Friday | August 23, 2002
Public's support for Iraq war plummets
Slightly more than half of Americans support going to war against Iraq, a drop of 8 points from two months ago. However, even more significantly, the number drops to 40 percent if combat troops will be in Iraq longer than a year (a decade would probably be most accurate), and just 20 percent support an invasion Bush-style -- without any support from our Western allies.
While Bush's team maintains the fantasy that Britain would automatically back the US, signals from the Blair administration suggest otherwise, hinting broadly that reintroducing weapons inspectors would negate British support for war:
"If Saddam Hussein allows weapons inspectors back without condition, without restriction on them, if they're able to do their job properly, then the circumstances will change," [UK] foreign secretary [Jack Welsh] told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.Back home, the voices rising up against war continue to increase. Chris Mathews, in one of his usual hyperbolic opinion columns, argues against war:
This invasion of Iraq, if it goes off, will join the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Desert One, Beirut and Somalia in the history of U.S. military catastrophes. What will set it apart for all time is the immense - and transparent - political stupidity.I don't know if an Iraq invasion would be the military catastrophe Mathews argues. I think the U.S. is more than able to handle Iraq militarily. The important questions are whether we are 1) willing to suffer the inevitable casualties from urban warfare, and 2) whether the US wants to evolve into a belligerent, offensive, first-strike nation (thus encouraging nations to acquire WMD as a deterrent against US attack). But regardless, an irrational shrill voice against war still makes more sense than one calling for Gulf War II.
Former secretaries of state Lawrence Eagleburger and Madeleine Albright are also counseling against war. Albright might not be a big surprise. She is an intelligent, sane, rational human being, with a keen understanding of the responsibility of being a good international citizen. Eagleburger is more significant, as he served under Bush I and is still a good, loyal Republican.
Interestingly enough, this "debate" has been pretty one-sided lately, with very few people willing to stand up for war (other than Perle's "We need to kill to protect Bush's reputation"). Expect public support for war to continue to erode as more and more prominent Republicans (and a few Democrats) make strong and persuasive arguments against the invasion.Posted August 23, 2002 08:06 AM | Comments (2)