a very dishonest question. Many polls these days are highly dishonest and use horribly skewed samples as well.
I would have failed design of experiments if I had submitted what passes for polls these days.

knoxgirl said...

Maxine, careful shaking that cane, you're gonna bean somebody.

Ann Althouse said...

Eli: "Maybe they were termed, 'low key,' but what would you rather have them do? burn a few cars, throw a few rocks through store windows or make the cops pull out the pepper spray just to get 'noticed?'"

Vietnam protest tended to be very large and very passionate, not violent.

vnjagvet said...

knoxgirl:

Great shot. One of the best I've seen.

cb said...

Might I also suggest the diffusive effects of the internet play a role? At the time, social interaction, organization and commentary were more limited. To speak as or to a large mass of people, you had to be there yourself and get them and/or the TV cameras to the same spot. Now, the ability to communicate your thoughts to large groups of people can be accomplished in other ways such as, dare I say it, a blog.

david bennett said...

Vietnam and a lot of the "new left" were fed by the draft. Young males being threatened tend to do what young males do to certain vacation towns when they gather and get drunk.

Except for the "anarchists" (who actually tried to make an alliance with communists something uminaginable to any with basic poly sic.) this wildness is carefully cultivated out of the modern "left." The sixties was a chaotic time with a young population truly believing they were the future with the intensity that brings extreme action.

The country was broken open with many staring heart broken at it's flaws. The right was equally militant, indeed even in those years they planted many more bombs than the left. The escalation was extreme at the fringes with the army admitting nearly a thousand fraggings, the deaths in the AIM conflicts reached several hundred. Crime surged and blurred. Manson's wierd countercultural political (to start a race war to bring genocide on blacks) murders are an example which show how dispararate and unchecked the forces at play were. Many libertarians were born of the dislike of government that "hippies" held, just as much of the base of modern Christianity came from the spiritual search. "Jesus" was even more acceptable on Haight Ashbury as Charlie's black bus and the general fear of "spades," Jesus was the ultimate in spiritual accomplishment for a movement emerging from America.

It was in a sense as much a meeting of America as the "melting pot." To many all was possible. Intense hope turning into despair let loose so much.

Thankfully we don't have that extreme madness, yet we could use some of the wildness and the freshness.

To a large extent today's left is built from the SDS idiots chanting Mao and Ho Chi Minh at each other, along with all sorts of other cliches. It has become comformist and timid. Certainly sixties demands to lety students vote teachers in and out would not be acceptable. Indeed Horowitz has raised horror with his thug lite right wing version of the sixties student movement.

Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl: score!

I agree that the lack of a draft changes the scene dramatically. I was too young during the Vietnam war to join in protests, plus I lived for much of that time on a military base so guess how well that would have gone over anyway. But we were keenly aware of the draft looming over my brothers and their friends. The prospect of high school graduation wasn't something joyous; there was dread.

The other factor that makes sense to me is the lack of focus. I oppose this war. I've marched in opposition, but I skip many of the planned marches because they're catchall protests of twenty different issues, and that seems stupid to me. It's not like there's a "seamless garment" that encompasses the war, veganism, housing discrimination, Free Palenstine, Save the Lake, and on and on.

AJ Lynch said...

Maxine:

I have to disagree with you. Americans are less busy today but do have more options and gadgets on which to spend their precious time. So we think we are busier.

As a boomer, I agree with the comment that my generation acts as if we are so fantastic. I suspect we spoiled offspring of grateful WWII vets were coddled by those same parents who were just happy to be free and alive in a country with great opportunity.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Give Maxine a break. Baby boomers are annoying, but so is Generation X, and Generation Y are cretins, the lot of them.

Who here will argue that, pound for pound, the youth of today are smarter or better educated or more soulful than the 60s generation? Peace and love may be naive and corny, but it's better than bling bling, Meth, porn-chic, and the choking game.

Seven Machos said...

Rule #1 about old people: they think the young are corrupt, lazy, and less virtuous.

