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And I'm Not Afraid to Use It

October 16, 2006

There is an Associated Press report that quickly details the President’s Operation: Shifting Rationale. (As far as I know, credit goes to Norbizness for coining that phrase.)

The article goes into the many different justifications given for our involvement in Iraq and this observation is made:

The more ominous and determined his words, the more skeptical the American public appears, polls show, both on the war itself and over whether it is part of the larger fight against terrorism, as the administration insists. [Associated Press: Bush keeps revising war justification]

What is the relationship between:

  1. Poll numbers reflecting increasing public skepticism about the war, and
  2. increasingly ‘ominous and determined’ administration rhetoric about the war.

It’s one of those chicken/egg questions Your Montag likes to ponder from time to time: Could (1) be something that occurs naturally over time, when a war of questionable necessity is executed incompetently and exceeds by far all fatality/time/difficulty/budget projections, and degrades into a simmering civil war beyond the control of the troops sitting in the middle of it; and (2) actually come in response to (1) when it does happen, because the aforementioned incompetence combined with obstinate pride does not allow them to address the underlying problems?

Is that a loaded question?

Here, for rationally minded sticklers: Might (1) lead to (2) rather than vice versa? Or, might it at least be more likely that (1) leads to (2)?

I don’t want to call US stupid, but we— as a hive —don’t always seem all that good at parsing the rhetoric and coming to rational conclusions.

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