Did An Alarm Clock Go Off Somewhere?
Proponents of the war in Iraq are fond of ridiculing and immediately dismissing any discussion of parallels to Vietnam. I'll have more to say about those parallels in another post soon. In one respect, however, the booster club is right---it's different this time. It took five years and a far higher number of casualties for the American public to even begin to sour on the Vietnam War the way it has on Iraq after just two years. From the WP:
For the first time since the war in Iraq began, more than half of the American public believes the fight there has not made the United States safer, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.Up until now I've thought that most people were too busy flipping spec homes or following the Michael Jackson case to care about something like a war. Maybe--just maybe--there's a chance I'm wrong.
While the focus in Washington has shifted from the Iraq conflict to Social Security and other domestic matters, the survey found that Americans continue to rank Iraq second only to the economy in importance -- and that many are losing patience with the enterprise.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the number of casualties in Iraq is unacceptable, while two-thirds say the U.S. military there is bogged down and nearly six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting -- in all three cases matching or exceeding the highest levels of pessimism yet recorded. More than four in 10 believe the U.S. presence in Iraq is becoming analogous to the experience in Vietnam.
Perhaps most ominous for President Bush, 52 percent said war in Iraq has not contributed to the long-term security of the United States, while 47 percent said it has. It was the first time a majority of Americans disagreed with the central notion Bush has offered to build support for war: that the fight there will make Americans safer from terrorists at home. In late 2003, 62 percent thought the Iraq war aided U.S. security, and three months ago 52 percent thought so.