Rule #1 about young people: they don't give a flying f*** about what old people think.

I disagree that the Sixties were better. Nothing wrong with bling. Porn chic is a lot hotter than goofy denim shirts with flowers on them. And drugs are drugs. Meth, pot, coke, acid, computer cleaner -- it's all a high.

I would suggest that the credo of Ken Kesey, the man who invented the Sixties, is pretty much being lived out by the youth of today. There is much, much less conformity now than there was then, on the right and left. Kids today "do their thing and wail with it."

Sorry if their thing isn't your thing. The good news is that you could probably find some kids whose things is your thing, but they aren't going to coalesce around anthing. Why do you have a problem with that? That's liberty.

And more soulful? Please. I think you have a listen to some of those ridiculous records from your youth and reconsider.

Johnny Nucleo said...

"And more soulful? Please. I think you have a listen to some of those ridiculous records from your youth and reconsider."

I'm not a boomer. The music from my youth is Nirvana.

All drugs are the same? Smoke pot every day for a year. Then try that with meth. Then get back to me.

I must amend my previous comment. A small portion of Generation Y is currently saving the world.

MadisonMan said...

I think there are a lot of people who are anti-war, but also anti-withdrawal. I did not want this war that was foisted upon us by spineless bureaucrats who couldn't execute a military strategy if their lives depended on it (which, alas, the do not) -- yes I'm talking to you, Donald -- but now that we're there, I have the feeling of breaking a crystal vase in the store. You break it, you buy it.

I am deeply ambivalent. At some point I will be unable to tell the parent of the last person killed that it was worth it -- I don't know if I'm there yet.

Seven Machos said...

I said all drugs are a high.

And since grunge is pretty much the opposite of soul, I guess you have a point about the Sixties being more soulful. But throw on some Nelly. And get back to me. ;]

Menlo Bob said...

Of course all of us all dullards, unless we happen to answer questions from a pollster in such a way that news organizations can spin them into reasoning they approve.

Kirk Parker said...

Dave,

I'd say such polls aren't 'next to' useless--they're actually worse than useless, because too many people insist on treating them as if they do have meaning.

peter hoh said...

Ann asked: 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?

What do we want? COMPETENCE.
When do we want it? NOW.
How do we get it? FIRE RUMSFELD.

me said...

"Generation Y are cretins, the lot of them"

I find myself in sympathy with this viewpoint --- it seems that my younger sister's peer group, graduating from college in May, is made up of cretins. From my small sample size, it seems like they were never taught any critical thinking skills -- how to investigate assertions and decide if they agree or disagree -- to them, that is too much work and someone should just tell them the answer. However, I really hope I am being old and grouchy and it is not true, as I am much to young to be old and grouchy.:) Thoughts???

bill said...

The antique media has genetrated a mindset in an alternate universe that doesn't exist. Most people aren't anti-war, they just don't have a confort zone that things in Iraq are going well, and who would with the constant barrage of lies. Exhibit -- there are several polls that show support for military action against Iran.

The real problem is the antique media is feeding the terrorists, if they can just hang on, convince a few more nuts to blow up, they can win -- at least the media war.

The real problem is the media ...

Tim Marchand said...

Two other factors should be considered:
1. The irony of repressing the civil rights movement at home while 'fighting for freedom' in Southeast Asia.

2. The anti-establishment/pro-counter culture sentiment in young people. Most of the male protesters had long hair and the women wanted more choices than housewife, teacher, secretary, or nurse.

The anti-war demonstration gave a focus for many cultural and political dissatisfactions.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah, bill, the Iraqi insurgents are really fighting a media war. The new pro-war meme is that the press is losing the war in Iraq. How low can the rhetoric go?

Abraham said...

Yeah, bill, the Iraqi insurgents are really fighting a media war.

Arent't they? They know they can't win with bombs and bullets - we could, if we wanted to, level the entire country, and we dominate the kill ratios. But they do know that they can win if we lose the will to oppose them - and they know all too well how to use mass media to achieve this.

