Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | April 05, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Weapons of Mass Destruction!

Poll: More Say War Justified Without Finding Weapons

A growing majority of Americans believe the war in Iraq is justified even if the United States does not find weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, public optimism about the progress of the fighting has surged as recent gains on the battlefield have eased fears that the allies will become bogged down in a long and costly war, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll . . .

More than two-thirds of those interviewed -- 69 percent -- said that going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do even if the United States fails to turn up biological or chemical weapons, up from 53 percent in a survey taken the day after the war started.

So what we have here is the self-justifying war. As long as the operation is "successful" -- or at least, can plausibly be portrayed as "successful" -- the American people will support it, even if the original basis for going to war proves to be . . . inoperative.

I know, I know: Duh. Americans support military success. That's been the "heart" (if that's the right organ) of the Powell Doctrine for what, going on 20 years now?

But it's the other part that intrigues me. Does it mean that in the post-9/11 environment, any claim, no matter how exaggerated, can be used to sell an aggressive war to the American public -- and discarded just as easily after the U.S. military juggernaut has done its thing?

I mean, we're already hearing about the Iranian nuclear "threat." What's next, the Syrian food poisoning "threat"? The Libyan letter bomb "threat"? The French Jerry Lewis "threat"?

The debate over Iraq's WMD capabilities -- and the risks it might pose for the United States -- was a legitimate debate, even if the Bush administration was reduced to using forged documents sold by con men from Niger to make its case. But if it turns out the American people don't think the debate ever really mattered in the first place . . .

Given that we appear to be a nation of sheep led by some very cunning wolves, that's a scary thought.


Posted April 05, 2003 03:46 PM | Comments (134)


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