September 4, 2005

On not paying attention to Iraq.

Hurricane Katrina has diverted our attention from Iraq, and now the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist and the Roberts confirmation hearings will further absorb us. If neither of these things were occupying the stage, we would be scrutinizing the constitutional process in Iraq and following the Cindy Sheehan bus caravan. What effect do you think it will have for Americans to pay so much less attention to Iraq? Certainly, those who are committed to the anti-war movement are frustrated to have built up attention to their cause only to see it torn away. Some of them have tried very hard to link Katrina to the Iraq war.

I'm sure such efforts appeal to those who are already against the war, but I tend to think most Americans would find them obtuse or offensive. The theme has been the woeful, overarching incompetence of the Bush administration. If the administration proceeds to do well with the hurricane disaster, it might make people more likely to assume it must be doing well enough in Iraq too. The anti-war activists will feel tempted to point to all the failings of the hurricane effort to keep the general incompetence theme alive. But I think ordinary people feel very bad about the things that went wrong in the Katrina aftermath and will eagerly consume any new flow of good news. They will get tired of those who harp on the bad, especially when it is conspicuously part of a larger political agenda.

UPDATE: I think this new poll reinforces my beliefs about how ordinary people will feel about things.


limeshurbet said...

How many sucicide bombs have gone off in Iraq since the hurricane hit?

I can't find a single one...the terrorists' audience isn't watching.

angryblackconservative said...

First of all, when GAS = $4.00, a majority of the american people will continue to find BUSH incompetent.

Second, the economic individualism theme that conservatives rely on is faltering. When you see an 80 year old poor woman dead on the streets with mice feeding on her remains, while Condi is enjoying a night on the town in Manhattan, it's hard to link conservatism to the pro-life/Christian movement in America.

When the FEMA director your employ is a hard core incompetent partisan Republican, it shows you ultimately care about party over country.

"A modern metropolis sinking in water and into anarchy -- it is a really cruel spectacle for a champion of security like Bush,"

"Maybe it was punishment for what it did to Iraq, which has a man-made disaster, not a natural disaster,"

"(Al Qaeda leader Osama) bin Laden, nice and dry in his hideaway, must be killing himself laughing."

Meade said...

Will Ms. Sheehan be hoping to meet with Pres. Bush when the caravan arrives in D.C. September 24th or will she in fact be hoping for just the opposite of what she says she's hoping for? link What does this "anti-war" movement truly hope for? Ordinary people want to know.

Ron said...

if Ms. Sheehan wants to score political points her caravan should go to say, Baton Rouge or Houston, not DC....

Paul said...

Your last sentence decribes me exactly. I reached that point long ago, well aware their agenda was purely on the bad for political gain, not for the good of my country. As long as they stay on that message, frankly, I hate them. Them being those I feel are doing this loathsome thing including much of the media.

SteveR said...

If the criticism was less indiscriminate, it might come across as valid, but some people have been screaming for five plus years about every bit of bad (and good) news as an indication of something wrong with Bush. Such as the 200,000 new jobs were created last month..."Well they are all hamburger flipping jobs", etc etc. The cable news and blogosphere feed into that tendency, you can always find someone to come on and bitch, but intelligent people need to be rational and honest. Really.

Brando said...

I agree with conservative columnist David Brooks that the Katrina debacle is shaking public confidence in public institutions. As he said, Katrina is the anti-9/11. Public faith in the Iraq war will suffer further. I think we will especially be an erosion in the public's sense that the Iraq war is making us safer from terrorism. Katrina has not made us look like a strong, capable first world country.

Brando said...

But I think ordinary people feel very bad about the things that went wrong in the Katrina aftermath and will eagerly consume any new flow of good news.

what, sort of like alcoholics who drown their shame with booze? I am sure Fox News will attempt to apply this poisonous salve. But I think the ordinary people are going to sober up and ask some tough questions.

Meade said...

I'm trying to follow your analogy, Brando. Ordinary people are addicted to good news as alcoholics are addicted to alcohol? How is good news toxic and why can good news not include asking tough questions?

Ann Althouse said...

Brando: I seriously think I have a better read on how ordinary people act than you have.

EddieP said...

Katrina, by getting Iraq and Sheehan out of the headlines for a few days, has done the country a service. The MSM are acting like a whirling dervish pointing fingers in all directions. They are almost gleeful about it.

Of course I'm saddened by the destruction and loss of life in NO, but am thankful the water cannons of guilt are off Iraq for a respite. Reading Iraq The Model, there seems to be even more reason for optimism that the Iraqi people will rise above the insurgency.

Sloanasaurus said...

I am always ready to debate Iraq. IN fact Iraq represents what all the liberals on this board are accusing Bush of not doing regarding the hurricane.... PRE-EMPTION.

Jack said...

In the abstract, political horse-race sense, I think it will be difficult for the Bush administration to overcome much of the imagery of the first week of the disaster in New Orleans as it compares to the apparent lack of reaction from the office of the President.

In the real-human sense, I have become disgusted with ALL politicians, Democrat and Republican, and ALL activists, left-wing and right-wing.

It is not all about the horse-race, and unfortunately, I cannot express what it is about without the hundreds of words that I have posted elsewhere.

Brando said...

Sloan, you might be on to something. You're going to have to explain the difference between pre-emption, prevention, and doing your duty.

lmeade: the key idea is that a lot ordinary Americans feel ashamed of what has transpired in NOLA. But Ann's post suggests that she thinks odinary people will eventually tune out the bad news because they will judge it is connected to some whacky left wing agenda, and rather thoughtlessly glom on to republican-spun happy news.