J said...

"Who here will argue that, pound for pound, the youth of today are smarter or better educated or more soulful than the 60s generation? "

I will. Did you read this comment Ann posted?


""It's 1-2-3, what are we fighting for?/Don't ask me, I don't give a damn." With Iraq, we don't have a mindset anything like that. I vividly remember a teach-in on the Vietnam War at the University of Michigan in 1969, held in a large concert hall, where one of the speakers said he didn't think it would be so bad if the country fell to the Communist and the huge crowd cheered."

"Teach-in" indeed. A bag of rocks is smarter than people like this, and the crappy music didn't help. Still, those who participated in this nonsense were a tiny, if noisy, fraction of the population. Perhaps the sanctimony covered their unease that better people than them were risking life and limb to defend the privileges they enjoyed. Nothing has changed. Especially on campus.

Clyde said...

North Vietnamese General Giap was right: The battle in the media was what defeated America in Vietnam. The terrorists at Al Qaeda are apt pupils of Giap. And just as in Vietnam, the American media's sympathies lie with those who oppose the American president. They feel the same way about Bush 43 as they felt about Nixon.

But while the MSM focus relentless on the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq, it is clarifying to note that the number of total military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan COMBINED are STILL less than the number of civilian casualties we suffered in one day on September 11th.

The protesters? They're just a bunch of jobless schmucks who need to get a life.

Johnny Nucleo said...

J: I don't like commie loving hippies either, but when you slam 60s music, you go too far. Rock and Roll peaked in the early 70s. That's a scientific fact proven by scientists.

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm reading an interesting book that came out in 1987. It's called: "The Closing Of The American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy And Impoverished The Souls Of Today's Students"----By Allan Bloom

He was a well-known philosopher and somewhat Conservative. Its all about "enlightenment". Kids in the 60s, for all their flaws, were enlightened. Even if you were anti-establishment 60s counter-culture and did drugs, you still were educated in a way that today's diploma mills aren't doing.

Peace, Maxine

MadisonMan said...

...it is clarifying to note that the number of total military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan COMBINED are STILL less than the number of civilian casualties we suffered in one day on September 11th.

This comment begs the question: at what point do American casualties become too onerous a burden? When they're equal to the death toll from Sept 11? Double? Ten times?

I won't ask about civilian Iraqi casualties.

J said...

"when you slam 60s music, you go too far"

Sorry. I was slamming protest stuff in general, though the only CSN(Y) song I like is Woodstock, oddly enough. The 60's also produced instrumental surf music, the highest art form ever attained by mankind.

Aspasia M. said...

Yeah, bill, the Iraqi insurgents are really fighting a media war.

Arent't they? They know they can't win with bombs and bullets...and they know all too well how to use mass media to achieve this.


If I had to guess I'd say the insurgents are trying to start a hot civil war. They appear to be doing a rather good job of setting up the circumstances that will meet their goal.

RE: Tame War Protests.

1) The draft

2) What's the point?

Although I like the chant: What do we want: Compentence! When do we want it: Now!

3) It's turning into a civil war. We're morally responsible for this situation. A protest is good for venting anger, but not so much when the overall sentiment is despair at the violence.

4) Life is a cabaret, baby.

Jim C. said...

Ann Althouse said, "Vietnam protesters tended to think the whole enterprise made no sense."

That was their stated reason. That wasn't necessarily the true primary reason. Just like the present.

Mr. Forward said...

Are today's kids dumber? Perhaps you are looking in the wrong places. Most observers claim the military has gotten smarter.

On the other hand, in an article about Yale admitting a spokesman for the Taliban, John Fund writes "They (students) have been taught to have extreme anger over trivial things, while letting large, evil things sit right down next to them in the lunch hall."

http://www.penraker.com/archives/003673.html

vbspurs said...

I think that the commenters who mentioned the Vietnam-Draft point are obviously correct, but for me, it's more reductive than this.

It's precisely because there WAS such a thing as Vietnam, with its attendant protests, and counter-culture that almost went hand-in-hand with it, that we don't have the same intensity in the protest movement.

