Thursday, September 28, 2006



An extremely interesting opinion piece below from the Washington Post.

Few journos in the United States have followed this line of argument about why the Republicans stand a good chance of losing their grip on power in the November mid-term elections.

The United States has changed dramatically since the last time its forces were caught up in a protracted, controversial and bitterly opposed foreign war. The difference this time, however, is that the right-wing media in theUS can't undermine the anti-war movement by claiming they hate soldiers and are a bunch of dope-addled hippies.

Retired three star generals, mothers of soldiers, veterans of the Iraq War, former White House insiders, prominent lawyers, doctors, religious leaders from across the spectrum and even the police now man the front lines of the anti-war movement.

And this is a massive problem for the Republicans, and Bush in particular :

What could prove to be the most important factor in the 2006 elections is overlooked because it is unseen: The Republicans cannot try to curry favor with a "silent majority" that favors the Iraq war because a majority of Americans, both vocal and quiet, have come to see the war as a mistake.

President Bush's defenders have cast opponents of the war as weak on terrorism. Yesterday, Vice President Cheney accused Democrats of "resignation and defeatism." But the charges have not taken hold, because most Americans don't agree with the premise linking the war on terror with the war in Iraq.

...the tone of the opposition to this war is quite different from the tenor of some sections of the movement against the Vietnam War. Reaction to "hippie protesters," as the phrase went, allowed President Richard Nixon to pit a hardworking, patriotic "silent majority" -- it was one of the most politically potent phrases of his presidency -- against the privileged, the young and the media, whom his vice president Spiro Agnew memorably characterized as "effete snobs" and "nattering nabobs of negativism."

As the historian and Nixon biographer Stephen Ambrose noted, tiny minorities -- "they numbered less than 1 percent of the demonstrators," he wrote of a 1969 rally -- "waved Viet Cong flags . . . and even burned American flags" and served as "magnets to the television cameras." They were used to exemplify an entire movement.

By contrast, critics of the Iraq war, deeply influenced by the post-Sept. 11 climate of national solidarity, have been resolutely patriotic and pro-military. They have often chastised the administration for offering American troops too little in the way of body armor and armored vehicles, and for shortchanging veterans.

Among the most visible critics of the administration's approach have been generals, vets, parents with sons and daughters in the military, and foreign policy realists who think of themselves as moderate or even conservative opponents of what they see as the administration's radical direction.

That is why news over the weekend of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is especially troublesome for Republican electoral chances. By finding that the war in Iraq has encouraged global terrorism and spawned a new generation of Islamic radicals, the report by 16 government intelligence services undercuts the administration's central argument that the Iraq war has made the United States safer.

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