Iraq bonus track …

Over on the front page, I argue that it's insulting and wrong to suggest that Americans' support for the war in Iraq has ebbed as the number of casualties has mounted -- it's one of those instances where a falsehood becomes inextricably embedded in the prevailing wisdom.

I want to highlight a couple of related pieces that touch on the topic.

First, consider this lead from the Christian Science Monitor:

The three most significant US wars since 1945 - Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq - share an important trait: As casualties mounted, American public support declined.
Then note how the graphic that accompanies the story flatly contradicts it:


Look at the public support for Iraq and ask yourself: why isn't it a straight, ascending line? The casualty rate has been fairly steady. We've been losing between about two and four soldiers per day. But the public opinion line on that graphic bobs up and down as the Pollyanna predictions of the war hawks who spun us into this disaster have come unraveled.

It certainly doesn't appear that declining opinion correlates well with mounting casualties. But the reporter, Linda Feldman, apparently believes what she sees on the cable news shows over her own data.

Meanwhile, over at Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times, they link the drop in overall public support with their favorite themes: 1) it's not really true, the public supports the war but the media won't report it, and 2) it's all the fault of out-of-touch (and presumably liberal) elites.

The piece is titled, in fine Moonie fashion, "Public ignores Iraq war naysayers":
Negative press coverage of the war in Iraq in recent weeks has emphasized rising pessimism among the American public about the conflict. But a new survey found that 56 percent of the public thinks that efforts to establish a stable democracy in the country will succeed.
In the same article they note that less than half (48 percent) thought the decision to invade was the right one. But whatever.
The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press -- which also plumbed opinions of journalists, university presidents and others in academe, diplomats, government officials, religious leaders, members of the military, scientists and international security specialists -- revealed a marked disconnect between the perceptions of the general public and many of the so-called opinion leaders.
The public is evenly divided on whether the war in Iraq has helped or hindered efforts to combat terrorism, 44 percent thought the conflict has helped the effort and the same number thought it has hurt. In the press, 68 percent said the war had hurt the effort, and 22 percent said it had helped.
In the academic world, the numbers were 75 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Among the military, it was 47 percent and 45 percent.
What the Moonies spin as a gap between das Volk and out-of-touch elites is in fact a sign that the people who have some actual knowledge of international affairs are more realistic than the general public, most of whom are too busy to pay attention and some number of whom are those morons who believe Fox is the only news source that's balanced.

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