The visions of Jane Fonda cohorting with North Vietnamese on tanks...

The horrible imagery of returning vets being spat on by these anti-Vietnam protesters...

The whole ridiculous self-obsession and hypocrisy of those particular years...

All of these images are seared into the American mind.

I recently saw a TVLAND commercial circa 1981, about a collectible 1980 Lake Placid Gold Medal Hockey Team win against the Soviets.

You know what the advertisers put into the mouth of the spokesperson?

"My child came to me and said, dad, America is back! We can be proud to be Americans again."

It's precisely because of the 1980s, when Americans learnt that it was okay to be proud to be Americans again, that there can never be the same type of protest movement like there was for Vietnam.

Hating the War in Iraq is one thing.

But no one can get away with hating American military personnel anymore.

Cheers,
Victoria

LoafingOaf said...

The wording of that question allows for both war supporters and war opposers answers to be counted at the same time. It is a very dishonest question. Many polls these days are highly dishonest and use horribly skewed samples

Yup. Polling is out of control in the media, and polls are the favorite tool of the propagandist.

As for me, I wasn't at any "peace" protests because I don't believe the people attending them are on the side of peace-promoting policies, I support the liberation of Iraq, and I think Saddam's regime was pure evil and we were out of better options of what to do about it. And I have to agree with Chritsopher Hitchens' article today, which scolds certain actors in the international community on how they should have reacted to Bush's pre-war speeches if they gave a damn about dealing with evil in this world.

http://www.slate.com/id/2138332/nav/tap1/

Hitch's comment about the nature of many protests might provide some insight into why many don't take part in them as well: "Platforms set up in major cities so that crowds could be harangued by hardened supporters of Milosevic and Saddam, some of them paid out of the oil-for-food bordello."

Ann Althouse said...

Jim C: "That was their stated reason. That wasn't necessarily the true primary reason. Just like the present."

There were also plenty of people who were calling for a revolution, openly. And a lot others thought everything about society was changing rapidly and were very excited about being part of this. The second group was basically right.

Goesh said...

- ain't much I can add to this - you draw a thoughtful, insightful following -

INMA30 said...

Clyde said:

"the American media's sympathies lie with those who oppose the American president."

Truly comical. Great stuff.

Pat Patterson said...

AJ; It's "And five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die".

Probably the last pop song written were almost everyone, anti or pro, could sing it.

Clyde said...

Madison Man -

The point is that our military casualties are extremely low compared to any other major war our country has ever fought. Compare them with the number we lost in one day at Normandy Beach or Shiloh.

inma30 -

I'm glad the truth made you laugh. Most people who believe the MSM are the fount of all truth are grim and humorless. Laugh a little more often and who knows, you might even become a political conservative. We're happier people than liberals. Have a nice day. :-)

Ed Eberle said...

Hey Ann, as a kid of the 60's let me be honest. The anti-war movement against Viet Nam was 80% fear of being drafted and 20% philisophical disagreement. Usually, when stating this I pronounce it 80% cowardice...and I put myself squarely in the sights of my own critical analysis. I was a long haired surrouind the pentagon Che shirt wearing kid, and I was scared out of my mind that I would have to face the prospect of slogging through the jungle in SE Asia. I did not want to die. And because I did not want to die, I let someone else die for me. With a draft, everyone had the same chance. I opted out, choosing - or so I thought - the high minded idea of 'engagement ' with the evil empire (us)- and a belief in the rightness of the NLF's cause. Shame on me.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MadisonMan said...

Compare them with the number we lost in one day at Normandy Beach

Normandy was a successful Allied military endeavor, run by competents.

One wonders where we'd be had a Rumsfeld-type thinker been in charge way back when.

vw: mitkdz: Any german parent.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Vietnam was undergoing a natural change from colonial to independent rule in the 1950s when we showed up on the scene. The U.S. war in Vietnam lacked a clear beginning, lacked an obvious reason why were were still there at all by the late 1960s other than inertia. Plus, there were ten times as many Americans dying every month during Vietnam.