I disagree with Ann on this. I think NOLA will prompt ordinary people to further question the Elephant on the kitchen table, including Iraq. The reason in part being is that criticism is coming from left, right and center. The shame has no political allegiance. In any case, I imagine the next set of polls will be the proof in the pudding.

EddieP said...


Mark Steyn has a really upbeat analysis of the new Iraqi Constitution. Regards

Sloanasaurus said...

"...I think NOLA will prompt ordinary people to further question the Elephant on the kitchen table, including Iraq..."

The same people who were questioning Iraq before the flood, willl undoubtedly be questioning it after the flood.

The anti-war crowd is always looking for something... some analysis or excuse to pull out of Iraq and to appease the terrorist. It is history constantly repeating itself.

Now the left is attempting to imply that the Hurricane disaster was Bush's fault. How ridiculous.

The following quote is by far the most moranic analysis I have seen on this board....

"The reason in part being is that criticism is coming from left, right and center. The shame has no political allegiance. In any case, I imagine the next set of polls will be the proof in the pudding."

I can't wait to see those totally commited to the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan, those with the guts to fight terrorism, the pro-lifers, the pro free marketeers, the pro-traditional marriage, the whole republican coalition falling apart because the National Guard was 24 hours late in bailing out what is a massive failure by the city of New Orleans and the State government of Louisana.

The left will do their best to try and blame the 10,000 drowning victims that are found at the bottom of streets and houses in New Orleans on Bush and our Military. But, the facts will not lie. Those victims died because they drowned. They drowned with full bellies of food and water. They drowned because they were not evacuated. They drowned because of the incompetence of the city government of New Orleans. They drowned because the city planners had no plan to evacuate them. Those victims were wrteen off long ago.

John A said...

Altogether, what I've been reading shows everybody in a bad light. With two possible exceptions:
2. The decision in the Sixties to protect against CAT3. The resources to protect against CAT5 were, and still are, IMO out of line with the risk. Like having Tokyo-level earthquake protection for Manhattan, even if it is (and it is) on a fault line. Alas, the planners were expecting evacuation to be ordered and implemented in some reasonable fashion, such as the actual emergency plan (junkyardblog found it on the Web) called for and could have been done Aug28-Aug30.
2. Bush, if in minor key, who practically begged for a mandatory evacuation order Aug28.

But I see the precedent of Hoover, who is still blamed for the depression which was almost inevitable after the actions - and worse, INaction - of the preceding years, nationally and globally. The economy is going to take a walloping, and one way or another every finger will point to whatever national administration is in office.

Brando said...

You know, Sloan, you might want to check out the goverment's very own plan.

The National Response Plan was accepted and implemented by Bush Administration in December 2004. According to the PREFACE, President Bush, "directed the development of a new National Response Plan (NRP) to align Federal coordination structures, capabilities, and resources into a unified, all discipline, and all-hazards approach to domestic incident management. . . .The end result is vastly improved coordination among Federal, State, local, and tribal organizations to help save lives and protect America's communities by increasing the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of incident management."

Now, why don't you give some consideration to what Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard as he was interviewed by Tim Russert on today's Meet the Press.

Sloan, if you or anybody else can't accept the fact the the goverment bears considerable responsibility for the horrible problems experienced in the wake of Katrina, I don't know what to say to you.

Brando said...

government: referring to federal government

Sloanasaurus said...

Of course. I would concede that the federal government bears responsibility. They should have assumed that some municipalities would be incompetent or that some municipalities would not have the funds to carry out an adequate evacuation.

However, it is my opinion that you and others have additional motives other than trying to make the government better in terms of handling disasters. Your motives include weakening Bush so that he will lose politcal support for other things, such as giving up on the war on terror or pulling out of Iraq or that he will nominate a "moderate" for the Court rather than a conservative that the voters who put Bush in office deserve. I could go on.

Yes, myself and others question the motives of you and other critics. And we should. History has shown that a weakened president results in losses in other areas. For example, Watergate resulted in the loss of political support and the surrender of South Vietnam and the murder of millions of our allies.

Knowing this, conservatives need to fight back against the lies and propaganda dished out by you and others about events such as this.

I think people on this board (in our little corner of the world are doing a good job for the moment).

iocaste said...

UPDATE: I think this new poll reinforces my beliefs about how ordinary people will feel about things.

Or not.

Meade said...

iocaste: You wouldn't happen to have handy a poll of ordinary people's feelings toward those who harp on the bad, especially when it is conspicuously part of a larger political agenda would you?

Brando said...

Sloan, I am not going to hide or apologize for the fact that i seek to drive a political stake through Bush's heart. But the reason is because I think he is a dangerous, incompetent menace to America and the world. I am frustrated that people like you who are thoughtful and care about America do not see what a threat he is.

You don’t have to have a conspicuous agenda to show how Bush has proved that he can’t handle the war which he started or been unable to provide strong leadership in the midst of what may be the greatest natural catastrophe to hit the US. The bad news and pattern of miscalculations and misjudgments are not some phantasmagoric creation smoked out of some peacnik’s bong.

All in all, Sloan, you and I probably are not that far apart politically, although you seem to have a quixotic longing for the cold war which I find a bit deranged. In any case, considering the extent to which the entire republican party has hung its hat on Bush I can see why conservatives like yourself would feel compelled to support him at all costs. But don’t worry, it looks like you will get your conservative justice. Otherwise, however, the Bush dynasty is in its last throws, and it is time to start looking beyond Bush. I do not know what the future holds, but I do hope we can find more common ground among us no matter what happens.

Joseph Angier said...

Maybe it's not going to be a game of "let's blame Bush." In his radio address this weekend, the President tried to lay blame on the state and locals. This is becoming a weary game of "Tag, you're it" ... but of all the guilty parties playing this, it behooves the leader of the free world least.