The situation in Iraq is 100% caused by the U.S. invasion. Even if people think the war was a mistake, or even if they think its the result of deliberate misrepresentations of fact by the Bush Administration, they still recognize that the problems in Iraq were created by us, so we owe some duty to take those problems into account when we decide on our exit strategy. I think a lot of people who think the war was a horrible mistake, myself included, are conflicted over what is the most responsible action to take now. With lack of clear vision, comes lack of passionate protests.

Johnny Nucleo said...

MadisonMan said: "Normandy was a successful Allied military endeavor, run by competents."

The Normandy invasion was a gamble that paid off. It could have easily failed, in which case you would be calling its architects incompetents. There were lots of FUBARs in WWII, as there are in all wars.

monkeyboy said...

Normandy was a success (as I think Iraq will be), but success has forgiven quite a number of failures.

- The lack of battleships for bombardment, the US had one WWI era (USS TEXAS) for both beaches. Many German guns that could have been silenced weren't.
- The failure of the US to get tanks ashore to support the infantry. Most of the swimming tanks sank and the infantry went in alone.
- The failure of the bombing campaign. We probably killed more french cows than German soldiers (and one US General later on)
- Intel failed to pick up the lack of guns on the Point du Hoc and the movement of the German reinformcements onto Omaha.
- The total lack of planning for the hedgrows, no tactics, no training and no equipment until an Army sgt. welded scrap onto Sherman tanks (original hillbilliy armor).
- The misdrop of the paratroopers. Many men died because they were dropped too early and drowned or died because they were dropped too low and their chutes didn't open.

When Clausewitz wrote about friction and simple things being difficult, he wasn't kidding. There was never a battle won that didn't get a number of soldiers killed by mistake.

monkeyboy said...

The situation in Iraq 100% caused by us? Well, yeah, like the birth of the KKK was 100% caused by Union ocupation.

Jacques Cuze said...

Editor and Publisher: More Americans than nearly ever before now say the war in Iraq is a "mistake" for the United States, according to a new Gallup poll. That figure now stands at 55%, up 4% point since late January. Only once before was the figure higher, at 59%, and that was during the period of overall pessimism right after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Ann: When people acknowledge that they disapprove of the President's handling of the war

People are not saying only that they disapprove of how the war is being handled, they say that the war was a mistake itself.

If they are being quieter than you feel they should be, it is due a) to the lack of a draft, and b) fear of being socially castigated as nuts as prominent Democrats are.

Perhaps you could lead a few protests, or make clear in your blog that as either Howard Zinn or Thomas Jefferson said, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

Stacy said...

I know, lets have a draft and THEN see if Professor Althouse is correct in her assessment. I bet the protests wouldn't be so "tame" then.

How could you even not mention that in the equation? That's a HUGE difference between the current situation and Vietnam.

If Bush thinks his numbers are low now, can you imagine if their was a draft? Please. Oh, and perhaps we should also get rid of *some* of the deferrment options too, just to make it a little more fair? YOu know, the ones that allowed Cheney and Rummy to defer like 5 times?

Joseph Hovsep said...

monkeyboy wrote: "The situation in Iraq 100% caused by us? Well, yeah, like the birth of the KKK was 100% caused by Union ocupation."

I stand by my statement. I'm not saying things were good in Iraq before the U.S. invasion. They weren't. But the country was not on the verge of civil war. Civilians were not being killed by the thousands every month by foreign terrorists and U.S. troops in suicide bombs, sectarian violence and attempts to quell an uncontrollable insurgency. The reason that Iraq would descend into a complete bloodbath if we pulled out has everything to do with the fact that we used military force to overthrow Saddam Hussein's government. If we had not invaded, this mess would not exist. The fact that we did invade means that the American people have a duty to stay until we make things right. People understand that and that's why it difficult to responsibly support pulling out of Iraq even though people would not have supported the invasion if they were asked to today.

The rise of the KKK in the U.S. South is very different. The U.S. government's decision to put down a revolution and to end slavery in the 1860s is nothing like the U.S. governments decision to invade another sovereign country with growing tension between the West and Islamic fundamentalism in the backdrop. The KKK was a homegrown reaction to racial animosity and change. The insurgency in Iraq represents the convergence of Islamic terrorists from around to world to do battle against the U.S. because it invaded a Muslim country under false pretenses.

INMA30 said...

Clyde--

I don't think the MSM is the source of all truth. In fact, the amount of water-carrying that they have done for the administration has been pretty annoying. The editorial pages are one thing, but I am talking about "journalism". But, I am able to laugh--its one of the primary reasons to visit this site. I doubt that would turn me into a political conservative, however. Too pessimistic a worldview for me.

MadisonMan said...

Normandy was a success (as I think Iraq will be), but success has forgiven quite a number of failures.

Yes. Imagine if the Allies had gone it with a bare minimal number of troops, rather than extras to replace those lost to errors.

I submit that Iraq already is a failure. None of super-ultra-rosy pre-war predictions that the Administration touted -- from being welcomed as liberators to costing less than $100 billion to being paid for by Iraqi oil -- came even remotely close to fruition. Iraq could become a success -- but that would require an acknowledgement by people at the Pentagon, from Rumsfeld on down, that their plans and execution for the war were woefully, if not criminally, inadequate. I don't see that happening anytime soon, and I don't see the President pushing for it.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Joe said: "I stand by my statement. I'm not saying things were good in Iraq before the U.S. invasion. They weren't. But the country was not on the verge of civil war."

Let's forget geopolitical concerns for a moment. If I could magically turn you into an Iraqi, and plop you down there at any point, would you prefer that I plopped you down before or after the fall of Saddam?

monkeyboy said...

Joe,
Thanks for the reply, where we disagree is on the "legitimacy" of the Iraqi insurgency.
My point is that the KKK and the insurgency are both groups that were very satisfied with the status quo anti bellum, and are fighting to restore "stability". Whether they would be be fighting us if they considered the invasion "legitimate" is irrelevent, as they would fight us for any reason, here, there or in Afghanistan.

I just have a problem with the adea that Iraq was stable before the war, as stability is highly overrated.

Seven Machos said...

Stacy: NOBODY is talking about a draft except raving left-wing nutjobs such as yourself.

Madisonman: "Criminally inadequate?" What are the crimes committed by anyone at the Pentagon? Statutes and elements, please.

Althousefan: I'm actually not sure where you are coming from. I suspect you would rather be plopped down now as opposed to during Saddam's reign, as any reasonable person would. Just in case, though, let's revew: Saddam's regime was brutally repressive and totalitarian, raping and killing and murdering and gassing and wreaking havoc on a vast and Stalinist scale. These days Iraqis are quite optimistic about their futures. They have cars, phones, and opportunities galore. Anyone who says otherwise has been reading far too many newspapers.

MadisonMan said...

seven machos, did you miss the 'if not' in my post? Would you agree that the preparations were woefully inadequate? Are there laws against gross incompetence at the Pentagon? Should there be?

INMA30 said...

"These days Iraqis are quite optimistic about their futures. They have cars, phones, and opportunities galore."

See, Clyde, non-stop humor at Althouse. The macho man is here all week. Try the veal and tip you waitstaff.

Seven Machos said...

You are clearly the legal expert here, madisonman. And also the grammar and sentence structure expert, for I am uncertain why adding "if not" in front of "criminal" lends the word "criminal" less force.

Should there be laws against "gross incompetence at the Pentagon"? No, madisonman, I don't believe there should be. If there were such laws, who would enforce them? Who would prosecute? Would a fellow like Patrick Fitzgerald decide the war is going badly and file charges? Would the Congress be involved? Would this be a kind of "In Re" device? Do think these things through just a bit, madisonman, before spouting off unintelligently.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Seven Machos: That's exactly my point. Given the choice, I would choose chaos over slavery. History may judge Iraq a mistake, but the fury of the anti-war left is misguided (and deranged). The liberation of Iraq was a moral act, as is the liberation of any enslaved people. To think it was a stategic error is one thing; to be angry about it is sick.

But hoping for failure - a failure that will lead to more death and further enslavement - is flat out evil. I'm talking to you, Inma30.

Seven Machos said...

Do you disagree, inma30, that Iraqis have cars, phones, and opportunities galore now, relative to their plight under Saddam? Do you think that life for Iraqis was better under Saddam?

Do you think that terrorists are having a harder time planning and training in Iraq for attacks outside of Iraq since Saddam's ouster? Do you know that Iraq under Saddam had several terrorist training facilities and was something like a retirement paradise for prominent terrorist masterminds?

Have you noticed that Palestinians are blowing themselves up far less than before in Israel? Did you know that Saddam's regime paid five-figure martyr bonuses to Palestinian suicide bombers?

What about Al Queda? Are they in Iraq? Are they not in Iraq? I can't keep up with the phantom left argument on this aspect. Perhaps you can clear it up for me.

INMA30 said...

Althousefan--

Then, by all means, put words in mouth. Although, then I guess you'd really be talking to yourself.

Seven Machos said...

That was a good one, inma30. A real zinger. Have you considered joining your junior high school's debate team>

Joseph Hovsep said...

Althousefan said: "If I could magically turn you into an Iraqi, and plop you down there at any point, would you prefer that I plopped you down before or after the fall of Saddam?"

I don't know if I personally know enough about life in Iraq before and after the U.S. invaded to give a very thoughtful answer to your question. I do not dispute that Saddam Hussein committed egregious crimes against his own people and I certainly would not have wanted to live in Iraq in the 1980-1990s. But would I rather live there now? If you make me an Iraqi Kurd, I'd probably rather live in Iraqi Kurdistan now than ten years ago. Otherwise, I don't think Iraq seems any better a place to live now, and in a lot of ways, its a much less happy and more dangerous place to live.

I personally think the war was a mistake because we did not have enough of a national interest at stake to justify such a commitment. But that's not really the point of this post or my comment. The point is that the anti-war movement in the U.S. is conflicted because at this point, "ending the war" is not as simple as bringing the troops home. So, if the anti-war movement seems tame, I'm arguing that the reason is not support for the war, but rather lack of a clear understanding of what a responsible "peaceful" solution is.

INMA30 said...

Do you disagree, inma30, that Iraqis have cars, phones, and opportunities galore now, relative to their plight under Saddam?

Yes. The rest of your litany of questions seem rhetorical.

PatCA said...

"on the verge of civil war"

What exactly do you mean by that? I hear that phrase bandied about constantly and it's definition is most important. The reason that Iraq has not entered a true civil war is that the people don't support it. Just like in Lebanon years ago, their equivalent of mafia-type gangs are fighting now; the great majority of people are not that extreme or violent and want a decent consensual government. Yes, it was our mistake and Iraqi pols' mistake to allow people like Muqty to rise to power, not the mistaken desire of the people, and now we are correcting that.

From what I've read, our newer strategy now in fighting this guerilla war is proving effective. Our casualties are the lowest in three years, so we don't see cars exploding every night on the news but now have to listen to "verge" of civil war doommongering. Even before now,this war had the lowest casualties of any war fought anywhere.

So, calm down and support the majority of Iraqis who want to stick it out. They won't get another chance in their lifetimes.

knoxgirl said...

"I doubt that would turn me into a political conservative, however. Too pessimistic a worldview for me."

Have you been to Kos?

knoxgirl said...

I mean, it's not very "optimistic"...

monkeyboy said...

Just a quick note about "not being greeted as liberators"

We were greeted as liberators by those who were oppressed, and hated by those oppressing. To continue the Civil War theme, if all you knew about the war was from reading "Gone with the Wind" you would not think that the union army was treated as liberators. All of my comrades who have been there tell touching stories of being thanked.

Madisonman, As I tried to point out with my comment on Normandy, no war is without mistakes, to criminalize the planning process and make the military individually liable for the fog of war is absolute folly.
Even your solution of more troops would bring problems of their own. You would instead be complaiing about the large footprint, force protection issues and the violations of the rule of thirds.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Monkeyboy,

When the anti-war left complains of incompetence, it's a ruse. For four years they've done nothing but bitch. It's actually quite astonishing. Not one alternative strategy - not one - offered in four years.

They hate the war because they hate Bush. If Clinton waged the war, it would be a different story. They've staked their reputations on the idea that Bush is an idiot and/or evil. If Iraq succeeds, Bush will be hailed as a hero, schools will be named after him, statues built. That they might be wrong on the biggest issue of their lifetimes, when they have grown up believing - knowing - that conservatives are never right, is intolerable. That's why they can barely suppress they're glee when there's bad news.

Elizabeth said...

seven machos, are you actually under the impression that Iraqis did not have "cars and phones" under Saddam? They weren't living in huts. They had cars, phones, computers, DVD players, electricity. Iraq, even under a dictator, was a modern country. It's not like we swooped in like Prometheus, bearing fire.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- People in dictatorial regimes don't have cars and cell phones. They don't have jobs. There is no banking infrastructure. No home mortgages. No universal health care or drug copayment program. They aren't allowed to have radios or satellite television. There is no right to a fair trial, or habeas corpus.

I know you can't possibly believe this, sitting as you are in your comfy chair, reading The Nation (online), and bitching into your cell phone about dumb Bush is and how evil capitalism is.

Seven Machos said...

"The Jihadis have lost Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s true that fighting continues in both countries, but at this point it’s effectively theater. It can’t be repeated often enough that the type of war we are involved in is as much political as it is military. By any political measure, the Jihadis have been routed. Their only chance of prevailing was to appeal to the Iraqis and Afghans as a viable alternative to elected democratic governments. No such attempt was ever made. Instead, the Jihadis have relentlessly made the Iraqis and Afghans suffer. Their final chance in Iraq lay in derailing the political process last year. They failed at this, and now it is over. Not the violence – there will be car bombs going off in Iraq for years to come, unfortunately. But any opportunity of a Jihadi victory is gone.

(Skepticism on this point is understandable, considering the circumstances. Doubters are encouraged to read any of the myriad milblogs written bysoldiers on the spot, or the recent reportage from Iraq by Victor Davis Hanson and Ralph Peters. It’s a sad comment on the nature of the times that anyone relying solely on the legacy media knows next to nothing of what’s going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, or in truth most other areas of the world.)"

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5345

INMA30 said...

Elizabeth--

Duh. Taking away cars and cellphones is like the first thing they teach you in evil dictator school. That's why they didn't exist in Iraq. Never had them. I know everything you read would lead you to believe that Iraq was a relatively modern, educated society under Saddam and that the standard of living declined for the average Iraqi following the invasion, but that is all nonsense. Evil dictators don't allow such modern conveniences. That's why there were no cars or phones in the Soviet Union until the early nineties. They were still using horses and buggies. Your presupposition just doesn't make sense. Don't let the facts cloud the crazy from your mind.

Seven Machos said...

Do people have more cell phones and more cars now? Or were these items more abundant when Saddam was in power?

What about in North Korea? What's your hunch? When the nutty dictator finally gets deposed, do you suspect that there will be more cars and more cell phones, or fewer cars and fewer cell phones?

These aren't rhetorical questions.

MadisonMan said...

Should there be laws against "gross incompetence at the Pentagon"? No, madisonman, I don't believe there should be. If there were such laws, who would enforce them? Who would prosecute?

Well, given that it's the military, how about a Court Martial for dereliction of duty?

Even your solution of more troops would bring problems of their own. You would instead be complaining about the large footprint, force protection issues and the violations of the rule of thirds.

And you know these future actions of mine how, precisely?